Men in Black III
Silly, lightweight, completely unnecessary but surprisingly fun
In these times of austerity Hollywood seems scared of originals ideas. Studios demand ‘brand recognition’ before they’ll stump up the multi-million dollar budgets blockbusters require. And they seem willing to latch onto almost any brand, from comics to remakes to boardgames, in the hope that people will already have some warm and fuzzy distant memory associated with their current product.
Which is exactly why we find Men in Black resurrected 10 years after the last disappointing instalment. It’s not exactly a sequel the world was clamouring for but there’s still something vaguely comforting about seeing Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones slipping back into the black suits and shades before heading out to police the world’s alien population. Their chalk and cheese chemistry was the backbone of the previous two films and it remains the core of the MIB experience. It’s also nice to see Smith back doing what he does best; he’s always been a natural and charismatic comedian.
The storyline is almost irrelevant, something about going back in time to change the past to save Agent K (Jones) and the world. There are a few plot holes with the whole time travel concept but what really matters is that once we arrive in 1969 Josh Brolin seamlessly steps into Jones’ shoes as the younger K, adding a much needed touch of class and some killer comic timing with a spot on impersonation of Jones’ no nonsense gruffness. It also gives our heroes a chance to muck around with Andy Warhol, the moon landings and even a couple of gentle comments on the state of race relations in the 60s. Another big plus is Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement playing the villainous Boris the Animal in ridiculously grandiose fashion.
Overall it’s business as usual with our heroes zapping bystanders' memories, killing aliens in showers of goo and saving the world. Smith’s verbal sparring with Jones, and subsequently Brolin, is nearly always sparkly and frequently very funny. Barry Sonnenfeld certainly knows how to pace a family mega movie that will appeal to all ages, your eyes are never bored particularly with the fantastically inventive alien designs by Rick Baker (that take on a wonderfully retro feel once we arrive in the past). Silly, lightweight, completely unnecessary but surprisingly fun.