Michael Jackson's “This Is It” Trailer Premieres at VMAs - Rolling Stone
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Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” Trailer Premieres at VMAs

The trailer for This Is It — the documentary capturing rehearsal footage for what would have been Michael Jackson’s epic return to the stage — premiered as the finale of the 2009 Video Music Awards. It was a spectacular preview of what fans can expect to see October 28th when the film hits theaters for a two week engagement. “This is an adventure, a great adventure,” Jackson says of his show in the two-in-a-half-minute trailer. “We want to take them places that they’ve never before. We want to show them a time that they’ve never seen before.” In case you missed it, the trailer has been posted on the ThisIsIt-Movie.com site.

With apologies to vets like U2 and Madonna, based on the trailer, Michael Jackson’s This Is It show looks like it would’ve been the greatest stage show of all time. Between the songs, the costumes, the green screen effects, the massive and breathtaking sets, the videos — and of course, Jackson’s patented moves — director Kenny Ortega will be hard-pressed to pack the hundreds of hours of rehearsal footage into the film’s reported two-and-a-half hour running time.

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The trailer provides of glimpse of how involved Jackson was in the planning of This Is It as he’s seen coordinating dance moves and mapping out bass lines. And despite reports that Jackson’s health was failing in the weeks prior to his death on June 25th, the trailer shows Jackson in peak performance form as he dances his way through “Smooth Criminal” and “Man in the Mirror.” Jackson is seen in good spirits throughout in the behind-the-scenes footage, a far cry from the portrait that’s been painted of the King of Pop since his death.

Michael Jackson Photos From “This Is It!” Rehearsals Emerge

“This is a dream come true. When MJ comes into the room, his presence is amazing,” said guitarist Orianthi — who featured prominently alongside dancer/singer Judith Hill at the Michael Jackson memorial concert at Los Angeles’ Staples Center — of Jackson at Los Angeles’ The Forum and Staples Center, where the footage from This Is It was filmed.

“It’s all for love,” Jackson says of the concerts at the end of the trailer, reiterating just how dedicated he was to what was to be his great comeback. “L-O-V-E.” Unfortunately, the concerts never made it to the O2 Arena stage in London, but This Is It should prove to be a worthy document of the King of Pop’s vision and peerless legacy.

The 2009 VMAs were largely dedicated to Jackson, opening with a moving speech by Madonna in which she called Jackson “a hero.” Janet Jackson also took the stage for a powerful number that paid tribute to his innovative dance moves.

Look back at the Michael Jackson tributes and more of the VMAs’ memorable moments.


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