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Michael Jackson's film legacy

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Like the rest of the world, I was shocked and very saddened to hear about Michael Jackson's tragic and untimely death earlier this week.


As most movie fans, I'm very visually oriented, and growing up in the 80s watching Michael Jackson singing and dancing was always something memorable, not to mention that he practically defined the pop culture of the 80s (alright, I guess Madonna had a little something to do with it, as well).


One of the saddest things for me is that, unlike Elvis did for a previous generation, Jackson didn't leave a large legacy of movies behind him for his fans to remember him.


I've never been a very big fan of Sidney Lumet's The Wiz (1978), although I think he and Diana Ross did a great job in that film.Watching that movie again is going to be a much sadder experience now that he's gone.




Michael was also featured in the 1985 compilation That's Dancing! (1985), although most of the movie was dedicated to the dancers of Hollywood's Golden Age.


Then there are the music videos. There are many who would consider the 15-minute Thriller music video as something of a mini-movie itself, and it certainly drew upon the talent of a top director (John Landis) and the voice talent of one of the great film legends, Vincent Price.


However, my favorite Michael Jackson movie is one that was never meant to be played in regular theaters: Captain EO, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, was shown exclusively in Walt Disney parks as a special 3-D extravaganza, full of special effects that were meant to make the audience as though they were inside the movie.




Although there were some cheesy moments, Michael Jackson was in great form, the special effects looked pretty amazing, and there was also a wonderfully campy performance by the great Anjelica Huston.


It's impossible to say at this point if Captain EO will ever be seen again in Disney parks, but I can't help wishing that the Disney company would give Michael's fans one more chance to enjoy his performance, wonderfully captured with what was at the time the state-of-the-art 3-D technology.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Boy, and here I was hoping that this would be the one place on the entire planet where Michael Jackson's name would not have been brought up. At all.


I can understand your sadness at his death, he was a great entertainer but being that this is a message board about film and he was only in two or three films, I just don't understand the "why" for you bringing his name onto the hallowed grounds of TCM.


I can understand if you were to include him in the obits thread that exists, but not as a single thread all to himself. If you wanted to share your feelings about him I am sure there are plenty of other web message boards out there where conversations are taking place.


And I really don't understand why anyone would care to read about a person who was brought up on child molestation charges not once but twice. I don't have children, but if I did, this would have been one person I would have most definitely kept my children away from.

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Thanks for your thoughts, Fxreyman. I completely agree with you. I will be so glad when all this Michael Jackson circus is over! He was just a singer, people! And definitely not what anyone would call a movie star. Let's leave this site reserved for the movie greats (and not-so-greats).



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I can't believe the media coverage on Michael Jackson. My personal opinion is that he was a phenomenal entertainer. I liked his music, his videos and his dancing. I think he appealed to all types of people and incorporated different musical genres into his music. I loved his "moon walk" and that Thriller album will always be one of my favorites. He was "odd", but he was one of the cutest kids back in the Jackson 5 days. I think he was one of the greatest musical talents. I hope he gets the peace now that he couldn't get while he was alive.

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What film legacy? Unless you count MTV videos. And yes, the media coverage was WAY over the top, and I don't think they will let Jackson rest in peace for a while. As for THE WIZ, it was awful. Diana Ross was way too old to play Dorothy which ruined the whole picture. And the less said about Jackson in this film the better. The best thing was seeing Lena Horne on the big screen again. What was Sidney Lumet thinking when he directed this stinker?

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Don't forget "Captain EO" which was a a 3-D film formerly shown at Disney theme parks.




*_Per Wikipedia_:*



The film stars Michael Jackson. It was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, executive-produced by George Lucas, choreographed by Jeffrey Hornaday, photography by Peter Anderson, produced by Rusty Lemorande, and written by Lemorande, Lucas and Coppola. The score was written by James Horner, and featured two songs ("We Are Here to Change the World" and "Another Part of Me") by Michael Jackson. The Supreme Leader was played by Anjelica Huston. Famed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro acted as visual consultant.







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I neglected to mention that when Michael released the remix album "Blood on the Dance Floor," that 1997 album was supported by a 38-minute short film entitled "Ghosts," in which Jackson performed a total of five roles. "Ghosts" was based on a short story written by Michael and Stephen King, and was directed by Oscar winner Stan Winston, the genius behind the creatures in films such as The Terminator, Aliens and Jurassic Park. In the film, Jackson plays the role of Maestro, a strange recluse who lives in a haunted mansion.

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  • 3 weeks later...

There is one BIG difference between the two.....


Dean WAS an actor, and as such even though he was only in three motion pictures, those three movies have become legendary not only for his acting in them but also because the three films were three of the best from the 1950's according to many film scholars. He was also a theater actor and appeared in several plays and television shows originating from New York. And he also studied acting at UCLA and later at Lee Strasberg's acting studio.


