"Men in Black III" Movie Review
Independent Films, Movie Reviews, Film Profiles
“Men in Black” takes a cue from “Back to the Future” for the franchise’s third installment. This one’s a time-traveling romp and I’m happy to report that it’s a journey worth taking.
“Men in Black III” was plagued with production problems namely script rewrites and reshoots. I had no faith for the threequel but to my amazement, my doubts were erased just like how the movie’s neuralyzer would.
The villain of the film is Boris the Animal played by Jemaine Clement (“The Flight of the Conchords,” “Dinner for Schmucks”). He’s the last of the Boglodites out for revenge. Clement fully embodies the character and gives our heroes a bad guy worth fighting against.
Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
The first ten minutes of the movie explain the relationship between Boris and Agent K (the affecting Tommy Lee Jones). The villain is out to get Agent K even if he has to travel back in time.
At the heart of the movie is the unsteady partnership of Agent K and Agent J (Will Smith). The older man in black is mean and ornery and never incites a conversation with his younger counterpart. What happened to Agent K in the past? Why is he so miserable?
The biggest ingredient any time-traveling movie must have is satisfying the “what could have been” and “what should have been” subplots. Much like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Carol,” our hero must experience the past in order to correct the future.
Without revealing too much, “Men in Black III” captures the bittersweet element of going back in time. We now know why Agent K is eternally grouchy and why he picked Agent J to be his partner.
The entire cast is game to play along with this fun and inventive ride. Jones is able to inject emotions to his aging, beleaguered character. When Boris warns him, “You’re already dead,” your heart will sink with Agent K.
Smith, who looks like he traveled back in time to still look like a fresh Hollywood prince, is the counterbalance of Jones’ pathos. He jokes and spouts one liners, and takes us along for the ride. We see the entire adventure unfold through his sunglass-covered eyes.
Josh Brolin, who plays the young Agent K in 1969, channels Jones to a T. Every drawl and y’all are uttered in homage to his character’s future self. Emma Thompson joins the cast as the new head of the MIB. Her character is not meaty enough to be worthy of the actress but her presence is felt.
My favorite among the new cast is the scene-stealing Michael Stuhlbarg (“A Serious Man”) as Griffin. He’s a nervous alien who can see multiple realms and is a benefit to both our heroes and Boris the Animal.
Etan Cohen is credited for the script and for a production marred with problems, the film’s simple yet effective screenplay is almost a miracle. The film even makes an attempt at social history when J, an African-American, suffers racism back in 1969.
Barry Sonnenfeld returns to direct the franchise for the third time and he brings along the franchise’s trademark zaniness. The cinematography and production design are commendable but you don’t have to watch this in 3D. The story supercedes the visual effects so 3D glasses are not required.
Yes, Lady Gaga makes a brief but underwhelming appearance so save your applause instead for a 1960s cultural icon. I will not reveal the character’s identity but I like the twist given to the legend.
“Men in Black III” is definitely better than the second chapter. It’s a perfect popcorn film that effectively mixes sci-fi magic and heart. Neuralyzer is definitely not needed.
RATING: “MEN IN BLACK III” GETS 3 KISSES
Year of Production: 2012
Country: United States