Cert: PG Runtime: 106 mins Director: Barry Sonnenfeld Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson, Michael Stuhlbarg and Nicole Scherzinger
Is there anybody here who is NOT an alien?
A decade away from the movie scene has given the Men In Black series a chance at a fresher, newer perspective. Taking its cue from Shrek Forever After, MIB 3 takes on a tired concept (time travel in this case) if only to acknowledge the failure of its dull sequel and take us back to a different era allowing us to view the franchise from an unsullied angle. The result is a film that returns to its roots and gives audiences the chance to relive much of what they first enjoyed – a smart, sci-fi, buddy comedy that embraces everything weird and wonderful about the unknown universe.In his first cinematic role in nearly 4 years, Will Smith’s Agent J is the usual charming, witty wiseass we expect him to be.It is really hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the last Men in Black film.In this film, a vicious alien villain known as Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) escapes from his prison on the moon, where he had been locked up since being arrested by Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) back in 1969. One day, Agent K disappears from the present day. His partner Agent J (Will Smith) realizes that K had been assassinated by Boris forty years ago, which caused a major change of events, allowing Boris’ alien race to overrun the Earth. J had to find a way to travel back in time to 1969 in order to save K and rectify the tragic consequences of his death. Can J save K and in turn save the Earth from the clutches of Boris?
This makes up more than its share of laughs and inside jokes that continue in the same spirit from the earlier films, even poking fun at the racial divide of the time, which provided a fair challenge for Jay as he meets up with the younger Kay (Josh Brolin) who has to be convinced that his new found friend is his partner from the future, and have to work together to rein in the 1969 version of Boris the Animal. Tommy Lee Jones made way for Josh Brolin to own the character of Jay, and in truth Brolin does a remarkable job of closely mimicking Jones, aptly adding a lot more to the back story of the legendary MIB who has his fair share of one liners, but being a little bit less stern than Jay had grown accustomed to.Characterization also got pushed to the forefront with a deeper exploration into each of Jay and Kay’s characters, backgrounds and their friendship, and this helped the film tremendously, instead of being a mediocre effort relying solely on the actors charisma and washing everything down in CG glory. There are still some surprises from the effects kept under wraps from the trailers, so that’s a good thing, and I suppose much of the graphics work went into recreating 60s USA, as well as earlier, more cumbersome versions of tools of the trade that MIB uses back then. Alien designs also got a spruce up, looking far more menacing, and disgusting even, with Boris the Animal possessing and using deadly force that I’m rather surprised at for a PG rated film.
Will Smith shows that he hasn’t lost his edge and still has what it takes, even after being absent from the big screen for some 4 years now (Seven Pounds and Hancock were his last outing in 2008), and still comes off as a natural, and likable as Agent Jay, with a lot more polish as an MIB veteran as compared to when he got first recruited. Tommy Lee Jones got only a supporting role this time round, with Josh Brolin left responsible to carry the role of the younger K for the most parts of the film. The Smith-Brolin pairing was also a winner, though likely to be one off only for this movie, but you can guess how any sequel made after this could go – either to continue with Smith-Jones in the current timeline, or having Brolin helm his own, partnering another Agent in adventures set in the past. And joining the cast in prominent, though limited roles, include the likes of Emma Thompson as Agent O, taking over as the new MIB Chief with the passing of Zed, Alice Eve playing the younger O, and both Michael Stuhlbarg and Mike Colter adding depth to the MIB mythos.Still, with every time travel movie, there are paradoxes that have to be consciously ignored for everything to work. While some aspects work in having being explained away, others necessary and crucial to the plot become glaringly obvious, especially in the finale where it showed some shades of similarity from A Chinese Odyssey. But all is forgiven for something canonical to be added to the adventures of the MIB, providing audiences with new appreciation for the leading MIBs Jay and Kay, rather than to rely on louder and bigger explosions for the sake of keeping up with the summer Joneses. MIB3 is a clear winner, and worthy of what the previous two films had already set up.