Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Men in Black III

Barry Sonnenfeld returns as the director for the third installment of the Men in Black series along with the familiar lead characters of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones).  Most that go to see this film will already have an idea of what to expect.  Whether it be from the previous films, cartoon series, or comics this film is expected to deliver.
We begin by learning who Boris "The Animal" (Jermaine Clement), who breaks out of the Lunar-MAX prison on the moon's surface and is the last of an alien species that has a 40 year old grudge with Agent K.  The story then jumps right into the ongoing dysfunctional relationship between MiB partners Agent J and Agent K.  Immediately reminding the audience of the neuralizer and resulting witty excuses that Agent J tells the witnesses.  Apparently any large metallic object that falls from the sky is a result of not turning out cell phones off when we are flying.  Also, if anyone ever flushed a child's goldfish it will come back as a giant alien and attempt to eat you.

The evil plan of Boris "The Animal" is to go back in time and kill Agent K resulting in a modern day end of the Earth scenario.  To avoid the apacolypse, Agent J must travel in time to 1969, to stop an alien from assassinating the younger Agent K (Josh Brolin) and altering the timeline.  The story really takes off from here with a few obvious time travel cliches helping along the way that should remind the audience of "Back to the Future" (1985).  With a film like MiB now involving time travel it gives them the opportunity to play with history (or theory) and try to re-explain the reasons for such things as the first manned spaceflight to the Earth's moon which launched from Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969. 

The performances from Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are exactly what the audience can expect.  However, it is interesting that this is the third time that Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones have worked together having previously shared the screen with "In the Valley of Elah" and "No Country for Old Men" in 2007.  Having worked closely together it can be easier to copy and impersonate someone and it comes as no surprise that Josh Brolin is completely believable as a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones. 

Of course the story is about Agent J and Agent K, but the scenes are stolen by Jermaine Clement, and Michael Stuhlbarg (Griffin).  Jermaine Clement is probably best known for his New Zealand import character from "Flight of the Conchords" who is quirky and lovable, but also known for his voice work.  Michael Stuhlbarg plays Griffin who is an alien that has the ability to see the future and the various outcomes.  It comes as little surprise that Michael Stuhlbarg stands out as any fan of "Boardwalk Empire" is familiar with his performance as Arnold Rothstein.  Other guest appearances in the film include Bill Hader of "Saturday Night Live" giving a fresh MiB background story to the character of Andy Warhol.

To the fans of the MiB franchise you will see Mannix (MiB 2 in 2002) selling from a food cart; the worms all packed and ready to leave Earth; and everyone's favorite talking dog Frank (MiB in 1997) on a Coney Island billboard.  The film remains entertaining and while I wasn't a fan of MiB 2, this could be an attempt at rebooting the franchise and could be fun to see what other time related issues Agent J and K could resolve even though time travel is a tired concept.  While Will Smith has been a box office hit for July 4th, this film could be an attempt at hitting the box office for Father's Day as it has been so long between films it could have a new generation of fans due to the successful cartoon series.  The film returns to its roots and gives audiences the chance to relive much of what they first enjoyed – a smart, sci-fi, buddy comedy that embraces everything weird and wonderful about the unknown universe. 

The 3D effects only worked for me in one scene that involved lasers, but it is still worth 3 Quacks and if you are looking for something to see in the theater you could do a lot worse.  Who knows this could be ytour new favorite moment in human history.

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