A collection of short films about iconic singer Michael Jackson (believe it or not), Michael Jackson: Moonwalker (1988) is one of the weirder films I’ve had the fortune to watch. Filled to the brim with strange imagery and stories that are loosely interlinked, Moonwalker is like a volcanic explosion of nostalgia that is incredibly difficult to describe. Perhaps the best way to understand this film is to watch it, but I’ve just watched it and I’m still not entirely sure how to approach it.
Here is a collection of some of the thoughts that flew into my mind whilst watching Moonwalker.
- I have to begin this quick list of thoughts by saying that I’m actually not really a big Michael Jackson fan (more of a Jackson 5 fan, really). I watched this because it was voted in to our weekly movie night by a friend of mine.
- I do like the Weird Al Yankovic parodies of his songs though.
- I enjoyed the beginning of Moonwalker – concert footage, contrasted with footage of fans becoming hysterical and passing out, contrasted with images of political figures such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.
- According to Wikipedia, Moonwalker is split into several segments with somewhat of a story. But the film is too mindblowingly weird to make sense of anything.
- Joe Pesci is in this as a cartoonish villain whose acting style could be comparable to Christopher Lloyd’s Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988), after he turns into that hideous cartoon monster. He is also wearing high heeled boots. Give that man an Oscar!
- The Claymation segments are unintentionally (intentionally?) hilarious, but also border upon nightmarishly traumatising.
- If I could sum up Moonwalker in one word, that one word would be “self-indulgent”.
- It’s hard to pick my favourite moment – where “Ben” is set to footage of rats running through a sewer, the remake of the video clip for “Bad” where all the little kids are doing the dance sequence, the part where a disembodied nose and scalpel flies towards the camera, or the part where MICHAEL JACKSON TURNS INTO A SPACESHIP. Caps lock necessary.
- Under any normal circumstances I would say that I wonder if someone who was completely high on painkillers wrote, directed, edited, and/or photographed this, but that seems somewhat insensitive for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on.
- This is ultimately an extremely surreal film to watch after Michael Jackson’s death, even if you’re not really a fan. It’s a strange one. And completely ridiculous. But it would probably make the best drinking game ever.
Watch the trailer here.