MEN IN BLACK III 3D
After the deadly alien Boris 'the Animal' (Jemaine Clement) escapes from the high security prison on the Moon intent on killing Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time with the help of nerdy gadgets man Jeffrey (Michael Chernus), to MiB's early years in 1969. He plans to try and stop Boris from murdering the young Agent K (Josh Brolin), who shot off his left arm during a major incident. With the assistance of the mysterious, time-warping Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg), he plans to save Agent K and change history.
Review by Louise Keller:
It's the exploration of the cool, unfathomable yin-yang relationship between Will Smith's Agent J and Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K that elevates this third film of the franchise beyond its quirky and inventive expectations. Replete with all the weird and wonderful alien creatures for which the films are renowned, the film uses everything in its arsenal (including 3D) to not only maximise on its unique concept and reality as it pings our funnybone and socks us in the eye with bizarre eye candy, but there's a substantive emotional hit as it pierces the heart. With Barry Sonnenfeld at the helm once again, Men in Black III is everything we could hope for and more - frivolous fun with substance and heart.
In an eye-catching opening, the film begins with a shapely brunette squeezed into a black leather dress wearing thigh high boots and carrying a pastel pink cake that wobbles suggestively as she walks through the stark corridors of the Lunar Maximum Security Prison. The name Boris is prominently tattooed on her back. By the time we meet Boris (Jemaine Clement), a grotesque one-armed creature with tinted monocles, sawn-off teeth and a deadly spider-like creature that burrows in his hand, we are not surprised when he escapes in a blaze of special effects and descends to earth in search of revenge against K. There is plenty at stake as Boris goes back in time to kill K before he lost his arm 40 years ago and remove the Arcnet that protects the world from aliens.
Emma Thompson is a welcome addition as Agent O, whose mysterious relationship with K arouses J's curiosity and there's something reassuring about revisiting the white spacious MiB headquarters, where aliens of every shape and size lurk in every corner. The scene when J jumps from the top of a skyscraper to time travel to 1969, just before the man-on-the-moon launch, is all at once terrifying and hilarious, while the effects cleverly morph to embrace the era with the clothes, the music and the look.
The idea of incorporating time travel into the mix is inspired as is the brilliant casting of Josh Brolin as the young K, who delivers Jones' dry mannerisms and drawl to perfection. There are many highlights, including the divine Andy Warhol party plus extravagant action scenes in the moments before the moon launch. But none of the spectacle is as potent as the scenes between Smith and Jones, when K confides (over pie) that regret is the most destructive force in the universe. Or the unexpected climactic twist which will make the toughest nuts crack at the seams, adding an extra dimension to what is already cinema gold.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The oversized sci-fi fantasy, the super cool weaponry, the ultra cool humour, the adrenaline rush of action (and those iconic sunglasses) that have spawned millions of fans is back. Will Smith struts his black ass with nonchalant daring while Tommy Lee Jones is his tight-ass persona as K, the Easter Island monolith, to Smith's animated J.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld, in the driving seat for the third time, recognises that if you're on a good thing, stick to it and if it ain't broke don't fix it. Just add well utilised 3D. The familiar world of MiB is recreated in full, its offbeat aliens as intriguing and amusing as ever. Likewise the big stunts and the firefights; your eyes will love it all over again.
But the franchise does get freshened up with an audacious plot about time travel. The big punch to this is in the ending, which will have you close to tears - and which is the film's emotional payoff. It's a 'thank you' to the audience who have allowed the filmmakers to take them on an incredible (yet we believe it) journey back in time to 1969. Where else, given that Sonnenfeld was 16 that year, gorging himself on the peace & love revolution. We get samplings of the era in fashion, cars and music; baby boomers will swoon.
The story also carries a second payload as it reveals the backstory, in which Emma Thompson's O and Agent K have significant roles; with a deft touch, the filmmakers offer sentiment layered with the action. Josh Brolin is a knockout as the young Agent K, perfectly capturing the iconic Tommy Lee Jones voice and manner of speaking: the dry, deadpan delivery.
The key supports are sensational, too: Michael Stuhlbarg is riveting as Griffin, the Shaman of time travel; Jemaine Clement is ferociously fantastic as Boris 'don't call me animal'; Michael Chernus makes the most of the nerdy Jeffrey; Bill Hader makes a very funny cameo as Andy Warhol at a party (it's a highlight scene of the film) - and of course, Emma Thompson fires up as O, another female boss atop a secret organisation (refer James Bond's M and Jason Bourne's Pam Landy).
If you want escapism with heart and humour, Men in Black III in 3D is IT in spades.
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MEN IN BLACK III 3D (M)
CAST: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Alice Eve, Emma Thompson, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bill Hader
VOICES: Yuri Lowenthal
PRODUCER: Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes
DIRECTOR: Barry Sonnenfeld
SCRIPT: Lowell Cunningham, David Koepp, Jeff Nathanson, Michael Soccio
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bill Pope
EDITOR: Wayne Wahrman, Don Zimmerman
MUSIC: Danny Elfman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bo Welch
RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 24, 2012
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.