Vision (Epic / Legacy / MJJ Productions)
Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., Dec. 3, 2010
Michael JacksonVision (Epic/Legacy/MJJ Productions)
To understand the cultural impact of Michael Jackson's music videos – or "short films," as he more accurately called them – consider this: "Thriller" is the only music video inducted by the Library of Congress into the National Film Registry. Moreover, 17 years after its televised debut, "Thriller" now inspires tens of thousands of zombie-clad fans in dozens of countries across five continents to simultaneously perform its choreography every year. In a symbiotic relationship with MTV, Jackson revolutionized, reimagined, and constantly reinvented promo videos while changing the musical landscape and kicking down the door for a new generation of black entertainers. All of that's evident in Michael Jackson's Vision, a 3-DVD, 4½-hour box set collecting the complete catalog of Jackson's short films spanning more than two decades. With so many genre-defining classics on his résumé, including "Billie Jean," "Smooth Criminal," and the nearly 20-minute full-length version of "Bad" directed by Martin Scorsese, it's easy to overlook other outstanding moments like the fierce Spike Lee joint "They Don't Care About Us," where Jackson's joined by an army of Brazilian drummers. Watching the more than 40 videos chronologically serves as an evolutionary history lesson not only of Jackson's vision but of technology, pop music, and the ever-changing appearance of its king.