A Spiritual Successor to the 1992 miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream, the movie picks up where the miniseries left off and focuses on Jackson (portrayed by Flex Alexander) from his peak during the Thriller era to the 2004 "People V. Jackson" trial that had just begun when the film originally aired.
While the film had good intentions, critics and fans alike panned the film for its unflattering depiction of the King of Pop, though Flex Alexander's portrayal as Jackson was praised.
This film contains examples of:
- Artistic License History:
- The movie shows the infamous baby dangling incident happening in 2003 around the same time as the Living With Michael Jackson documentary. Said incident actually happened in 2002, a year earlier.
- Michael remains black for the majority of the movie until he gets married to Debbie Rowe in 1996, despite being diagnosed with vitiligo early on. In reality, he had lost virtually all his pigment by 1990.
- Biopic: But unlike An American Dream, it did not receive Michael Jackson's blessing or authorization.
- Foregone Conclusion: It's common knowledge that Michael Jackson eventually went to court over his child molestation accusations. What wasn't known at the time of filming was what the verdict would be.
- Friend to All Children: Michael often opened up Neverland to let children stay over with him. Unfortunately, this comes around to bite him twice in the span of a decade.
- Jerkass Joe Jackson.
- Made-for-TV Movie
- Manchild: Michael is portrayed as a careless, eccentric man who is living in his own fantasy world trying to relive a childhood he never had, virtually incapable of dealing with the adult world.
- Roman à Clef: The names of the Jackson family and a few other celebrities aren't changed for obvious reasons, but the names of Jordan Chandler and Gavin Arvizo - the boys Michael Jackson was accused of molesting - were changed to Manny and David, respectively, to avoid legal issues. Same goes for their parents and some of Jackson's aides that were depicted in the film.
- Spiritual Successor: To The Jacksons: An American Dream.
- Stock Footage: Used infamously during a scene that showed LaToya Jackson's notorious interview in Israel where she claimed her brother was a paedophile, and another that used actual footage of the baby dangling incident in 2002.
- Writing Around Trademarks: Since the film was not authorized by Jackson, VH1 couldn't use his music or likeness save for some stock footage. As a result, album covers and various types of memorabilia were re-shot with Flex Alexander standing in, with anything from Bad and onward depicting him in whiteface. And reenactments of live performances only had Flex dancing to music that didn't sound even remotely close to any of Jackson's hits.