This Is It ★★★★

Given Michael Jackson’s tragic and untimely death, Kenny Ortega’s film is a remarkably good cinematic tribute to the King of Pop and his music. Understandably, "This Is It" does not play like a regular professional concert movie, but it nevertheless has an appropriate concert-movie atmosphere to it, largely thanks to Jackson’s magnetic stage presence and the accomplished sound mixing. Characterized by reverence rather than exploitation, the film also gives the viewer a rare glimpse of a more relaxed and personal Jackson.

Great, highly engaging music and well-choreographed performances. One of the highlights of "This Is It" is the suggestive and, surprisingly, quite moving "Earth Song" sequence, in which a young girl falls asleep in a rainforest and later wakes up just as the forest is being destroyed by a bulldozer. Another notable number features the song "Thriller" and a suitably creepy graveyard. There is a nice extra scene after the end credits.

At times, especially in the beginning, the production feels kind of amateurish. The differences that result from different takes being edited together—clothes, stage design, picture quality, etc.—are slightly distracting. However, these and any other negatives that can be ascribed to the fact that the source material was never meant to be made into a feature film are, under the circumstances, minor and can easily be overlooked.