has an average rating of 7.4 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
are pretty lengthy & ALL in Hi-Def
– 111 minutes
This uses 23.3GB for the movie out of 39.4GB total.
Street Date: January 26th, 2010
Overall Verdict – Highly Recommended
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself was Directed by Kenny Ortega (of “High School Musical” fame) and is comprised of the final rehearsals of the “King of Pop” (Michael Jackson) before what would have been his farewell tour title “This Is It” — hence the title. As you know, Michael passed away this last year and left the entire world shocked. At first the idea of this coming this soon to home video was a bit disturbing but once I saw folks like Roger Ebert give it rave reviews and even MJ’s friend Elizabeth Taylor say the film was great I changed my mind. I did NOT opt to see this in the short theatrical run because as I discussed above, being a fan I was not sure it was quite time to see this. So, I waited until this morning when the screener of this arrived to watch it and I will simply describe this in a one-word description, “AWESOME“. I enjoyed absolutely every minute of this from start to finish and I’m also not afraid to admit I was very moved emotionally by this film.
It is just as the package art advertises, you see a side here of the man that you never saw. For instance, you get to see Michael with what appears to be a day or so old beard as well as get to see him watching them film the 3D “Thriller” vignette. In that bit, you’ll actually see Michael Jackson, with Director Kenny Ortega watching the 3D footage back on a 3D display using “RealD” 3D glasses. The performances here are amazing, especially Michael‘s dancing which remains just as impressive as it was decades ago and now finally has been captured in Hi-Def. The songs performed here are as follows:
- “Wanna Be Startin’ Something“
- “They Don’t Care About Us“
- “Human Nature“
- “Smooth Criminal“
- “The Way You Make Me Feel“
- “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)“
- “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You“
- “Beat It“
- “Black or White“
- “Earth Song“
- “Billie Jean“
- “Man in the Mirror“
In closing, “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” is a very, very emotional rehearsal footage film / documentary. Director Kenny Ortega is actually responsible for something that folks of all ages (not just the “tweens” this time) will end up enjoying and coming to appreciate his direction. I think the late Michael Jackson would be very pleased with the footage and way they have put it together in a very tasteful and respectable manner for the fans to enjoy Michael‘s music one last time.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. A majority of the film is in full Hi-Def but I will remind viewers that some portions are from a SD (Standard Definition) camera source and will have black bars on all 4 sides of the screen. This footage is very minimal but it is worth noting. The Hi-Def footage looks amazing here with sharp detail, bright vibrant colors, accurate fleshtones and a very solid black level. The lights and such of the stage show don’t really interfere with the Hi-Def cameras at all unlike some other concert films I’ve seen shot in HD. The real reason this looks so good can be attributed to one thing, the camera. According to IMDb‘s technical specifications for the aspect ratio, this was shot on the Red One camera. The shift between the SD and HD (Red One) footage can be a bit weird at times but you do have to keep in mind that no other footage existed of these final rehearsals and this is the best they could do. With that taken in to consideration, I really cannot find anything at all to complain about here in the visual Hi-Def presentation. This earns a perfect “5 Star Rating” for overall video quality, even with the small bit of Standard Def footage thrown in. Here’s to hoping that more live concerts are shot using the Red One camera in the future because it looks marvelous.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. Sound here is very important but one should keep in mind that Michael Jackson was not singing at full strength, as to not strain his voice (as he even notes in the footage), so do not expect him to be singing the classics exactly how you remember line-for-line. The vocals come through excellent through the 5.1 mix in primarily the front center channel for MJ’s lead vocals and a tad bit of front left and right channels for the backup vocals as well as majority of the music from the instruments in the band. The drum beat holds an enormous sense of LFE (bass) to it as does the bass guitar, especially during numbers like “Billie Jean” which showcases on the percussion (beat) for a solo. The rear channels get a great presence from the music, occasional sounds of folks in the background and such as well as extravagant treatment on the “vignettes” (short little films) for “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal” which sound excellent. Overall the presentation here in terms of sound is very impressive and sure to leave fans pleased, earning it a “4.5 Star Rating” for audio quality. This sounds excellent but you do have to keep in mind that Jackson was not singing at his full vocal capacity to conserve his voice for what would have been his final tour. It is a definite shame that we do not ever get to have this as it was planned on home video in a real live concert performance but these rehearsals do hold a great amount of emotional significance regardless and most importantly, they sound excellent.
Bonus materials are ALL presented in High Definition (HD) video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound @192kbps — unless otherwise noted.
- BD-Live is include on this Sony release which requires the user to be on a “Profile 2.0” capable Blu-ray Disc Player to access online content from the studio.
- “movieIQ” is included on this release which uses BD-Live to access facts and such about the film. This information is updated in real-time via the BD-Live functionality. This release also includes the ability to make your own personalized favorite “Playlist” out of the Michael Jackson songs here.
- “Smooth Criminal Vignette” (3:58) features the short little bit of film that was shot to be displayed on the giant LCD screen behind the stage when the song was performed in concert, as shown in the film. This is presented with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound @640kbps.
- “Making Smooth Criminal Vignette” (11:08) takes a look behind-the-scenes at the making of the vignette discussed above.
- “Thriller Vignette” (3:51) features the short little bit of film that was shot to be displayed on the giant LCD screen behind the stage when the song was performed in concert, as shown in the film. This is presented with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound @640kbps. Sadly this is not in 3D as it was originally shot and intended but maybe with Blu-ray 3D finally getting announced we may someday see this footage presented in 3D.
- “Staging the Return: The Adventure Begins” (28:13) is a making of style documentary. This includes interviews with Director Kenny Ortega and the entire crew.
- “Staging the Return: Beyond the Show” (13:25) is another making of style documentary but it discusses the passing of Michael Jackson and Ortega‘s purpose for creating this concert film (of sorts) using the final rehearsal footage.
- “The Gloved One” (15:13) is a featurette that takes a look behind-the-scenes with the costume designer Zaldy at the outfits and such Michael had planned to wear on the tour.
- “Memories of Michael” (16:19) is a basic tribute featurette with director Kenny Ortega and the members of the crew discussing their personal experiences with Michael and how they remember him.
- “Auditions: Searching for the World’s Best Dancers” (9:50) is a behind-the-scenes featurette that is self-explanatory by the title itself. These talented young men and women had the chance to dance onstage with the late great Michael Jackson and this is how they got to that point.
- Theatrical Trailer (2:31) is presented with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound @640kbps.
Overall, the bonus materials are somewhat impressive. You have the 2-part making of featurette “Staging: The Return“, the featurettes for the costume design, a tribute, the dancer auditions and the two vignettes for “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal” as well as even a “making of” for it. Fans will be pleased with the 90 minutes+ of Hi-Def supplemental material found here. The “movieIQ” is also a nice inclusion as well. The only thing that honestly seems missing is a digital copy but oh well.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.