Okay, giving Movie Maker a break so I can write this one. Men In Black is one of those movies that just takes me back and it seemed to have just the right balance of everything. The humor was great, the performances were spot on, the effects were impressive and it didn't overstay its welcome (by the time the final climax rolls around, it only feels like you're 45 minutes in). All in all, Men In Black kicked ass and had it not come out the same year as The Lost World: Jurassic Park, it probably would've been my favorite movie of 1997. Five years later and we get the sequel, Men In Black II, which was a total mess. The effects were sub-par, the humor was obnoxious if not non-existant and when Rosario freakin' Dawson can't save your movie in my eyes, you know you're doing something wrong! Suffice to say, when Men In Black III was announced, I was fairly indifferent about it. Sure, I'd watch it, but after Men In Black II, there was NO WAY I was seeing this one in theatres. No siree.
Well, a friend of ours loaned us an advance copy of this movie so we could watch it in the comfort of our own home without paying for it. So how was it? Well, I want to get the most blatant thing out of the way: Men In Black III was better than Men In Black II. I understand that achieving that particular feat may not be that hard but at least I can rest easy knowing that I've told you people that. The story of Men In Black III follows the miraculously aging-resistant Agents K (Tommy Lee Jones) and J (Will Smith) as they find out that an alien super criminal named Boris The Animal (Tim Cur-uh, I mean Jermaine Clement...yeah, the guy with glasses from Flight Of The Concords) has escaped from the lunar prison designed specifically for him. K admits that he should've killed Boris when he had the chance. When J tries to question further into the story, K suspends him to...I dunno. When J goes to talk to him the next day, he finds that K's apartment is occupied by a single mother of three. Also, J has an oddly spontaneous craving for chocolate milk. When J begins asking around, he's told that K has been dead for 40 years and that Earth will soon be under invasion by Boris' race, whom J read the night before that they were extinct. J tracks down a tech guy who sold Boris a time-traveling device the other night and is given the same thing, just as Boris' race arrives and begins laying waste to the major cities of the world (very Mass Effect 3-y). J jumps back in time to the day before Agent K (now Josh Brolin) was killed. Despite the fact that the tech guy said that J has to stay away from K, they end up working together to stop not one, but two Boris' from destroying the world.
Alright, so the plot sounds like the episode of the animated series "The Head Trip Syndrome," where J tinkers with alien technology and becomes immune to the changes of the space-time continuim around him. That's okay, because the animated series was great and having a time travel theme is somewhat fan servicing of itself. There's definitely good things about MIB3, no doubt. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith fit perfectly back into their roles that they haven't touched in 10 years and as I mentioned earlier, haven't aged a day since the last movie. Jermaine Clement hides himself so well that I was 100% convinced that it was actually Tim Curry playing Boris. I don't know if it was some kind of electronic effect or if he was able to do that himself with his voice, but rest assured if Tim Curry ever dies, Jermaine Clement can fill in for him because he sounded and acted just like him in this movie. The same can be said for Josh Brolin as a younger Tommy Lee Jones, spot on impression and very entertaining all around. Sadly, there's no Agent Z (Rip Torn) or Frank The Pug in this movie, although in MIB2, Frank kinda overstayed his welcome, much like The Worm Guys.
Oooo, shiny. Anyway, MIB3 turned out to be that break in my string of films watched as of late where I watched a movie that I didn't REALLY like. Don't get me wrong, MIB3 was enjoyable but overall it ranks as a mere "okay." The first little bit of the film did feel too much like...like...it's like its been wiped from my mind, but you guys probably know what I mean, although it wasn't nearly as obnoxious this time around. When the film introduces this prophet-esque character Griffin that can see multiple universes at the same time, I had a hard time following his babbling, leading me to wonder what universe we were actually in. The past bits were more entertaining than the present ones, but this movie still didn't capture the entertainment value of the first one and with the wideish time window between films, I can't help but wonder if this movie was made more as a cash grab and less of a "hey, you know what the public wants? Another Men In Black movie." I'm honestly glad I didn't see this one in the theatre because I'm not convinced it would've been worth the trip. If you're feeling ambitious, check it out. If not, stick with the first Men In Black film because you're not missing anything extravagant.
One last thing I wanna point out is the involvement of 3D. My feelings on 3D have been expressed time and time again and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I've gotta mention it here. Men In Black III was clearly filmed for 3D instead of being converted in post production and that really hurts the movie special effects wise when you watch it in 2D. The worst ones are during the climax of the film during the shuttle launch and it's hard to immerse yourself in the movie when everything around the actors looks like a really bad green screen effect. It boggles me that with the special effects technology available today that we can raise the Titanic (only to sink it again), have shapeshifting cybernetic lifeforms change their looks right before your eyes, bring the damn dinosaurs back to life and create worlds we never even knew existed (as a start), yet we can't polish shots of a movie from 3D to 2D to make them more convincing? I sincerely hope that someone in the effects business is working on this because if most, possibly all, genre movies are going to be made with 3D in their future, then the conversion process REALLY needs work because not everyone is going to see a made-for-3D movie in that format. Shouldn't a film look just as good at home as it did in the theatre? If this issue isn't addressed, then I see a future where films with very bleak special effects crowd our DVD shelves because someone couldn't be bothered to make sure that a film looked impressive and fluent in all available formats instead of focusing on just the one. That'd be a damn shame and you know it.