Dare we talk about Moonwalker in 2021?
When this movie was released Michael Jackson was the BIGGEST artist alive at the time. I think that the late 80s were the peak years of his career and in 1988 he went total supernova and released Moonwalker the motion picture. I actually remember going to see this movie at the theatre when I was very young because back then (I say through gritted teeth) I was a massive Michael Jackson fan.
Due to the accusations against Michael Jackson over the last 30 years coupled with cancel culture, year by year this movie is getting harder and harder to find on a streaming service or TV channel that will broadcast it, but we managed to stream it off YouTube and take in all the nostalgia.
So what was the movie all about?
Considering this movie was conceived by Michael Jackson himself you can only guess as to how crazy this movie gets!
The movie is split into several parts. We will skip past most of the parts of the movie which are mainly the anthology sections showcasing lots of Michael’s music videos and performances right from the start of his career to the present day, this being 1988. We can’t argue with that. Michael had a wonderful back catalogue.
So we keep fast-forwarding…. , keep going annnnnddd STOP!
We get to the music video for “Speed Demon”. This is my favourite part of the movie. We just finished the music video for “Badder” with the young Brandon Quintin Adams playing a kid version of Michael Jackson’s for a remake of the “Bad” video. In the end, Michael exits the multi-story car park and straight into a Hollywood studio.
There is a busload of ‘crazy’ big-headed tourists who are on a tour of the studios and one of them spots Michael and alerts the others and they all go absolutely mental. The fans differ from scene to scene. One minute they are people wearing giant heads and the next they are animated in claymation.
The tourists are all desperate to get Michael’s autograph and chase him around the studios where he crashes a film set which results in a group of big-headed cowboy actors also chasing him.
Eventually, Michael finally gets cornered but quickly hides in a costume building. He disguises himself as Spike, a giant rabbit, and walks past the crazy tourists waiting outside. Once he’s passed them Instead of just getting away he decides to attract their attention by wolf-whistling and doing a typical Jackson-esque dance and then jumps on a pushbike and cycles away. The bike turns into a Harley Davidson and the high-speed chase is on and the music starts.
During the duration of the music video, Michael turns into Rambo, Peewee Herman, and Tina Turner goes on a jet ski and uses a rocket pack. Finally, Michael escapes the crazy obsessive tourists and pulls the motorbike over in the desert. He takes off the rabbit costume and then Spike comes alive and they have a dance-off. The dance-off comes to a stop when a cop stops them and points to a ‘No dancing’ sign. Spike disappears and the cop asks for Michaels’s autograph. Spike then reappears again in the rockface and gives a cheeky wink!
The second part of the movie
Basically, this part of the movie is a veeeerrrryyy long music video for “Smooth Criminal”. We start with a shooting star and cut to three homeless children Katie (Kellie Parker), Zeke (Brandon Quintin Adams), and Sean (Sean Lennon, youngest son of the late John Lennon) on the roof of a building.
The children are all talking about Michael and hoping he will come back. We then see Michael appear from a doorway and all dressed up like he’s heading to a 1930s nightclub. We then cut to a flashback where Michael is playing with the kids in the countryside and their dog Skipper. We don’t get any explanation as to who these children are or how Michael knows them. But it’s probably best to not ask questions about how Michael knows these children!
Skipper runs off into a cave where Michael and Katie follow. They venture into the caves and it is full of spider webs. At the end of the cave, there is a door. The door is locked but there is a giant button with a spider on it and Michael presses it and it opens. This fortress doesn’t seem very secure. This is the security equivalent of when somebody doesn’t have a PIN code to unlock their cell phone. You make it too easy! They start to venture down a giant metal stairway where they hear talking and shouting and look over the balcony to see the evil Frank Lideo (Joe Pesci) and his henchman talking about selling drugs at the school playgrounds and getting the whole world addicted to his drugs. That’s a pretty Goddamn ambitious business model.
Joe Pesci must have been high when he accepted this acting role. His character is so cliche and looks like he was conceived from a Build your own bad guy kit.
On the checklist we have…
- An evil Lair in the mountain
- Wears sunglasses (even at night)
- Has an endless supply of money
- Has an evil pet = tarantulas
- Wears a black leather overcoat and gloves
- Lots of armed henchmen
- Endless supply of weapons and tech
- Sells drugs
- Hates kids
- Has a giant gun that is concealed on the mountain peak.
- Platted ponytail
Anyway, back to the cave scene… A tarantula crawls near Katie and obviously, she screams which alerts Frank and his cronies.
We then cut back to the present time where the children seem to now be homeless and abandoned. We see Frank and his cronies arrive outside Michael Jackson’s apartment where he appears again.
Michael, why did you abandon the children? We don’t know! The men open fire and obliterate the building and surrounding premises. The kids and the bad guys seem to think that Michael is dead, which he should be but he’s wished on a star and miraculously escaped and now running off down the old cobbled streets of this very empty looking town.
The bad guys give chase and eventually Michael gets cornered in a dead-end alleyway. We see another shooting star and then Michael turns into a ridiculous Lancia Stratos Zero 1970 concept car. The men shoot but what do you know? It’s bulletproof of course. The car leaps through them and speeds off at the speed of…. errrr… a very fast thing with the bad guys now on motorbikes chasing after it.
We cut back to the kids who are now waiting and hiding in an abandoned club. Katie sees a silhouette of a car arriving which turns into Michael.
Michael rushes into the abandoned bar and now it’s come alive as Club 30 and is full of people from the past! So he was actually going to a 1930s bar after all!
Once inside he flips a coin into the jukebox and Bam! “Smooth Criminal” starts. Michael performs the classic song and inside there are also people in the bar that are also trying to kill Michael. Jeez, he must sleep with one eye open. Does everyone want to kill him? Outside the kids are spying and dancing in the alleyway.
In the middle of the song, it breaks down into some crazy tantric scene where Michael and the dancers are all wailing and tapping their feet. When the song starts back up again and we are treated to the gravity-defying lean by Michael and his dancers.
Eventually, the whole club is surrounded by Frank’s henchmen where Michael fires a Tommy gun at them and then the whole place erupts. The kids are kidnapped and taken to Franks lair, yadayadayada…
Michael takes a beating and gets angry. Frank goes to inject Katie with his evil drugs. We see a shooting star again and now Michael goes full transformer and turns into a giant robot of himself.
He manages to kill Frank’s henchmen but he’s not done there as he then turns into a giant spaceship.
Frank unleashes his giant death gun from his mountain top lair. Michael takes a hit but rises again and blows Frank and his gun to Kingdom come. He then f**cks off into space and abandons the kids yet again!
So what now?
We then cut to the kids again who are still homeless and living on the streets. Another shooting star and Michael appears once again.
There are so many unanswered questions that don’t get answered. None of the kids ask where he’s been, why he keeps abandoning them when they are homeless and why the f**k is he a giant shapeshifting robot from space?
Instead, he takes them back to Club 30 but this time when they enter it is transformed into a grotty looking backstage that is a health and safety nightmare with power cables and plugs in the puddles of dripping water. A plug socket sparks and scares the s**t out of them but they laugh it off. It ain’t funny Michael, sort it out!
Michael then meets with his Manager (Real-life Manager Frank DiLeo. Hey, that sounds like the bad guy’s name!) He has managed to get Skipper the dog back from wherever he was hiding and then Michael sings his rendition of the Beatles “Come Together” with lots of seductive moves with the female guitarists and hip thrusting even though the kids are on stage behind him!
The end. If you haven’t watched this movie then go and see for yourself and see if you can decipher what is going on. Moonwalker…. Still a crazy 80s classic with a killer soundtrack!