Review: Men In Black 3 / Cert: PG / Director: Barry Sonnenfeld / Screenplay: Etan Cohen, Lowell Cunningham / Starring: Will Smith, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Tommy Lee Jones, Emma Thompson / Release Date: November 5th
In 1997, Barry Sonnenfeld directed the original MIB, a fun sci-fi romp that teamed streetwise NYPD cop J (Smith) with grizzled defender of the earth K (Jones). It was a fantastical creation, giving us a tongue in cheek insight to a shady government agency that has been on the lips of conspiracy theorists since the Roswell incident of 1947. The 2002 sequel was a bit of a mis-step, failing to capture the essence of the original but hopes were high that this entry into the series would recreate the entertainment value of the series debut.
When a time travelling alien, Boris the Animal (Clement) goes back to the ‘60s to kill K and resultantly stop the MIB creating a global defence system, therefore enabling his race to mount a full scale invasion in present day, J pops back to the decade of flower power to try and save the day. Teaming up with a younger version of K (Brolin), they must thwart Boris’ plan and ensure the survival of the human race.
Whilst MIB3 is nowhere near as irritating as its predecessor, there are a number of issues. Boris makes an interesting and potentially nasty adversary, but in order to keep the PG rating, his evil abilities are mostly left unfulfilled – there is a real body horror element that would have David Cronenberg dancing on the ceiling. The time travel element has its flaws in logic and storytelling, as it always does. Jones and Thompson (playing Agent O) are given minimal screen time due to the fact that the majority of the running length is set in the past, although to be fair it is starting to look like Jones really should consider a second MIB retirement.
The good news is that Brolin channels an almost flawless impression of a younger K, before he became so cynical. Smith is his usual affable self, still playing for laughs and mugging for the camera. The aliens, especially the ‘60s versions, are brilliantly visualised, enabled as always by the work of Rick Baker.
But there’s something missing. Maybe the camaraderie of Smith and Jones from the first film was the proverbial lightening in a bottle and the writer and director just can’t seem to put their finger on that special mixture. In these fiscally frugal times, perhaps it is time to cut the governmental budget of the MIB and close them down for good.
Extras: Gag Reel, Partners in Time - The Making of MIB3, 'Back in Time' Music Video by Pitbull