Jackson's Ghosts Is DOA

Listen guy, a career in the movies is not for you...

"Who's weird now?" asks Michael Jackson in his new, 38-minute film

Ghosts, which had its world premiere here early Friday (May 9)

morning.

No points for getting the answer to that question right. You're

weird, Mikey. Still. And likely forever, judging from this extremely

self-indulgent effort from the self-styled King Of Pop.

The hordes of

serious film critics here to cover the festival under the palms are certain to

give Peter Pan's latest effort a pan of their own. But Jacko still has his

fans. Hundreds of black-tied fans screamed his name as Jackson made his way up

the red-carpeted stairs of the Palais des Festivals for the premiere. And

hundreds of others, also in penguin suits, tried to scam seats for the hottest

ticket in town.

While the crowds who couldn't get in (only 2,300

hand-picked fans and journalists were given the privilege) were broken-hearted,

it's certain they didn't miss much.

Ghosts opens with a mob of angry

parents, led by the Mayor of Normal, up to an eerie hilltop mansion, where they

plan to confront its occupant. Seems the owner, Ol' Wacko Jacko himself, has

been scaring their kids. And dammit, they're not going to take it

anymore.

As Jacko opens the door...



As Jacko opens the door to the spookhouse, the Mayor tells

him what everyone else in the world thinks. "You're weird, and you're strange

and I don't like you. And you're scaring these kids," he says. "It's back to

the circus with you."

Smiling benignly, Jacko offers to take his uninvited

guests on a little tour of his carnival funhouse. We get the usual assortment

of dancing ghouls, ghosts and grotesqueries, the requisite morphings and

special effects. But from Jackson's own "Black Or White" and "The Man In The

Mirror," we've seen it all before, and the "Thriller" is gone.

But

obviously not forgotten. Jacko's not content to steal from himself,

particularly the moonwalking and zombie dancing of his "Thriller" video, but he

borrows (?) heavily from cultural refers like old Twilight Zone episodes and

Jim Carrey's The Mask.

As Jackson brings out each new cheap trick to

frighten his visitors, he asks them, "Are you scared yet?" But the only thing

the mayor and his constituents look worried about is that their roles in this

flaccid piece of wasted film aren't over yet.

It doesn't take a PhD in

psychology to figure out that this film is the Gloved One's answer to

accusations of weirdness generally and child molestation specifically. He can't

seem to answer the charges as a man, offering this flimsy allegory to the world

instead.

Sorry, Mikey, we're not buying it. As a film, Ghosts

doesn't cut it. As a showcase for your singing and dancing, it's a ghostly

imitation of "Thriller." And as an explanation of your weirdness, it's a

skeletally meager offering, two years too late.

Ghosts is directed

by Academy Award-winning American Stan Winston, from an "original idea" by

Stephen King and Jackson himself. Excuse me, but did I get this right? It took

two people to come up with this lame retooling of "Thriller"? Better leave the

movies to movie folk, Mikey. Cannes is no place for you. The circus is the

place for you.