Michael Jackson rehearses for his ill-fated comeback tour in this behind-the-scenes documentary, culled from more than a hundred hours of personal work tapes. Sony is releasing it as Michael Jackson's This Is It, and the possessive seems cruel, given that Jackson would hardly have authorized the project (at most, the footage might have supplied imagery for giant video screens at the shows). The source material is too rough to work as a concert film and too circumscribed to reveal anything about the star; aside from a couple of mild, scrupulously polite diva moments, he sticks to his public persona—the faun from a distant galaxy, bringing a message of peace. By far the best sequences are the dance rehearsals, which show Jackson focused on his work and absorbed into an ensemble of diligent, enthusiastic professionals. Kenny Ortega, director of the stage show, is credited with the film as well. PG, 111 min.
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