MIB3 is a fine outing in the series and helps put the lackluster sequel in the rear view mirror and with the addition of Josh Brolin, really injected life into a relatively aging franchise. The script, interestingly enough, despite having three screenwriters (at least), was fairly coherent. I don’t think this is a great film and might not quite measure up to the first movie, but it’s still entertaining. Even so, the movie is still a lot of fun.
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Comedy
Sony | PG13 – 106 min. – $55.99 | November 30, 2012
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer(s): Lowell Cunningham (comic book); Etan Cohen (written by), Jeff Nathanson (rewrites), David Koepp (rewrites)
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson
Theatrical Release Date: May 25, 2012
Features: Featurettes, Gag Reel, Music Video, DVD Copy, UltraViolet
Number of Discs: 3
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 45.9 GB (3D BD), 42.0 GB (2D BD)
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
When Men in Black was released back in 1997, Will Smith was a star on the rise thanks to 1996’s summer blockbuster Independence Day and his success went on from there with hits in Enemy of the State, I Robot and Hitch, though he did have more than a few stumbles like Wild Wild West and Men in Black II which, at least for me, was a rousing failure; a film which oozed laziness from a lame plot to a running time that clocked in at a paltry 88 minutes (less without credits). It took 12 years but Sony and director Barry Sonnenfeld attempted to rectify the situation and Men in Black 3, while hardly great, was entertaining and at least made me forget about its lazy predecessor.
MiB3 opens at a Super Max prison on the moon housing the worst of the worst on this side of the galaxy including Boris the Animal (JEMAINE CLEMENT), a one-armed maniac chained up for unspeakable crimes. Enter Boris’ groupie/girlfriend, Lily Poison (NICOLE SCHERZINER aka lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls) with a birthday cake which the guards foolishly allow in not thinking for a second that it could contain something dangerous… Well, there is and it’s some organic creature which easily takes out the guards, unchains Boris and then melds right into his hand (don’t ask, the movie doesn’t fully explain). Boris easily overpowers the remaining army of guards by breaching the walls opening up to the outer space, to which everyone, hot girlfriend included, gets sucked out. Boris jumps out onto the moon surface and reveals his intent on turning back time.
After that opening, we get the title sequence and lengthy credits, and finally are re-introduced to our main characters, J (WILL SMITH) and K (TOMMY LEE JONES) who are still battling bad aliens on Earth and neuralize any witnesses on the scene, though it begs the question that their actions throughout the film, in 2012, is hard to sweep under the rug very easily. In any case, J and K are still a bickering couple with J wanting to know how K became the way he is (i.e. silent and guarded). At MIB headquarters we learn that Zed has passed away and is replaced by O (EMMA THOMPSON), who has some history with K. After an overlong, but funny enough, eulogy, we get back to business as K discovers Boris is back on Earth yet insists it’s his battle and that J needs to stay out of it. Of course, J won’t do such a thing and while he tries to dig into K’s and Boris’ past, the file is restricted.
Meanwhile, Boris lays his hands on a time travel device and enacts his master plan: to go back to 1969, kill K and allow an invasion of his species, the Boglodites whose key to survival is feeding off of other planets which was stopped when K deployed a device called the ArcNet Shield, but now with K out of the way, the invasion can happen.
Back in the present, K is at home waiting for Boris when he suddenly vanishes. The next day, J awakens and goes to MIB headquarters but now has a new partner (cameo by WILL ARNETT) and O reveals that K has been dead for over 40 years. Now J gets his hands on a time travel device which is used by jumping off a tall building and must return within 24 hours or else be stuck in 1969 forever!
J manages to land in 1969 to a different era and eventually catches the eye of a younger K (JOSH BROLIN) and after some persuasion – and narrowly being neuralized with a big ass machine – together try to stop not only the 2012 Boris but his 1969 counterpart as well and once again reestablish the ArcNet Shield as well as save K’s life and bring things back to normal in 2012.
