TV

King of Pop 'Is It'

Michael Jackson once taught Fred Astaire to moonwalk. The King of Pop wasn't as good a dancer as the screen legend — he didn't have the inventiveness in the steps, but he did have the grace and naturalness of Astaire.

Jackson's dancing abilities, and his other immense talents, are on display in Michael Jackson's This Is It, a documentary that offers a glimpse of what might have been had the pop star lived.

It is taken from more than 100 hours of taped rehearsals for the 50-concert comeback tour for which Jackson was preparing he died last June from a drug overdose. It's directed by longtime Jackson friend and choreographer Kenny Ortega, known more recently for his success with High School Musical.

The documentary is deliberately vague about what process in the concert's development it is showing — mostly footage shot from April to June.

As much as you see him in This Is It, there is no real close-up of Jackson, who appears almost always behind sunglasses and in a full body shot. The footage was meant to be a personal recording for Jackson and not a true documentary.

Still, it is a thrill to see Jackson perform, and This Is It confirms that the King of Pop was a extraordinary showman and that no one will match him. He's a triple threat, not only an amazing dancer, but a singer and a songwriter, and in the film you can see his artistic talents — whether telling a bass player how he wants a riff played or instructing the dancers how to hit a mark. (One interesting extra shows how the hoofers were chosen.)

Michael Jackson: This Is It retails for $28.96 or $39.95 on Blu-ray.

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