Thoughts on… Michael Jackson: Moonwalker (1988)

220px-Smoothcriminal7A 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.

  1. 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.
  2. I do like the Weird Al Yankovic parodies of his songs though.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. The Claymation segments are unintentionally (intentionally?) hilarious, but also border upon nightmarishly traumatising.
  7. If I could sum up Moonwalker in one word, that one word would be “self-indulgent”.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.


  1. I love Speed Demon with the stop-motion bunny rabbit on a motorcycle!!!

    1. All those Claymation figures were so disturbing! The mother and son looked like seriously terrifying demons. Such an entertaining segment though.

  2. I am a big MJ fan so in retrospect it’s strange I haven’t seen it and you’ve inspired me to add it to the list. It sounds hard to describe, but I like the ways you tried!

    1. If you love MJ then you should definitely see this! It’s so weird, but at the same time it makes a lot of sense in its weirdness. Definitely worth a watch!

  3. I am not an MJ fan at all, but you have me wanting to see this just for the weirdness! 😀

    1. If you’re into weirdness then you’ll be fascinated by this!

  4. frankie342 · · Reply

    for an movie with an $22 million budget it did not capture the same quality as thriller
    did all this offered was an conglomeration of an extended commercial and an short
    movie and it had nothing to do with moonwalking what so ever and warner did load better
    musical movies like purple rain with prince but such a waste of pretention that this nostalgia
    hog did for an 1hr 45 min runtime I am not surprise it didn’t have an wider theatrical release
    only mad $56 million in Sweden that in most other countries like the UK was released straight to
    video but I you want to see actual moonwalking try watching space movies where you see them doing it or moon landing stock footage of Neil Armstrong actually moonwalking but even the tie
    in videogames didn’t live up to it’s title some enjoyed it but I did not I give this 4 out of 10 .

    frankie croft smales


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