This Spike Lee directed film premiered last year on TV and only came out on home media mid-2013. When it was first released, the response to it was overwhelming and it’s easy to see why. The film is focused and well put together. Rather than trying to talk about Michael Jackson‘s entire career, it focuses on the Bad era. Unlike other documentaries that have been released since his death, this one feels authentic since Lee speaks with several people who have worked extensively with the singer. It’s an awesome film that gives fans an inside look at the making of Bad.
With Bad being my favorite Jackson album, I was all over this film. I think it’s safe to say that this is the best documentary released since his death. Hell, it may even be one of the best ones out there. What I really like is all the footage that’s included. Some of it has been seen before, but there are so many others from around the world that have rarely been seen. What’s even better are all the behind the scenes and candid footage from the era. I can’t tell you how much I loved the making of the “Bad” and “The Way You Make me Feel” footage. I was surprised that I hadn’t seen it before since most of these films recycle interviews you can easily find on the internet. Fans get to see rehearsals for scenes from “Smooth Criminal” to “Bad.” There’s also a segment on the “Speed Demon” video where it is revealed that it was Jackson’s idea to have a California Raisin commercial based on his image. It was amazing to see how he was involved with every step of the commercial.
I also love the way the film is set up. It actually goes through the entire Bad album track by track. It begins with the title track and ends with “Man in the Mirror.” There are some songs that get longer segments than others, but at least they have something interesting to say about each track. If anything I wish they would’ve looked more at “Another Part of Me.” Much wasn’t said about the song and then it goes on to show the entire video released for the single. While it was nice to see it should’ve been left off, especially since that space could’ve been used for more interesting facts and candid footage. One of the most interesting songs the filmed looked at is “Just Good Friends.” What made this segment so memorable is that just about everyone Lee spoke with agreed it’s a throwaway track, which is how I feel about the song as well. Not only do these segments provide information about the songs themselves, they also look at things in pop culture that found its way into Jackson’s music.
While most music documentaries have interviews with people who only worked the artists maybe once or speak with people who claim to know them, this one actually gets people Jackson worked with on a regular basis. We get stories from people who worked with him in the studio, to some of the video directors, like Martin Scorsese and even the model who starred alongside Jackson in “The Way You Make Me Feel.” They had so many great stories to share about the singer it will make you fall in love with him even more. There are also some interviews with current artists who were influenced by the King of Pop, such as ?uestlove, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, and Mariah Carey. By hearing these people speak about their experiences with Michael the whole film feels authentic and truthful. It doesn’t feel like bullshit or someone just trying to make money off of him. You can tell they really loved and cared for him. This feeling is brought even more to life when Lee asks them where they were when they heard about his death. Just about all of them begin crying and it makes you remember where you were when the news came out. Not only is there information about Jackson’s songs, there’s technical information regarding music and choreography as well.
Since we do hear from studio musicians, engineers, and even choreographers who worked with the singer during this time, a lot of them take the chance to explain some of the more technical aspects of the songs. They’ll break down certain effects and techniques, such as a drum shuffle. There’s even one part where we see his vocal coach and plays some of Michael’s singing exercises where we get to hear his low range. It’s really freaky to hear, but interesting nonetheless. The choreographer shared some great information as to where the King of Pop got some of his dance moves, such as the moon walk or his infamous pop lock. It really makes you appreciate what he did for music and dance and even more.
Overall, the film gets 9.5/10. It’s an amazing documentary that gives you so much information you have to watch it several times to keep up with it. Part of what makes the movie so great is every time you watch you’ll find something new to focus on. It’s great to hear from so many people who worked with Jackson and even some current artists who have been influenced him. Thanks to this and a lot of the information given the film is more genuine than most of the ones released since his death. This is one Jackson film you will never get tired of.