Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Expected Fun Across The Space/Time Continuum
A glimpse into the bond forged between J & K makes Men In Black 3 a worthy sci-fi comedy with an emotional twist.
Arth Vader (AV): The ridiculous, laugh-out-loud funny world of Men in Black returns this summer with the latest installment, MIB3. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return to their roles as agents "K" & "J" respectively and bring us a surprisingly fun ride through time and space. Mindlessly fun and filled with fast-paced action that falls in step with it's predecessors, I really liked this one, Pontificator.
THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): I can’t say I’m surprised Vader. The Men in Black films come from comic books published by Marvel Comics. Although there are numerous changes from the books to the films including characters, tone, methods and going from all paranormal activity investigation (like X-Files) to just extraterrestrial situations, the films have been entirely consistent with each other, if not completely true to the original books.
CASTING & DIRECTING
AV: Director Barry Sonnenfeld has accomplished what is a difficult task for any director; keep a faltering franchise afloat–and relevant–to fickle movie-goers. And with a series that has an inconsistent amount of time between installments. Originally, this movie was slated for a 2011 release and then got pushed to December 2012. It makes sense to try and capture summer movie box office money and with a cast like this. Since it's opening weekend, it has already fared pretty well. The addition of Emma Thompson added a nice polished, comedic edge that felt seamless. The film's direction was fun and well paced, with the usual ridiculous-but-fun climatic hi-jinks. Your thoughts, Pontificator?
TP: Well Vader, this isn’t a movie made for the Oscar’s, but it did boast some very good actors, even if the content didn’t push them to their best performances. Will Smith delivered as expected from the first two films as did Tommy Lee Jones (although Jones ‘s role was extremely limited). The show stealer for me was Josh Brolin...doing a perfect movie-long impression of a young Tommy Lee Jones. Jemaine Clement was also very entertaining as Boris the Animal.The film had an even pace to it and the decision to bring the story full circle with the previous two movies was a good idea.
AV: The usual array of eye-dazzling visual effects were on tap for the third installment of this series and they have never looked better. Icky, gooey and a tad repulsive, the face-churning aliens and their liberal bodily-fluid-laced interactions with humans are as fun and stomach churning as ever. However, the real eye-opening SF/X treatment in this film, hands-down, is the time-travel accessed intro of the younger Agent K, stunningly portrayed by Josh Brolin. The voice-characterization of the older K (Lee-Jones) is hauntingly on-point. It is one of the movie's highlights and I dare say, alone is worth the price of admission.
TP: If there’s one aspect that can save a movie like this if the comedy isn’t getting the job done, it’s special effects. I expected them to be off-the-wall and a little zany, and was pleasantly surprised when they turned out to be very good. I was thoroughly disturbed early in the film with Boris the Animal's power, a testament to the special effects. The 3D was very well done (as always though, it comes as sporadic events) and jumped out of the screen at times. Of course many of the aliens could have been presented more realistically.... but I think that would have detracted from the whole “Men in Black” experience the filmmakers looked as though they were trying to capture.
TAKING A DEEPER LOOK:
AV: While I am not the biggest lover of the Men In Black franchise, this movie is easily my favorite of the three as it ties the series up nicely. The tear-jerking revelation behind the true nature of the two character's relationship and the film's many 'aha' moments are expertly complimented by the dialogue and effects shots. Though I couldn't tell you that you NEED to see this one in the theater, it is worth the admission price and it is a solid, fun time. And really, isn't that what all we want from our movies. P-Man?
TP: Even with today’s technology and some top notch talent, this film felt very dated to me V-Man. I enjoyed it well enough, but the funny parts just didn’t strike me as being the “funny” I remember from the first two films. At some point, you have to break new ground or the slapstick approach and one liners will eventually fall flat. The movie felt as though it belonged a few years after the second film, instead of the ten year hiatus the franchise took. The saving of this film came from the great character acting of Brodin, the occasional dazzle of the special effects...and a decent story that tied it all together in a nice package that made me think back to the first film.
AV: Quite frankly, as enjoyable as I found this movie, I think I'm kind of done with the Men In Black story. I have a 'been there-seen that' emotion for these movies now. I need new content, new experiences, new humor. Big Willie Style and Mr. Jones are a fun, offset comedy duo in the Odd Couple/Beverly Hills Cop persuasion but I (yawn!), quite frankly, have had my fill of this story. Sometimes, the best way to preserve the quality of a movie series or trilogy is to leave it the heck alone once the story has been told, wouldn't you say, Ponty? Also, the absence of end-credit content also implies a wrap up to me.
TP: We certainly agree here Arth. The actors are getting too old to make a sequel viable. Using Brodin in a time travel plot was a great idea, but now that it’s been done, there is no place else to take this. Besides, the completeness of the story and wrapping up of the franchise simply works best in this case. There is no need to drag MIB out... just let it be what it is.
ARTH VADER Rates Men In Black 3: For a good, wholesome, (mostly) family-friendly sci-fi foray this summer, you could do a whole lot worse than Men In Black 3. With creepy-crawly alien creatures at every turn, cool special effects a half-baked but totally fun story and an emotional twist that quite honestly I did NOT see coming, Men In Black 3 gets eight solid, chronologically displaced busted blocks and leaves me with a smile on my face.
THE PONTIFICATOR Rates Men In Black 3: I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as you did Vader. The film was fun, but not as much fun as it could have been had it come out years ago. The effects were nice, but not unique. The story was well done, but really the only road to travel in this case, especially to wrap it all up. Truthfully, if you applied the neuralyzer to me... I’d certainly forget this film only busted six blocks.