dir: Barry Sonnenfeld
And the world keeps on spinning, thanks to the Men in Black who keep us safe from the decent films in the multiplex. Sorry, I meant safe from the scum of the universe. It seems like I'm saying every few reviews that such-and-such movie is unnecessary, especially when it's a prequel - sequel - new installment in a fifteen part series, and MIB3 is unnecessary, but then let's not get too hoity-toity about this whole cinema business. None of them are really that necessary, let's face it. In this cruel, brutish world they're philosophically the equivalent of whipped cream out of a can or those tiny yapping dogs idiots are sometimes shown carrying around in their handbags.
And yet I love them. Movies that is. Films in all their glory.
Whilst I'd label MIB3 even more unnecessary than most movies, it was not an entirely wasted experience. Sure, it was a waste of money, in all senses of the word, and perhaps of the time spent watching it would have been better spent punching oneself in the urethra, but I did not hate this film completely. I could almost say that I enjoyed several bits of it.
Truly. Bits. Here or there. Overall it's a ludicrous absurdity whose sole purpose is to shovel more money to the Church of Scientology through Will Smith's paycheck, but I did not hate all of it.
Also, it was only after watching it that the sheer stupidity of the plot hit me. Before that fateful moment (a picosecond after the credits commenced rolling), I sat there mostly with a leotarded grin on my face without the benefit of alcohol in my system.
The main reason I enjoyed it, I think, is simply that Jemaine Clement was in it, of Flight of the Concords fame. No, that's not really enough to justify not hating it. Um, Will Smith is as arrogant and shouty as ever? Nah, still not enough. Josh Brolin does a really good Tommy Lee Jones?
Well, I don't rightly know. Truth is, had my mood been even slightly less 'up' than it was, I would have hated this flick and every motherfucker in it with a red hot passion that would frighten a young Henry Rollins, who used to be entirely powered by hate back in his earlier days. As it was, I was able to kick back and 'enjoy' it for what it was: a big budget piece of fluff.
This has been a rough summer (well, winter, from Austalia's perspective) cinema-wise. The budgets get bigger yet the thrills get duller. Avengers delivered, but mostly because of the humour, and because of the perplexing goodwill built-up with all those Iron Captain Thor flicks. There aren't really that many of the so-called 'tent pole' summer flicks that have been that great thus far.
They're all in 3D, as if life itself isn't in 3D, they're all very loud and explodey, and they're really not that satisfying unless they have giant robots in them or lesbian vampire werewolves or some such.
I think the 'summer' will end once Dark Knight Rises rocks around, and until then these perplexing empty big budget flicks will keep popping up only to be forgotten weeks later. No-one's going to even remember that there was a MIB3 in three weeks time.
I never knew it was that bankable as a franchise, but Will Smith is The Most Powerful Star in Hollywood and Astronomy, and everything he touches turns to money, so why wouldn't they make this?
Do you think they waited this long because they wanted to get the script juuuuuuuust right? Or do you think they just thought, "hey, let's make some serious money"?
Smith plays Agent J, Jones plays Agent K, and Brolin plays a younger K, this being a plot predicated on time travel. J keeps acting like he's pissed off when he should just be grateful that he's such a squillionaire despite the fact that he's still just playing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and there is tension between the two partners. Probably over who gets paid more and why.
Their job is to make quips while arguing, get covered in alien slime, and prevent the destruction of the world, like in all the other flicks, and even the change in plot dynamics doesn't change the essential story. This is an improvement on the second film, but not really by enought to justify continuing trips to the well. But who are we to complain? We're the lowing cattle who stampede in regardless of that tiny portion of our brains desperately trying to get our attention to remind us that it's all a waste of time, money and lifespan. We only have so many hours left, people!
The opening was fairly solid, in that it was pretty funny, and made no sense, but that's not meant to matter. A busty woman appears at a prison where the guards are really, really stupid. It seems that the guards are terrified of the prisoner she is here to visit, but they're still happy to let her see him, as she clutches a pink, wobbling cake. Now, none of this seemed too much of a problem until the reveal that the prison's on the moon.
The prisoner, Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), is so dangerous that he's been locked up for forty years on the moon, and yet they're letting his 'girlfriend' come into his hypermax security moon jail with a cake?
They needed some way to get him loose and back on earth as the Big Bad, so I guess the means is irrelevant compared to the ends. This kind of goofy thinking is endemic to these films, and though they're sci-fi flicks, and they're certainly too violent to be children's flicks, they only really make sense as kids films because they have kid film logic appended to them.
Is it too obvious to call them live-action cartoons? I don't mind cartoons, and I guess Will Smith's ears and constant mugging are appropriate for the format. He looks like the kind of cartoon character The Church of Scientology would create to put in self-produced cartoons promoting the wit and wisdom of L. Ron Hubbard. Fear Xenu!
Back on earth, Boris wants to, um, go back in time and change history by killing K. Thusly, once that happens, Will Smith has to travel back to 1969 in order to save K, save Earth and kill Boris. It's also all connected to the first moon landing in some ludicrous way which also magically saved the entirety of earth from invasion by Boris's people.
It's all goofy, but the scenes I really liked, and thought were pretty smart / sharp, was the manner in which J goes back in time. Visually, having to take a leap off of the Chrysler Building, and showing the building and surrounds shifting through time was quite inspired. Far more inspired than most of the rest of the flick, although they do a pretty reasonable job throughout for a confection so sugary and artificial. The trip to the past leads to another semi inspired trip to Warhol's Factory, where they make some other revelations about the past.
Part of the fun of these MIB movies is the 'revelation' of people in our dumb planet's past or present who are secretly aliens. The first one showed that Michael Jackson and Sylvester Stallone were under surveillance at all times, for the obvious reasons. I don't think it's any of a spoiler to mention that in this one they put Lady Gaga up on those surveillance screens, which shows, if nothing else does, just how lazy and unnecessary these flicks are.
If I liked anything else in the flick, apart from how good and theoretically funny Josh Brolin is as Tommy Lee Jones, it was the strange character played by Michael Stuhlbarg who is an alien who can simultaneously see all the probabilities and possible paths of a given moment, now and into the future. How fucking convenient is that? And why is he dressed like the retarded son from Gigli?
I'll let you discover the reasons and joys of it all by yourself. It flew by at a reasonable pace, and was comical and action-y enough to (barely) justify its existence. Like a Transformers movie or a Jennifer Aniston flick, format dictates function and such flicks don't really have the capacity to surprise.
If there's a surprise, it's that it wasn't completely awful, and that's got to count for something. I’m predisposed to finding virtually everything Jemaine does hilariously awesome, so I’m not sure if he was the best part of the film (which is dubious, because he is absent for long, painful stretches of the flick) or not, but I don’t care. For future reference, he stole the film from these other hams.
No, officer, I didn't watch it in 3D. I don't need to see Jones's craggy face or Smith's ginormous ears in extra dimensions, thanks very much.
This universe is a wild and wacky place, apparently where we're always at the mercy of random chaos threatening to destroy us at a moment's notice. If the movie has one message worth remembering, it's 'remember to tip your waiters and waitresses, because if you don't an asteroid will destroy the earth'.
6 reasons those are powerful words; powerful, confusing words out of 10
Hippie: “Hey man, make love not war.”
Boris: “I prefer to do both.” – it’s more efficient that way I guess, MIB3