Michael Jackson will never die — at least not in spirit. Spike Lee did his part to to keep the pop legend alive with his Bad 25 documentary, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival 25 years to the day after Jackson released his chart-topping album.
Lee was commissioned by Sony and Epic records to make the documentary, which he calls “a love letter” to Jackson. The director featured interviews not only with the same old familiar faces, but also a slew of unknown collaborators who worked in the trenches on the album. Dancers, choreographers, song writers, short film directors, back-up singers, sound technicians and friends all weighed in on what went into the making of Jackson’s third album on Epic.
A variety of famous music personalities including Mariah Carey, Cee Lo Green, Kanye West and Justin Bieber talked about how Michael Jackson influenced their music. Quincy Jones and director Martin Scorsese, who directed Jackson’s 18-minute music video for the “Bad” single, gave their perspective on the pop singer’s creative process.
Watch the “Bad” music video below:
The media frenzy and tabloid reports of Jackson’s bizarre personal life, his pet monkey, plastic surgery and oxygen tank were all absent from Lee’s two hour film. The helmer was keen to focus only on the musical genius and professional achievements of Jackson as an artist, therefore giving a clearer view on what was his true legacy.
The film is a sensational snapshot of the peak of the music video as art form, as well as the intricately layered process by which superior pop is crafted. More poignantly, it serves to remove the veil of late-period craziness and allegations and restore the reputation of Jackson as a multihyphenate musician of peerless discipline, professionalism and perfectionism — not to mention a pioneering influence in dance and fashion
Bad 25 also unveiled some of the mystery surrounding the Bad album. Through the string of recollections we find out who Annie was, as in ‘Annie are you O.K.’ in “Smooth Criminal.” Annie is the traditional name used for all CPR dummies. Also we learn Jackson sings “Shamon” on the “Bad” title track as a tribute to blues singer Mavis Staples. The documentary also highlighted how Wesley Snipes made his acting debut in the”Bad” music video, which was shot in Harlem and a Brooklyn subway station.
Bad25 will be released in February 2013, along with another hour of behind-the-scenes footage.