Michael Jackson has been celebrated in many forms over the years. A great number of documentaries are made (and still being made) to commemorate his success as an entertainer and singer. In this article, we look back to some of those documentaries to pay our respect to the King of Pop.
Michael Jackson’s This Is It
“This Is It” is by far the most controversial and successful documentary on Michael Jackson’s life. It was released after his demise in 2009. The documentary consists of MJ’s rehearsal videos, behind the scenes, auditions, costume design sessions, and many more things. It made $261 million across the globe. MJ fans and critics were positive about the outcome of the documentary but some fans and MJ’s family went against the release as they claimed that MJ wouldn’t like the film because he always portrayed himself as a ‘perfectionist’.
In 2012, Spike Lee brought the documentary to celebrate the 25 years of MJ’s seventh studio album “Bad”. The album came at a time when the magic of “Thriller” was slowly fading and it was seeming that the King of Pop may have a hard time surviving the market. But “Bad” singlehandedly thrashed all the tensions. The film showed many clips around the album and interviews of crew members. The Guardian reported, “Lee doesn’t try to pretend that he [Jackson] was not eccentric, but insists that Jackson’s eccentricity isn’t the point.”
Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon – Watch Now
Directed by David Gest, the documentary that came out in 2011 was not entirely unbiased of opinions. Gest, being a friend and well-wisher of Michael, takes the stage to make some statements. It stands firmly about Jackson’s personal preference, constant harassment by Police, and media. It also takes us briefly to MJ’s childhood, which is adorable. But on the downside, many critics have raised the question about David Gest’s too much involvement.
Square One: Michael Jackson
Controversy never left MJ alone, one after another cruel and vile conspiracies dismantled his regular life. Such was the allegations against him in 1993. The case continued for several years in both civil and criminal court. Director Danny Wu has shown some top-notch never-seen-before evidence that proves Jackson innocent. Although it was released in 2019, the documentary is significant for MJ’s legacy. It has 9.4 out of 10 ratings on Top Documentary Films.
Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration
It’s not exactly a documentary but a recorded arrangement of two live concerts. The year 2001 marked Michael’s 30 years in the industry. He recorded his first solo in 1971 “Got to Be There”. On the 7th of September, 2001, Madison Square Garden witnessed this great ceremony. The next show took place in the same place on 10th September (one day before 9/11). CBS released it in November with a huge viewership all of over the world.
Michael Jackson: The Last Photo Shoot (Unreleased documentary)
Michael returned from his seclusion in 2007, and after several years he conducted a photoshoot to celebrate Thiller’s 25 years. Director Craig J. Williams made this documentary around this event. It included various interviews from people like photographer Bruce Weber and stylist Rushka Bergman. It may seem a bit off-the-grid, but the film is significant for shedding light on MJ’s changing persona.
The Making of ‘Thriller’
“The Making of Thriller” is a documentary directed by Jerry Kramer released in 1983. Although it was released simultaneously with the album, it too saw significant sales. It shows many unseen incidents of “Thriller” and MJ’s artistry. It overall leaves the audience with a sense of satisfaction to see such a video shoot in the dawn of music videos.
Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall
Spike Lee has a greater understanding of Micheal’s life as he moves ahead with his second documentary. It’s about MJ’s journey as The Guardian puts it “It’s that journey from boy to man that interests Lee and he makes the case that there were a few crucial moments in that evolution.” True! It prominently focuses on some events that matured him and carved the path of his future.
Michael Jackson: Life, Death, and Legacy
This came out after MJ’s doctor was imprisoned for involuntary manslaughter. “Michael Jackson: Life, Death, and Legacy” talks about his early days, how he became the King of Pop, and his sudden demise. Maureen Goldthorpe, the director, explored many unfolded chapters of Michael’s career and presented a real opportunity for his fans to get to know him better.
Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever
In the history of American pop and R&B music, Motown plays a significant role in the development and evolution of artists and art. Apparently, Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5 was also a result of Motown. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, a TV special was arranged. Multiple artists including Michael Jackson performed there. And historically it was the first performance of MJ’s Moonwalk. The special was aired on NBC later on 16th May.