Featured Columns

May 28, 2012

Movie Mondays: Men in Black III

Title: Men in Black III
Director: Barry Sonnerfeld
Writer: Etan Cohen (created by Lowell Cunningham)
Distributed By: Columbia Pictures
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jermaine Clement, Emma Thompson
Release Date: May 25th, 2012

Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) are back in action as the Men in Black. Alien convict Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) escapes from the moon prison and seeks to get his revenge against Agent K for taking his arm. He goes back in time and kills Agent K, altering history and putting the entire fate of Earth in jeopardy. Now it’s up to Agent J to go back to 1969, save young Agent K (Josh Brolin), and put a stop to Boris the Animal before it’s too late.

Agent H is here now with the latest installment from the Ray-Ban wearing, head nodding, Men in Black. It’s been fifteen years since the groundbreaking first film, and ten years since the regrettable sequel. Can they pull it off and get the franchise back on track? Or will it be another successful but bad film that spells the end for the franchise?

For starters, Barry Sonnerfeld, the guy who directed the first Men in Black, is back at the helm. This might not sound like such a big deal, but it means that the feel of the first one is back. Everything from the soundtrack to the title screen feels faithful to the first film. And not only does he keep it faithful, Sonnerfeld also does a great job with directing and makes the shots creative without trying too hard.

Not only is the director back, but so are Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. After three films I can say that as with most great film series, it’s the characters we wind up caring more for than simply the premise. I couldn’t see the films without them, and Smith and Jones deliver what you expect. Will Smith is like Michael J. Fox or Toby Maguire in the sense that he pretty much looks exactly as he did ten years ago. Not only does he look the same, but he also brings the same wisecracking Agent J we know and love. Same with Tommy Lee Jones (the acting part, that is). Jones plays the same dry, no-nonsense Agent K, but adds another dimension to him.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Gremlin.

However, Smith and Jones aren’t the only ones here. There’s also Jemaine Clement as Boris the Animal. He might not be as grotesquely charismatic as Edgar or anywhere remotely as sexily sinister as Lara Flynn Boyle, but puts enough in it to make him an interesting character. Unfortunately, Rip Torn isn’t back again as Chief Zed. However, they replaced him with Agent O (Emma Thompson), who’s now the head of the agency.

Despite all of the good casting, the person whose performance stands out the most is Josh Brolin as young Agent K. He looks and sounds exactly like a young Tommy Lee Jones playing an Agent K. But it’s not just mere impersonation that makes his performance spectacular. It’s also the fact that he portrays Agent K as one who’s less cold than the older one.

One man Mexican standoff.

There’s decent special effects, entertaining enough action, and humor true to the source, and from that perspective, it’s all good. However, there’s one flaw that keeps it from being a terrific film, and that’s the story.

Don’t get me wrong, the story isn’t terrible. Despite having things that don’t logically make sense (as with most time travel films), the story is solid. However, just because it’s solid, doesn’t mean it’s impressive. The story is pretty simplistic and it doesn’t have much depth. You know those full length films that feel like they’re only thirty minutes? This is one of those.

Still, it’s an OK film. It’s not along the lines of Men in Black, but it’s a helluva lot better than Men in Black II. If you’re not really into Men in Black, then you’ll probably find this film mediocre. However, if you’re a fan of Men in Black, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the film back on track.

Somebody please explain to me why we don't have these yet?

Andrew Hudson