It was toss up between a Transformers review and a Michael Jackson tribute post, and guess which one I picked? At that time, writing my experiences and memories of the King of Pop seems so trite. Besides, as far as memories or experiences are concerned, I have none. Sure, my fourth grade class memorized Heal the World for a United Nations' Day presentation back then, but that's probably my one and only connection with Michael Jackson. I haven't even seen Free Willy.
So when a diehard Michael Jackson fan friend invited me to watch This Is It, it felt like I was invading a special moment only co-fans should share. Much like how I am when watching Harry Potter; I get batshit insane come Potter week, and want nothing but to dork out with people who know what Riddikulus means. I thought, what the hell. Might as well enjoy the movie and the free popcorn and soda that came with it.
This Is It would have been, excuse the non-pun pun, off the wall. From the pyrotechnics,1 the 3D video backdrop, the costumes, the dancers, to the greatest performer of them all, Michael himself. I could not feel anything but regret for the world to be missing such a fantastic, well-produced, well-crafted show. I did not feel anything significant when he passed away, but after seeing this movie, it hit me like a shower of cold water -- there will never be another performer like Michael Jackson. Nobody can do what he did, write songs the way he used to write it, dance the way he danced,2 and know one's songs the way Michael knew his.3
A few minutes into the movie and I find myself singing and even dancing to most of the songs. MJ will never be called the King of Pop if his songs were nothing but popular and no kanto boy nor socialite cannot recognize the first few notes to Wanna Be Starting Something. I may not have been a fan, in the truest sense of the word, but when I heard Michael's songs, it seems as if I grew up listening to him even if I consciously did not. When Black or White came up, I remember summers in my grandmother's house and watching MTV for the first time. Also, Macaulay Culkin. I remember dancing to Thriller after seeing 13 Going on 30 with friends, and breaking into said dance in streets at the middle of the night. I remember being in high school and being totally giddy when Jodie from the movie Center Stage danced to The Way You Make Me Feel (also, Jessie McCartney and Jordin Sparks's cover). I remember having my iPod set up to play I Want You Back the moment a friend stepped into my car and how we sang to it over and over again as I drove from Taguig to Makati. It is as if Michael Jackson's songs have transcended time and woven its melodies into the daily going ons of our lives. Just like me, I am sure even the indiest of indie-hipsters or emoest of emotards has a Michael Jackson memory.
At the end of it all, we adored him, shunned him, and like a demi god, put him on a pedestal when he passed away, wanting a piece of him and his fame and claiming him as ours. No matter what your opinion of Michael Jackson is, in this movie, he is King. And all of us are Jackson fans even for mere hours in our lives.
1 They were going to burn Michael Jackson's jacket after Beat It and keep it burning there at the stage till the lights fade out. SO.EFFIN.COOL.
2 Is it me or does anyone who tries to do the falsetto IN ANY SONG always ends up sounding like he's doing a Michael Jackson impersonation?3 One of his crew commented on how Michael knew every tempo and every note of his EVERY song. The part where they were re-arranging The Way You Make Me Feel and Michael was nitpicking over how the opening notes should sound like "you're too lazy to get up from your bed" is just really amusing and "we are not worthy!" bow-inducing at the same time.