Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reel To Reel: Men In Black 3

Still hunting the original illegal aliens.

Going Rate: Worth matinee price.
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson
Rated: PG-13
Red Flags: Creepy alien violence, mild language, one gross make-out scene

Men In Black debuted in 1997, made a forgettable sequel in 2002, and now comes back with another go in 2012. Columbia Pictures and Amblin Entertainment (Steven Spielberg is executive producer) still see life in a stale franchise. Perhaps it's time to throw the reins to a new generation of space cops.

MIB3 does that, sorta, by prequeling while sequeling. Agents K (Jones) and J (Smith) are still chasing extraterrestrial baddies and erasing memories, but now J is having to do that in two different centuries. It turns out an alien super criminal, Boris "The Animal" (Clement), has just busted out of the supermax lockup on the moon. You could call him the original Spider-Man because he releases these insect-like creatures from the palm of his hand. I'd tell you more if it didn't make me nauseous.

Boris wants to kill K, who not only locked him up but also shot off one of his arms. Worse, Boris wants to do it retroactively -- time-traveling back to 1969, when they first tangled, but offing K before the agent can cuff him. The killer finds a way to do it, and suddenly J finds his partner is reduced to a memorial bust. Worse, the "ArcNet," an Earth-protecting shield, is gone. That was also K's idea.

So now J must get back to 1960's, save his partner, and save Earth from invasion. Remember that the next time you complain about your job. After going way back, he runs into a younger version of his partner, played perfectly by Josh Brolin. I wondered whether CGI, makeup effects, or dubbing enhanced Brolin's younger K. Nope, it's just good old-fashioned casting and performance. He mimics Jones to the letter.

I like how MIB3 moves along before it has a chance to get boring, although Smith's character wore me a bit thin at times. The film also throws another genuinely interesting creature at us, Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg), the lone survivor of an alien race who can see multiple future events at the same time. I'm not sure if he's somebody you'd want with you at the Vegas sports books.

MIB3 is better than it could've been, but it still seems dated, like a classic rock group getting back together for a reunion gig. I hear production on Ghostbusters 3 is moving forward with or without Bill Murray. If can be interesting as the Men In Black, it may have a chance.

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