Posted by: ckckred | May 28, 2012

Back in Black for the Third Time: Review of Men in Black III

The younger K (Josh Brolin) gives a gun to J (Will Smith)

I remember seeing the first Men in Black film, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  It was a funny sharp film that reminded me of one of my all-time favorite comedies The Blues Brothers.  It had pretty cool special effects.

Then, as Hollywood usual does, a sequel was made, which sucked much of the fun out of what seemed like a good series.  And ever since then, everyone thought the Men in Black series was dead.

Until Columbia decided to reboot it now.  I wasn’t originally planning to see Men in Black 3, but I read a positive review from Roger Ebert (plus I found out Moonrise Kingdom isn’t coming until next week in theaters nationwide) which made me change my mind.

Agents K (Tommy Lee Jones) and J (Will Smith) still work for the Men in Black, a government agency that works with aliens.  They work under Agent O (Emma Thompson) and are called in whenever there’s an alien emergency around.

But things get ugly when Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement of TV’s fantastic Flight of the Conchords), an alien who can shoot insects from his hand, escapes from his prison on the moon after spending 40 years behind bars.  Way back in 1969, K put him away and shot off his arm and set up a shield around Earth that killed every member of Boris’ race, except for Boris.  To prevent this from happening, Boris goes back in and kills K.  J, however, still manages to remember K and travels back in time to prevent Boris from killing K.

This part of the film takes the first half hour, and is a little slow and dull.  However, the film picks up after J goes to 1969.

J meets the younger K, who is played by Josh Brolin.  I’d like to compliment the casting director for making this decision, which reminds me of Robert DeNiro playing the younger Vito Corleone.  Josh Brolin does look and sound what a younger Tommy Lee Jones would be like, and he’s by far the funniest character in the movie.

So J and the younger K try to stop Boris from invading Earth.  The film takes us back in a retro look of the 60s and the coming of the 70s.  Director Barry Sonnenfeld (who also did the first two films) depicts society similarly to Mad Men, and in the film we encounter hippies, dancers, and even Andy Warhol.

Maybe it’s because I had such low expectations for the film, but I really did like Men in Black 3.  It erases the ugly memory of the sequel and may have saved what most viewed as a dead franchise.  Some of the movie is a little trippy (the script was rewritten a few times during the filming process), but overall it’s a fun film to watch.  Though I probably preferred the original film over this, Men in Black 3 is likable and funny enough for most people to enjoy.

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