After the lackluster Men in Black 2, it’s nice to see the series get back on track with an entertaining installment which has some decent visual effects (though a few scenes come off a bit wonky) and fairly innovative as far as time travel plots go. This is pretty surprising given the fact that the filmmakers didn’t even have a completed script when they went into production and had to take a break until the screenwriters (first Jeff Nathanson, then David Koepp) finished some key rewrites. At first I thought this would lead to a mess of a film, and indeed the time travel part itself is a bit confusing, but in the end it still looks like a coherent film.
As far as the acting is concerned, Will Smith and, especially, Tommy Lee Jones goes through the motions but given they’ve played these characters twice before, don’t really offer anything new. As one might imagine, the brightest spot is Josh Brolin not only doing a fantastic impersonation of Jones’ K, but also brings his own style to the role making it his own yet believable that both his and Jones are the same person separated by four decades. If only they could bring Brolin back as a permanent replacement, that certainly would reinvigorate the series for another couple installments.
MIB3 is a fun third installment that doesn’t get too bogged down, or confusing, in the time travel aspects and instead offers up a fully entertaining experience. The visual effects aren’t half bad and Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin fill their roles quite nicely. If you’re like me and were disappointed in the last outing, then give this one a shot, it puts the series back on track and on better footing for maybe one more sequel.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
This release comes with a lenticular slip cover and the discs housed in a thick Blu-ray case. Inside is an UltraViolet download code and standard def DVD Copy.
Spot the Alien Game – This is similar to the target practice in the first movie where you have to hit the alien while missing fellow agents and friends. I have no idea why they placed this feature first…
Partners in Time: The Making of MIB3 (26:24; HD) is relatively in-depth (more so than most) featurette that has behind-the-scenes footage intermixed with cast/crew interviews where they talk about working with one another.
The Evolution of Cool: MIB 1960’s vs. Today (11:14; HD) goes into designing the 1960s and current era from the sets, props to the color palette.
Keeping it Surreal: The Visual FX of MIB 3 (10:26; HD) delves into the visual effects of the movie which is pretty interesting to see the comparisons on how they were developed.
Scene Investigations (17:25; HD) checks out the progression of four scenes and how they were shot.
Progression Reels (17:37; HD) allows you to see how the effects were done on various scenes and even the trailer.
Also included is a Gag Reel (3:54; HD) and “Back in Time” Music Video (3:34; HD).
Previews – The Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall (2012)
The 3D Disc also includes The Case of Boris the Animal: The 3D Models of MIB 3 and Converting to 3D (1:31; HD) featurette.
VIDEO – 4.25/5
MiB3 comes to Blu-ray presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and sporting a nice 1080p high-definition transfer. Colors look relatively vibrant, especially since it was shot for 3D, and the detail levels also look great. Black levels are also impressive never showing off any artifacting or pixilation.
The 3D transfer here has good sense of depth throughout most scenes from Smith’s time jump to more casual scenes between J and K (both young and old). There’s a few of those in your face shots that most directors utilize to show off 3D but it’s fairly minimal. It’s not the best 3D Blu-ray yet it’s still decent enough.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track offered up sound crisp and throughout. The dialogue, mainly coming from the center speaker, sounds clear while the action elements, for which there’s plenty from beginning to end, makes good use of the other channels with even dispersion from one speaker to the other. This is near-reference quality and nothing short of amazing.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, MIB3 is a fine outing in the series and helps put the lackluster sequel in the rear view mirror and with the addition of Josh Brolin, really injected life into a relatively aging franchise. The script, interestingly enough, despite having three screenwriters (at least), was fairly coherent. I don’t think this is a great film and might not quite measure up to the first movie, but it’s still entertaining. Even so, the movie is still a lot of fun for the whole family (well, maybe 12 and up). The Blu-ray itself is on the disappointing side with regards to the features but the audio and video transfers are impressive.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.