Given just how much material Kenny Ortega and his editors plowed through to whittle together a two-hour scrapbook and they still could only just barely come up with the presentable material here isn't exactly a vindication.
A documentary would have been a better historical document than a rehearsal film -- unless you're a big fan. If that's the case, you'll love This Is It. If you're not, it's like watching band practice.
The problem is that Ortega offers only the public Michael. We witness him through the eyes of his employees in a film designed not only to illuminate Jackson's final days but also to set the terms of future conversation about them.
Must the show really go on? At best, This Is It is a mere sketch of what Jackson seemed capable of delivering in London, with the King of Pop only half-singing, half-dancing through his most rousing hits.
A deeply creepy and disturbing exercise, in which we're exposed to footage that was likely never meant to see the light of day, featuring a performer who at the time was, literally, days away from death.
The last song we're shown Jackson singing is "Man in the Mirror"; it's a shame the filmmakers did not take a cue from its lyrics to put together an uncompromising assessment of Jackson, rather than delivering another attempt to perpetuate the myth.
A piecemeal attempt at putting a bow on Michael Jackson's overblown and bankrupt career, this clinical behind-the-scenes collage of the rehearsal process for MJ's doomed London performance schedule is more propaganda than documentary.
As a behind-the-scenes look at how a concert of this size and scope actually comes together, "This Is It" is undeniably intriguing but as a testament to the artistic talents of Michael Jackson, it comes up short in many areas.
There are two ways to look at Michael Jackson's big screen B-roll dirge: Either it's a touching documentary tribute or only slightly classier than stringing up Jacko's corpse by its wig and making him perform a post-mortem marionette moonwalk.