2012 is a major year for launching, rebooting and finalising franchises. It has so far been a successful year for movies following this pattern and Barry Sonnenfeld has now done for the Men in Black franchise what Brad Bird did for the Mission Impossible storyline. The quirky sci-fi humour that connected Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith at their black suited hips in the first edition has been rejuvenated and the Will Smith fan club can breathe a sigh of relief. The movie is a brilliant vehicle for fun and comedy. Don’t go trying to hold the writers to account on quantum physics and instead kick back with a friend, a coke and your snack of choice for the fun experience it is.
The storyline has just enough comedy combined with great camera angles of Will Smith’s nose to give you that comic book feel. As one movie goer commented, this is less about aliens and more about time travel and chocolate milk. The release of an alien prisoner from our Moon based prison Lunamax sets the world to DEFCON 6 as they consider the invasion of a race of predator beings. The earth, once saved from this race by Tommy Lee Jones character ‘K’ 40 years ago must be saved again as the alien Boris goes back in time to work his evil upon the earth.
Kudos goes to Jemaine Clement’s role as Boris. The Flight of the Conchords star has reinvented himself as the evil alien in a way that ranks alongside how Vincent D’Onofrio did it in the first MIB as the buggy alien cockroach. I was thrown at first trying to find in my mind which British actor had embodied the alien scum. Still amazing how many American movies have British accented bad guys. Are they not over the Boston Tea Party or what? This role has to be a major stepping stone for Jemaine both because of the profile of the movie as well as the incredible delivery he pushes into your mind even with the CGi that brings his alien body to life. You’re going to wonder who that alien ‘girlfriend’ is during the opening scene and only a Pussycat can help you with that one.
From the promotional posters through to the trailers we’ve all been looking forward to see Josh Brolin bring a young Agent ‘K’ to life embodying a youthful portrayal of Tommy Lee Jones. Everything from the entry lines of the story through the time travel and back to present ensures smooth transitions and a believable character for Josh Brolin to drive. Call it a hunch but I think we will find somewhere along the line that Jones and Brolin share DNA. The posters just couldn’t be photo-shopped to make the two look as alike as they really do. The dry grin smile is superb, the jawline is straight and the eyes are deep. This must have been a joy for Brolin and he works the relationship with Smith to just the right level.
Emma Thompson enters the franchise as ‘O’, lead agent of the MIB team to bring some class to the role once filled by Rip Torn as ‘Zed’. Her youthful 1960’s version is also well placed as Alice Eve. There’s a nice love connection that appears as Agent J, Will Smith follows Boris in order to save ‘K’ and the world from imminent destruction. The story line from Etan Cohen is based on the Lowell Cunningham comics and brilliantly set against the backdrop of 60s America so that we see the sense of culture and a changing society. The space race is in full swing and expression of art and colour shows across the fashion and revelation of Andy Warhol’s (Bill Hader) real place in history. A nice touch was also seeing David Rasche (Sledge Hammer) in a cameo as the Agent ‘X’. However the character of Griffin played by Michael Stuhlbarg is the character that steals your heart and connects the characters as an emphatic narrator taking you where you want to go. Sweet, sensitive and vulnerable, Stuhlbarg will remind you of a younger version of one the world’s greatest comedians.
While I saw this one as a 3D version of the movie I don’t think 3D will make or break the movie. The question everyone will ask is whether MIB3 has closed the book that had been badly left as a tragedy on the highway by MIB2 or whether it has opened the door for the next exciting episode.
Reviewed by: Andrew Pitchford