Friday, January 4, 2013

Men in Black 3

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.
2012. Rated PG-13, 106 minutes.
Will Smith
Tommy Lee Jones
Josh Brolin
Jemaine Clement
Emma Thompson
Michael Stuhlbarg
Bill Hader
Nicole Scherzinger

Agent J (Smith) and Agent K (Jones) are still chasing intergalactic baddies that commit their crimes here on Earth. Boris the Animal (Clement), just Boris if you ask him, is one such villain that K locked up way back in 1969, costing Boris his arm in the process. He’s so bad, a special prison was built for him on the moon. After all these years, Boris escapes. Of course, he wants revenge on the man who put him away. However, he doesn’t want just regular old retribution. In Terminator fashion, he decides to go back in time and kill K before the arrest or loss of his arm. Obviously, a different outcome in that situation will drastically alter the course of human history. After Boris’ apparent success, it’s up to Agent J to also travel back in time and rescue his partner.

All the familiar tenets of the franchise are present. We have the exotic creatures, though fewer than in the previous films, and the special fx that come with that. We also have the save the world urgency. Most prevalent is the foundation the franchise is built upon: the funny banter between our two main characters. It is based on their differences and has proven to be a winning (i.e., profitable) formula.

This time around there is a twist in that formula. When J goes back in time, he encounters a younger and happier version of Agent K played by Josh Brolin. Brolin is a fine actor in his own right. Here, he apes Jones perfectly and the powers that be were wise enough to use Jones’ voice to help create a fun performance.

Honestly, there’s not much else to Men in Black 3. It is the result of the director faithfully following a recipe. Nothing is done that might alter the dish. The one major wrinkle is the involvement of Brolin, but even that’s about as safe a choice as possible. If there is another it’s advancing the idea of multiple dimensions co-existent as alternates of one another, but even that’s not terribly revolutionary. The important thing is that it’s an enjoyable entrée. Every frame is indeed lightweight, but it is fun. Suffice it to say if you like the first two movies in the series, you’ll probably like this one.

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