Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Runtime: 106 mins. Reviewed in May 2012
The placing of an earth protecting shield on the Apollo, 1969, moments before blast off, Andy Warhol as a government undercover agent, Mick Jagger an alien come to earth to impregnate earth women? National Enquirer headlines? No, just some of the plot elements in Men in Black 3!
Not being a fan of the first two films, I approached this one with caution, and was pleasantly surprised. Whether the ardent fans will be pleased is difficult to work out until we see box office results. It is actually fifteen years since the original film and ten years since the second. A decade between the sequel and this threequel, a long time in movie franchise land. However, here it is.
Once again Will Smith is the genial agent J, just as energetic as ever. Once again Tommy Lee Jones is Agent K, just as laconic as ever. But this time there is more than one Agent K. J has to go back to 1969 to alter history – and finds K’s younger self, played expertly by Josh Brolin doing a Tommy Lee Jones impersonation. And there is Agent O, played by Emma Thompson with a wry sense of humour even when she goes into squealing, squirming mode delivering a sympathy message to her staff in Venusian! (Agent O is present back in 1969 in the form of Alice Eve, but this is troubling casting as it is impossible to imagine Alice Eve growing older to be Emma Thompson.)
And there is an arch-villain, Boris the Animal, imprisoned in a lunar security prison for forty years but now breaking out and altering history. Hence the time travel. New Zealand’s Jermaine Clement (from the Flight of the Conchords and his impressive turn in Gentleman Broncos), tall, resonant voice and a really bad set of iron teeth, obviously relishes this role.
And, for the fans, there are still a whole range of aliens on earth who break out of their disguises with sometimes sinister, sometimes comic, effects.
The film is mainly Will Smith’s as he is the one to go back in time, to try to capture Boris the Animal, to save Ks’ life. So, plenty of action and humour. And, there is a very nice alien, Griff, who has the power to visualize many possibilities at once, especially the grimmer ones. He holds a key to the solution – and has the last word. He is played with some sweetness by Michael Stuhlberg.
Critics were asked not to tell their audiences about the final ‘revelation’. And this review won’t. Suffice to say, I am glad I did not know what it was and was all the more pleased with it.
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