Michael Jackson's concert film "This Is
last night to gushing reviews from fans
and celebrities. Legendary
actress Elizabeth Taylor raved that it was "the single most brilliant
piece of filmmaking I have ever seen." But amid the thunderous, predictable fanfare,
pockets of devoted Jackson-lovers are boycotting the film, accusing its
backers, AEG and Sony Pictures, of exploiting the King of Pop. A handful
of critics have echoed their unease. What do they have against the film?
- Offensive and Reprehensible A dedicated group of Jackson fans have launched the campaign "This Is Not It"
to boycott the film. Among other things, the group claims that Jackson
was so weak during the filming, director Kenny Ortega had to feed him
and cut his food: "In the weeks leading up to Michael
Jackson’s death, while this footage was being shot, people around him
knew that he looked like he might have died. Those who stood to make a
profit chose to ignore it. Friends and fans who had no financial
interest, chose to address it and attempted to help him. AEG,
the promoters for ‘This Is It’, ignored the signs, ignored the pleas,
and in fact, actively covered up the truth. What you will see on that
screen is part of that cover up."
- A Scheme to Preserve the 'King of Pop' Brand, writes Jacob Bernstein at The Daily Beast: "Sony is—in addition to being the movie’s distributor—Jackson’s record
label. That means that the same people putting out the film are the
ones who own a 50 percent stake in Jackson’s song catalogue. If the
movie successfully creates the impression that the person who had the
greatest downfall in popular culture history was on the verge of a
massive comeback, it could have an enormous impact on his music sales
for years to come. Consequently, everything they’re doing with the
marketing campaign is about minimizing Jackson’s reputation as a
possible child molester and drug addict, and reviving the sense that he
was the unassailable 'King of Pop.'"
- Exploits Jackson Without Revealing Him, writes Scott Mendelson at The Huffington Post: "There is no getting around the obvious exploitation factor at play.
Regardless of how tasteful and respectful this film is, at the end of
the day, Sony paid $60 million for the rights to this otherwise private
footage because they wanted to cash in on the sudden and shocking death
of its star...There is also a clear lack of any kind of
illumination to who Jackson really was. Even during private rehearsals,
he still seems 'on', so don't expect any kind of unguarded moments or
epiphanies about this deeply private man."
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