The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992) starring Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Angela Bassett, Billy Dee Williams, Vanessa Williams, Alex Burrall, Jason Weaver, Wylie Draper

Jacksons' American Pie

Like many I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, I was 11 when he released "Thriller" and I drove my parents crazy listening to it. But there is a difference between being a fan of the music and being a fan of the person and to be honest whilst I never disliked Michael Jackson I was only ever a fan of his music. That brings me to "The Jacksons: An American Dream" a rather impressive TV movie about the Jacksons, not just Michael as it takes us from 1945 when Joe met Katherine through the Motown years to the early 80s and just past the famous advertising incident when Michael suffered burns when his hair caught on fire.

Now I say impressive not because at 4 hours "The Jacksons: An American Dream" is a long TV movie but because it is not some cheap looking production as it tries to recreate various events on the history of the Jacksons. And for general fans of the Jacksons it works as general entertainment as whilst we go through the various stages of their career, from winning a talent show to signing with Motown and so on it is full of their music. It is that side more than anything which makes it work as whilst some of the actors don't even look like the people they are meant to be watching them perform as we hear a classic song makes you just sit back and just enjoy it the musical nostalgia trip.

But that is for the general fan and unfortunately for those who have more in-depth knowledge on the Jacksons and their rise to fame it seems that "The Jacksons: An American Dream" is a disappointment. You can search the internet and find opinions from big fans that pick up on all the inaccuracies, from the chronology of it being switched to various events being ignored as well as some characters. As one person put it "Despite some liberties, a must for Jackson fans" and that is so true because the end result is an entertaining 4 hour musical drama rather than an authentic biopic, in fact you could say it is a homage to the Jacksons rather than a biopic.

As for the acting well it works if you are just a general fan of the Jacksons music but again if you are more than just a casual fan the acting at times is shaky and some of the cast certainly don't look like the person they playing. Whether that is to do with the fact that Jermaine Jackson and Suzanne De Passe were involved in the production of the movie and were too close the story to be critical maybe the case. But the end result is a movie with a good performance from Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs as Joe Jackson which stands out although you do have to smile when you realise that it is a young Terrence Howard making his movie debut as Jackie Jackson.

What this all boils down to is that "The Jacksons: An American Dream" comes across like a homage to the Jackson family rather than an authentic biopic which makes it fine for general fans who will enjoy all the music but inaccurate for those who know more about the family.