A couple of weeks ago, I got lucky and won a couple of passes for a screening of Men in Black 3 for today, and I wasn’t about to let that opportunity pass me by. So, today’s movie review is Men in Black 3. The sci-fi film from Columbia Pictures – rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and brief suggestive content – stars Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Emma Thompson. The film is the third in the very spaced out Men in Black film series, with the first one in 1997, and the second one in 2002. I think the first film was spectacular; the second one, not so much – although it did have Rosario Dawson going for it, which is nice. Anyway, I had mixed feelings about this film; it could either sink or swim, but then it managed to find a third point; however, before I get into that, let’s get into the review.
The movie opens in Lunar Max prison, a very special prison on the moon for a very special prisoner. A woman named Lily (Nicole Scherzinger) is coming to bring a cake for a prisoner known only as Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), a one-armed alien in maximum security. If anyone knows anything about prisoners and cake, then you should know that nothing good will come of that cake. This holds true for this scenario as well, as an alien buried in the cake helps Boris escape, killing guards and prisoners alike. Boris manages to make his great escape and is coming for the man responsible for him losing his arm and ending up in prison: Agent K. Meanwhile, in New York City, Agents J (Will smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) are having a bit of a row. Seems like K is keeping secrets from J, and the latter is not thrilled about that at all. After a particularly rough patch, in which K meets up with Boris, J finally gets out the fact that K regrets not killing him when he had the chance. The next day, J goes to MIB Headquarters, only to find out that the agent he knew as K died 40 years ago. Agent O (Emma Thompson) – the new head of MIB – tasks J to go back to 1969 to save K’s life. Along the way, J not only meets up with a much younger K (Josh Brolin), but he also meets a precognitive alien (Michael Stuhlbarg) who knows a whole lot more about both of their futures than he lets on.
Now, what did I like about this movie? Well, even though it’s a tired trope, I liked the fish out of water experience with J being in the late 60s. The first time he meets someone is played very well for laughs, as is his first encounter with the authorities back then. I absolutely loved Josh Brolin as a younger version of K; his impression of Tommy Lee Jones is spot-on; he even carried himself like the elder actor. The set pieces were nice as well, and you could tell that they really put a lot of work and effort into not only recreating the swinging 60s, but also creating a version of MIB Headquarters that looks like one would expect it to back then before morphing into the Apple Store it currently looks like.
What didn’t I like about this movie? Well, I thought some of the special effects were a bit bland. Not the alien effects; those were spectacular. The actual CGI looked a bit boring to me, but that may be because I’m still looking at it through Marvel-colored lenses. I didn’t really care for the present-day Boris, either. Seems like he went through a whole lot just to get revenge on somebody; but, I can’t really relate, because I’m not in that predicament. I also didn’t see the need for Nicole Scherzinger. Not her character, mind; I’m talking about her being in the movie to begin with. She brought nothing at all to the table, in my opinion. Maybe sex appeal, but they could’ve gotten anyone to pull that off.
The movie brings back Barry Sonnefeld and Danny Elfman as director and composer, respectively. Sonnefeld actually directed part of this movie without a completed script, which may explain why parts of it seem to be disjointed. The bland score from someone of Elfman’s character doesn’t help matters, either. It just felt like a bit of a hodgepodge movie instead of a fluid one.
While I was standing in line waiting for them to let us in the theater, I tweeted out, “I bet this damn thing is gonna be in 3D. If it is, I’m knocking my rating down just on general principle.” And, it was. I wear glasses, so I’m automatically predisposed to hate 3D. This isn’t really going to help this movie much. If it were The Avengers, then it would’ve survived just based on the sheer awesome of the movie itself. This? This ain’t no Avengers. This is Two Times More Epic than Love Jones. Don’t spend your money on it; just wait. Even in 3D, it’s really not worth it.
I’d rather be neuralyzed instead.