Men In Black 3

1997. Dolly the sheep was a thing. Princess Diana died in a car accident. The dog next door had puppies. And I was in grade 5 – I loved the Spice Girls and wanted to be a zoologist, and damnit, when Will Smith told me to slide in the Men In Black music video, I would slide my heart out.
 
It was a pretty great time for me, and a pretty great time for guilty pleasure type movies; Austin Powers; Face/Off; Anaconda; and most importantly, the first Men In Black. Little Grade 5 me loved the Men In Black movie – actually, you know what? I’m woman enough to tell you I still love it.
 
When I discovered they were making a third installment I was both excited and wary – it’s tricky to meet expectation when it’s mixed with that dangerous rosy-coloured ingredient, nostalgia. How are they going to manage it?
 
As it turns out, pretty well. 
 
The twist on this one is an element of time travel. Agent J wakes up one day to find that an old alien enemy has gone back to 1969 and erased Agent K from the present. Naturally, this ends up endangering the world – so Will Smith has to go back in time to set things right, save his partner and the planet. 
 
Thankfully, they leave this all very uncomplicated – so there’s no gaping time travel plot-holes to be found. They’re not trying to be clever with it – it is really just a way for them to make jokes about the 60s with its outdated technologies and racism, but also to have fun exploring the idea of a young K.
 
The main players are back – Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones directed by Barry Sonnenfeld – but they’ve added enough talented fresh blood to give it a renewed spark – namely Emma Thompson, Jemaine Clement and Michael Stuhlbarg… even though I’m a bit sad to see Rip Torn go. 
 
Burt Reynolds once said to me “Rip Torn is the most brilliant, self-destructive man I’ve ever met.” What is ol’ Rip up to, I wonder? Did he somehow offend the Men In Black powers that be?
 
Either way, we should just be glad that Lara Flynn Boyle and Johnny Knoxville haven’t made a reappearance.
 
The real winner here is Josh Brolin, who plays the 1960s version of Tommy Lee Jones. OH MY GOODNESS ALL CAPS NO PUNCTUATION TIME BECAUSE WHAT THE HELL
 
He is flawless. Just absolutely spot on. His impersonation of K is so convincing, I have to remind myself it is merely Brolin’s skill, not CGI and dubbed voice tracks. This movie needs to be seen because of that performance, it’s unbelievable.
 
The rest of the cast don’t disappoint either – Emma Thompson won me over with her alien language speech and Michael Stuhlbarg made me honestly “squee” because his Arcanian character was so cute. And thankfully the original chemistry is still there with Tommy Lee Jones, who made me want to hug curmudgeonly grandpas and Will Smith, who continues to be the loveliest man on the planet. 
 
I laughed at the Men In Blackisms, I was impressed with the acting and I didn’t feel bored – hang on, does this mean…? Did they do a good job with their threequel?!
 
Perhaps I’m biased, but to me they captured the essence of what I loved in the first Men In Black. It’s not a perfect film and I doubt it will make my top ten of 2012, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself – and isn’t that enough? As a popcorn sci-fi blockbuster, it was certainly enough for me. 
 
Men In Black III was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, written by Etan Cohen, and stars Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin. 
 
by Jenni Townsend
Check out Arts Mitten for more reviews and arts interviews

June 7th 2012
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