by Michael dEstries
Categories: Film/TV, Music
Tags: .


Before he passed away this summer, Michael Jackson was hard at work on a concert series he hoped would spark a new comeback for his career. As part of an agreement with the company helping make that dream a reality, hundreds of hours of rehearsal footage was shot of the King of Pop performing, organizing, and directing behind-the-scenes. This glimpse of what might have been has now been turned into a documentary titled This Is It.

With the flick hitting theaters this weekend, early reviews have bordered on the positive. Most have praised the work for pulling back the curtain on Jackson and showing a human side to the performer. “We see a talented singer-dancer fine-tuning an extravaganza, and in so doing we are reminded that, behind all the tabloid craziness and larger-than-life eccentricities, there was still an artist and a person,” said MSNBC’s Alonso Duralde.

No surprise to us, Jackson was also planning on incorporating some environmental themes into the concerts. In particular, for the song “Heal The World”, there’s a filmed sequence that was to play in the background showing the destruction of the Rainforests. We’ve seen such imagery before in Jackson’s “Earth Song” video, — but it appears that he was extending that theme to “Heal” as well. Last week, famed primatologist Jane Goodall said Jackson was inspired to write the song because of the plight of chimpanzees. From the article,

“He wrote what he told me he thought was his most powerful song ever, but it didn’t end up for animals,” Jane Goodall said in a CNN interview Thursday night. “I said to him, ‘You know, Michael, if you want to help, you could do a concert and give us a percentage. Or much better, write a song,’ ” she said. Jackson asked her for tapes of animals in distress because “he wanted to be angry and cry” as he wrote the song, which became “Heal the World,” she said. The original CD cover notes credited Goodall for inspiring the song, she said. But, she added, the Jane Goodall Institute never saw any money from the song.

Considering that Jackson was extremely generous with donations throughout his career, it’s rather odd that Goodall’s foundation never saw any. Perhaps Michael thought he could make more of a difference in other ways.

Click here to check out showtimes for This Is It.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Adri

    I’m not that surprised that Jane Goodall didn’t receive a donation. When Jackson left his chimp at a sanctuary, he did not provide them any money to care for him. So far, the have had to depend on donations from the public:,,20287787_20288466,00.html

  • Pingback: This Is It Addresses Environmental Issues | TakePart Social Action Network™()

  • Alexia

    Michael was not always involved in financial matters, he had people hired to take care of these and obviously, they weren’t exactly perfect.
    It was more up to him to write a song and influence the whole world with this, and he made it in a wonderful way.
    I understand Jane when she tells the story in one of her books, about Michael. She’s also one of the few people who supported him when everybody else cared about anything else but him.

    Heal the World, together with Earth Song, We Are the World and Man in the Mirror (although this one is written by somebody else) are the most beautiful masterpieces to touch millions and trigger a change for our environment and communities.

  • don miguelo

    Just saw “This Is It” last night. The last segment really shows how important the Earth was to him, and that was going to be a huge message of the tour. He even says in the dancer’s circle “we’ve only got 4 years to fix it or it’s irreversible”. I was actually truly impressed with the priority of the heal the world message, and my respect for MJ was renewed.

    The Earth needs all the champions it can get, and with all the things going on in his life, that was what he was concerned about. Truly inspiring!

  • nancy @ princetoncryo

    This film could have easily come across as a love letter to a fallen legend. It would have also been taken as a slap in the face to an already tarnished legacy left behind by a dimming star. This Is It is neither. This is a film that cuts deep, and leaves a memorable scar of hope. Jackson may have been an odd seed, but at least he wasn’t a sheep (black, OR white). He had heart, faith, and an understanding of what brilliance sounded (and looked) like. What we see here are both moments of defying confidence, and others of coyly depicted shy self-doubt.

  • Nitrogen

    Those who have relationships with millions are often alone. And what is left afterwards are their stories – written in books, made into movies…… I personally think ‘This is it’ is an irony of what we see and what we precieve. Sad end though.

  • Offbeat Spirituality

    MJ was a legend. Only his movies can bring in such a huge response that its producer, Sony, is looking for ‘This is also it’ – a sequel of the current movie.