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This Is It

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • 'This Is It' is an exceptional, moving tribute to Michael Jackson, with superb visuals and audio.

    This Is It Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Michael Jackson's This Is It on Blu-ray mixes HD and SD footage, delivering an impressively detailed and colorful visual experience, despite its flaws.

  • Audio
  • Michael Jackson's This is It dazzles with its DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, delivering unmatched clarity in music and vocals, making it a sonic triumph.

  • Extra
  • Michael Jackson's This Is It Blu-ray offers a blend of heartfelt documentaries, dazzling vignettes, and rare insights into the tour that never was, despite missing speculated abundance of footage and certain 3D elements hinting at future releases.

  • Movie
  • 'This Is It' offers an intimate, compelling glimpse into MJ's final artistic endeavor, balancing spectacle with the raw, poignant energy of a legend's last stand, celebrated through masterful editing and vibrant storytelling.

    Video: 66

    Michael Jackson's "This Is It" presents an intriguing visual experience on Blu-ray, boasting a 1080p, MPEG-4 AVC transfer, framed at 1.78:1. This amalgamation of high definition and standard definition footage results in a presentation that, despite its mixed origins, delivers a remarkably strong visual quality, given the circumstances. The high-definition segments, undeniably the highlight of the show, display an impressive level of detail—every nuance from facial stubble to the intricate adornments on costumes is crisply visible. Colors are vibrant and pop effectively, from the vivid red of Michael's pants to the lush greens in pre-rendered segments, enhancing the overall visual appeal. Despite frequently dark or hazy backgrounds, blacks are deep and consistent, maintaining a clean image without distracting from the anomalies such as excessive banding.

    The standard definition footage, while noticeably inferior, featuring jagged edges, aliasing, and a general lack of sharpness, doesn't detract significantly from the viewing experience. Given that much of this footage was initially intended for in-house use or possibly behind-the-scenes content, its integration into the final film is understandable if not wholly seamless. The transition between high and standard definition is evident but does not disrupt the film's thematic or visual narrative. The high-definition scenes excel in quality, showcasing fine details, accurate skin tones, and an ability to handle complex lighting situations with ease.

    In summary, "This Is It" on Blu-ray stands as a testament to what could have been, offering viewers a solid transfer that navigates the limitations of its source materials with grace. The visual feast provided by the high-definition portions more than compensates for the less polished standard definition inserts. As a visual document of Michael Jackson's final artistic endeavor, it serves both as an exceptional archive and a bittersweet reminder of his unfulfilled potential.

    Audio: 78

    The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack of "This Is It" delivers an auditory experience that expertly blends Michael Jackson's iconic performances with the nuanced, behind-the-scenes moments that capture the essence of his artistry. From the outset, the soundtrack astonishes with its clarity and depth, ensuring that every beat and note of classics like "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and "Beat It" is felt with a vibrancy that breathes new life into these timeless tracks. The soundstage, meticulously crafted, allows for a dynamic range that transitions seamlessly from the high energy of uptempo songs to the subtlety of softer melodies such as "Human Nature." This precise mixing showcases not just the music but also the ambient sounds and dialogues, painting a vivid picture of the rehearsal spaces and the interactions within them.

    The technical prowess of the sound mix ensures that elements like the percussion, guitar riffs, and even pyrotechnic effects are handed with an extraordinary level of detail, presenting each layer of the performance in a way that’s both expansive and immersive. The effectiveness of this audio presentation transforms even the quieter moments into compelling narratives, allowing for a fuller appreciation of the musical genius at work. Notably, Michael’s vocals are presented with an exceptional clarity that, coupled with the immersive musical arrangements, encapsulates the energy and emotion of the live performances within a home theater setting.

    This superior audio track is an essential component of "This Is It," elevating it beyond its visual elements to deliver an unmatched sonic experience. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track not only fulfills but exceeds expectations, making it apparent that the true essence of this film lies in its ability to sonically transport audiences directly into Michael Jackson’s creative world. Whether it’s through the nuanced dialogues, the crisp clarity of the backup dancers’ movements, or the electrifying buzz of each musical number, this sound mix is a testament to the legacy of an unparalleled artist, ensuring that even viewers with the most sophisticated audio setups will find themselves engrossed in this unforgettable auditory journey.

