Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Men in Black 3

Men in Black 3 (2012) comes out fifteen years after the original, and ten years after the sequel. I imagine there's a good number of audiences for whom Men in Black 3 will be a totally new experience. Fortunately, the movie turns out to be a good place to start even if you haven't seen the first two.
Men in Black is a secret agency, lead by Agent O (Emma Thompson), assigned to monitor and suppress alien activity on Earth while keeping the populace ignorant of its happenings. After breaking out of a moon-based security prison, Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) decides to go back in time and eliminate the person who arrested him - Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). When he does so, Agent J (Will Smith) is the only one who has realized that the timeline has been changed and he too travels back to July 15, 1969, the day before Agent K is killed. After overcoming some disbelief, J manages to convince the younger Agent K (Josh Brolin) and others of just who he is and why he's there. With the help of a 5th dimensional being named Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) who can see all time lines, they track Boris down.  In the process J learns a well-hidden secret, something K had never told him.
Men in Black 3 features some wacky antics that made the first two movies so fun; combating undercover aliens in ironic situations with lots of funny cultural references. Will Smith acts like his wacky Will Smith self and Tommy Lee Jones acts like the grumpy, experienced older guy with some nearly imperceptibly subtle humor. There are moments of humorously illogical sci-fi reasoning such as Agent O deduces that there has been a fracture in the space-time continuum based on J's sudden insatiable craving for chocolate milk to ease his headaches. But the movie goes a bit further; the story is more complex than the previous movies and we've also got time travel escapades which are usually fun.
Most of the movie takes place in the 1960's, and the way they depicted the 60's was amazing. Yes, there are lots of extras in very convincing costumes that were contemporary of the time period, but the science fiction elements were made to look 60's-ish as well. In the present, the MiB's weapons and gadgetry looked sleek, sophisticated, and high-tech. In the 60's their weapons and gadgets looked more like the ray guns and gadgets from the original Star Trek, Lost in Space, and Flash Gordon TV shows. Even the aliens they meet resembled the oversized rubber-suit monsters from sci-fi horror movies of the 1960's. Not only was this funny, but it also gave and interesting method of setting development that was interesting to watch.
The acting in this movie was outstanding, especially on the part of Josh Brolin. He looks, sounds, and acts so much like an actual, younger version Tommy Lee Jones it is uncanny! I think it was a more impressive performance than Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a younger Bruce Willis in Looper. He captures Jones' voice and mannerisms so perfectly you can't help but assume that Josh Brolin will inevitably turn into Tommy Lee Jones sometime in the future. He also brought some new quirks to the character of Agent K; young K actually smiles once in awhile as if he is not yet jaded or world-weary as is his older counterpart.
Jemaine Clement plays the villain in this role. I totally didn't recognize him with the makeup job at all. Clement is a New Zealand musician and stars in a comedy TV show called Flight of the Concords. I've never actually seen it, but I did not see Clement in Boris the Animal at all. He plays a nasty villain with some weirdly funny, subtle, deadpan humor himself. He played a great villain and I'd love to see Clement in more acting gigs.
My favorite character was easily Griffin. He's this 5th dimensional being and the last of his species. With time travel stories there is often a sense of determinism and fate which lends to some pessimistic moods a lot of the time. Griffin is a combination of string theory and a zen master. He can see all possible outcomes, and is often frightened when things start going wrong, "Negative possibilities are multiplying as we speak!" But even though determinism is present in this time travel story, Griffin's character helps remind us that while we can't control everything, we always have the ability to make out own choices. That brought a sense of optimism to the movie.
Men in Black 3 had some plot holes in it, but it wasn't a bad movie. I enjoyed it for what it was. It was funny, exciting, wacky, and just plain fun. The movie has a great cast, excellent acting, fun characters, and a good plot. Watch out for funny little details in the background when you watch it; both Lady Gaga and Tim Burton appear on the Men in Black's monitors as suspected aliens. Men in Black 3 is an above average renter and possibly worth owning if you're a long time fan of Men in Black.

Do you like the Men in Black series? Which one is your favorite? Comment below and let me know!

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