One major by-product of Michael Jackson's death last year was that his music was rediscovered by a new generation of fans.
How times change. I remember when the Thriller video was premiered late at night on Channel 4. It had to be shown at midnight because it was deemed to be too scary. Now little kids are calling it up on YouTube and mimicking the zombie moves.
Out this week, Michael Jackson's This Is It is a compilation of rehearsal footage of Jackson's live show show which was to have come to London's O2 Arena last year. It was given a limited release in cinemas last year, and has now been made available on Blu-Ray and DVD. There's a single disc and a special collector's edition containing a bonus disc of extra behind the scenes material.
This is a show for the whole family to enjoy together. It's directed by Kenny Ortega, the man behind the High School Musical series, and an expert at putting on a performance.Since it's a rehearsal, it's clear that Jackson was holding back on the vocals, but you still get all the hits and plenty of top dance moves. The package is rated PG, and the ratings advice warns of "infrequent scary images". There is a recreation of the Thriller video, but it's fairly low key and unlikely to frighten even sensitive children.
The only thing that raised a comment from my family was the occasional appearance of scantily-clad dancers ("Mummy, that's lady's forgotten her skirt!"), and the teaching of Jackson's trademark crotch-grabbing move ("Look, those dancers are grabbing their peanuts!").
Extras on the Collector's Edition DVD include: Behind the scenes documentaries; auditions for dancers; extra rehearsals; memories of Michael and in-depth focus on the dancers, vocalists and musicians.
Over all, this is one of those rare moments – a show (or rehearsal for a show) that the whole family can sit down and enjoy watching together. Even if it's not your style of music, the charm of the performances and sincerity and talent of everyone involved will win you over. If your children have performing ambitions then it's fascinating to see how such a large scale event gets put together. My children were singing and dancing for days after watching this, a fitting memorial to one of the world's most successful ever performers.
ParentView rating: 4.5/5
Michael Jackson's This is It Collector's Edition DVD is released this week and is widely available.