    Extra: 63

    The Blu-ray extras for "This Is It" offer a comprehensive look at the preparation and behind-the-scenes aspects of Michael Jackson's intended comeback tour. "Staging the Return," a detailed documentary, serves as the cornerstone, providing insights into the tour's conception, Jackson's dedication to perfection, and the significant role Kenny Ortega and the crew played. The vignettes for "Thriller" and "Smooth Criminal" showcase what could have been visually stunning performances, while "The Gloved One" focuses on the intricately designed costumes by Zaldy, illuminating their uniqueness and the meticulous work involved. "Memories of Michael" and "Auditions: Searching For the World's Best Dancers" add personal and emotional layers, sharing recollections of Jackson and highlighting the dancers' audition process. Despite the inclusion of these features, the absence of deleted scenes or 3D sequences hints at the possibility of a more extensive release in the future. While some extras may not resonate with all audiences, this collection is invaluable for fans seeking a deeper understanding of the concert that never was.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Staging the Return: A two-part documentary exploring the creation and vision behind the "This Is It" tour.
    • Thriller Vignette With 5.1 Audio: A complete performance sequence intended for the concert.
    • Smooth Criminal Vignette With 5.1 Audio: Another finished performance video segment.
    • Making 'Smooth Criminal': Behind-the-scenes look at creating the "Smooth Criminal" video segment.
    • The Gloved One: In-depth exploration of Michael Jackson's tour costumes designed by Zaldy.
    • Memories of Michael: Personal recollections from those who were part of the "This Is It" project.
    • Auditions: Searching For the World's Best Dancers: Insights into the dancer audition process for the tour.
    • Theatrical Trailer: Preview of "This Is It".

    Movie: 73

    This Is It" emerges not as a mere concert film or straightforward documentary but as an intimate exploration of Michael Jackson's unparalleled dedication to his craft, weeks before his sudden demise. Directed with keen insight by Kenny Ortega, the film masterfully intertwines over 100 hours of rehearsal footage, interviews with key team members, and dazzling CGI concepts, offering a bittersweet glimpse into the final curtain call that never was of one of pop music's most iconic figures. From the meticulous planning of elaborate stage designs and effects (such as a colossal robotic figure and cutting-edge 3D Thriller sequences) to the detailed preparation of Jackson’s wardrobe, "This Is It" personifies the sheer magnitude of the comeback tour envisioned by the King of Pop, highlighting both his visionary genius and the relentless perfectionism that fueled his performances.

    At its core, the film transcends traditional posthumous tributes by focusing on Jackson's artistry and his interaction with his team, rather than dwelling on the controversy and tragedy that marked his later years. It reveals a side of Jackson rarely seen by the public: a mentor who guides with soft yet firm resolve and an artist whose passion for performance remains undiminished despite the rigors of age and public scrutiny. The documentary smartly balances raw rehearsal footage against the polished grandeur of what could have been, inviting viewers into the heart of Jackson's creative process. This voyeuristic journey is made all the more poignant by moments that humanize Jackson, showcasing his vulnerabilities and unyielding aspirations amidst mounting challenges.

    Technically, "This Is It" is a marvel of editing, seamlessly piecing together disparate elements of the concert-that-never-was into a cohesive narrative that celebrates Jackson's legacy without lapsing into sentimentality. Ortega's direction ensures that the film serves as a fitting tribute to Jackson's genius, crafting a narrative that resonates with fans and newcomers alike. Despite its inherent melancholy—rooted in the realization of a future forever unrealized—the film stands as a testament to Michael Jackson's undying spirit and indomitable dedication to his craft, offering a stirring reminder of why he remains an indelible figure in the pantheon of music legends.

    Total: 71

    Michael Jackson's "This Is It" emerges as a monumental documentary that not only encapsulates the essence of a musical virtuoso but also serves as a poignant farewell to the King of Pop. Straddling the line between a traditional concert film and an intimate glimpse into Jackson's final days, it offers a unique insight that is both deeply touching and entertaining. This cinematic endeavor showcases Jackson's unparalleled talent in both vocals and dance, presenting him not just as a performer, but as an artist at the zenith of his creativity. The film's ability to engage both die-hard fans and newcomers alike lies in its methodical construction, weaving together riveting rehearsals with powerful performances. It stands as a testament to Jackson's enduring legacy, celebrating his contribution to music and dance with profound depth and sensitivity.

    Sony's Blu-ray release of "This Is It" does justice to the film's visual and auditory demands, presenting a meticulously crafted 1080p transfer that honors the diverse source materials' authenticity. Accompanied by a flawless lossless soundtrack, the disc brings every note and step to life with crystal clarity, allowing viewers to experience the spectacle as it was meant to be seen and heard. The inclusion of a substantial set of special features enriches the viewing experience further, offering insights into the production and the extraordinary effort behind Jackson's final masterpiece.

    Conclusively, "This Is It" stands as a fitting tribute to Michael Jackson's indelible mark on the world of entertainment. Its Blu-ray presentation not only meets but exceeds expectations, providing an immersive experience that mirrors the film's emotive and celebratory tone. Whether you're a lifelong admirer or simply curious about the man behind the legend, this release is an essential addition to any collection, offering both a dazzling spectacle and a heartfelt eulogy to one of music's most iconic figures.