The music videos of Michael Jackson have been released on home video before. In the late 1990’s, two collections called HIStory were released on VHS and DVD. Also in 2003, there was the Number Ones DVD to support the compilation of the same name. However, these sets didn’t include all of Jackson’s videos. With the popularity of YouTube and other video sharing sites, all of Jackson’s videos were able to be seen. Still, to have the missing videos on a physical DVD was not possible…until now.
Before I get to the features in this set, I want to start off with my main negative: the screen formatting of the actual videos. The back of the DVD case reads that the DVDs are formatted for widescreen TVs. A majority of Jackson’s videos were filmed in the 4:3 ratio, which is the main ratio for full screen. To support the widescreen videos and to enhance the quality, the full screen videos are placed in the center of the screen. Depending on what kind of DVD player or TV you have, the video might be surrounded by not two but four black bars. This is extremely annoying for many people. I find it that if you use a “zoom in” feature on your TV remote or DVD player, the top and bottom bars can go away. The black bars on the left and right can’t be removed. For the videos that were shot in widescreen, the screen is normal and has black bars on the top and bottom. If Michael Jackson had a vision, I’m sure it wasn’t surrounded by four black bars.
As for the actual content on the DVDs, it’s great. Disc 1 is probably the best of the two or three that are in the set. Disc 1 features material from Jackson’s three essential albums: Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad. All of these videos are in full screen, as described before. Still, try not to focus too much on the negatives: enjoy the videos. The videos for “She’s Out Of My Life”, “Dirty Diana”, and a few others are making their debut on DVD. The videos for “Smooth Criminal”, “Speed Demon”, “Come Together”, and “Leave Me Alone” are all pulled from Jackson’s 1988 movie Moonwalker. Disc 2 features material from the albums Dangerous, HIStory, Blood on the Dance Floor, and Invincible. Videos like “Remember the Time”, “Jam”, and others are all in widescreen. A few music videos have made their debut on DVD, including the whole 12 minutes of “You Rock My World” which features a cameo from the legendary Marlon Brando. Although the video isn’t in the ranks of “Billie Jean” or even “Thriller”, it’s still relevant. The third disc is actually a bonus disc. This one only has seven videos on it. The first three are promo videos from the Jacksons, which aren’t anything special. Jackson’s duet with Paul McCartney “Say, Say, Say” is on here. Although it’s incredibly corny, I love it because it was intended to be that way. The prison cell version of “They Don’t Care About Us” makes more sense than the one that was shown on TV. Also on here is a video called “Why” which is by the group 3T. 3T is a group that consists of Tito Jackson’s three sons. For “Why”, their Uncle Michael got to sing with them and appear in the actual video that is shown. The last video is “One More Chance”. This video, before then, was never released. The song, featured as the new track on the Number Ones compilation, was filmed in Las Vegas in 2003. The video was going to be released but before that could happen, police raided Neverland Ranch which would lead to Jackson’s 2004-2005 child molestation trial. The video isn’t that special in content. It’s basically an audience standing on a stage, while they watch Michael perform where they should be sitting.
Is it worth it to get Michael Jackson’s Visions? It really depends on what kind of fan you are. If you want everything the King of Pop has done, go and get it now. If you just want certain videos, you’re probably better off with the HIStory DVDs or Number Ones. Despite the whole formatting issue, this is an impressive release from the estate of Michael Jackson. Go out and get it!