The following is from Wikipedia:


Dean's status as a cultural icon is best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause, in which he starred as troubled high school rebel Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his star power were as the awkward loner Cal Trask in East of Eden, and as the surly farmer Jett Rink in Giant. His enduring fame and popularity rests on only these three films, his entire output in a starring role. His death at an early age helped to ensure his legendary status.


He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only person to have two posthumous acting nominations (although other people had more than one posthumous nomination in other Oscar categories). In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Dean the 18th male movie star on their AFI's 100 Years?100 Stars list.




So IMHO therefore, one can not even say that you could compare these two individuals. One was an actor cut down tragically early in his life and the other was a singer / entertainer who had developed into the world's most famous personality.


Edited by Fxreyman


Message was edited by: fxreyman

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  • 1 month later...

Just read this in the L.A. Times:


Disneyland has ?no definite plans to bring back? the Michael Jackson 3-D movie ?Captain EO,? Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said today during an impromptu news conference at D23 Expo in Anaheim.


?There aren?t plans to bring back ?Captain EO? at this time,? Iger said. ?We are looking at it. It?s the kind of thing that, if we did it, would get a fair amount of attention and we?d want to make sure we do it right.?


Iger and other Disney brass watched a screening of the 1980s-era sci-fi fantasy film this week and determined that the old music video needed to be further evaluated before it could be brought back into the Anaheim theme park.


Back in 1986, everybody wanted a piece of the hottest pop star in the world. So it was with much fanfare that Disneyland introduced ?Captain EO,? starring Jackson.


It was an association the family-friendly amusement park would eventually come to regret as the bizarre pop star became increasingly embroiled in controversy.


The 17-minute ?Captain EO? cost an estimated $30 million and featured a star-studded list of credits, including executive producer George Lucas, director Francis Ford Coppola and Anjelica Huston as the evil Supreme Leader.


The 3-D movie ? featuring lasers, smoke and stars that extended into the audience ? told the story of Captain EO?s mission to deliver a musical gift to a wicked alien queen on a dystopian planet. EO?s rag-tag crew included his sidekick Fuzzbucket, security officer Major Domo and blundering shipmate ****.


?EO? used music ? specifically the original song ?We Are Here to Change the World? ? to defeat the queen and her whip-wielding henchmen.


?Captain EO? opened in Disneyland?s Magic Eye Theater in 1986 and ran for more than a decade, quietly closing in 1997.


Identical versions of the film eventually opened at Epcot in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. All closed by 1998.


Michael Jackson died in June.

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Today I watched Michael Jackson's This is It, the much-hyped documentary which follows the rehearsals of what would have been his "comeback" tour had he not tragically died before that.


It's a pretty good documentary, considering the sad circumstances under which it is being released, apparently for just 2 weeks in theaters, before going on to a DVD and blu-ray release in early 2010.


Anyone who enjoyed Michael's music, especially his breakthrough songs of the 80s, should find something to enjoy here, and strangely enough, it's somewhat comforting to be able to bid a final cinematic farewell to the Gloved One, even if one regrets the bizarre turn of events that accompanied the late part of his career.


One particularly engaging part, for me as a classic film fan, were the clips from Gilda and other famous noirs that accompanied the introduction to the song "Smooth Criminal", although I'm not so sure it was really necessary to edit Michael into the footage from the movie so as to make it appear that he was interacting with Rita Hayworth.


Also, it's nice to once again listen to Vincent Price's macabre voiceover that was part of "Thriller", which is given a 21st-century encore here with some groovy special effects.


The King of Pop is dead, but it is very clear that his legacy will live on.

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  • 1 month later...

*Jackson's 'Captain EO' to return to Disneyland*


LOS ANGELES (AP) ? "Captain EO" is moonwalking back to Disneyland.


The theme park announced plans Friday to bring back the 3-D sci-fi film starring Michael Jackson next February, over 23 years after the attraction debuted in Anaheim, Calif. The 17-minute film starred the late King of Pop as a singing-and-dancing intergalactic commander. It was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and executive produced by George Lucas.


In the film, Jackson leads a goofy alien and robot crew as they battle a wicked queen played by Anjelica Huston. "Captain EO" originally opened in Disneyland's Tommorrowland in 1986 and ran for more than a decade. Identical versions later opened at other Disney theme parks. They were all closed by 1998.


Jackson died June 25 at age 50.

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Somebody on Facebook was wondering why Michael Jackson was not included in the TCM Remembers short. Even though he didn't have a long resume in acting, he did act in The Wiz. They certainly recognize more obscure actors than Michael Jackson. I thought they posed a rather interesing question. Would anyone care to remark on this?

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