Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Men in Black 3D

What a lackluster couple of weeks its been for any film without a Marvel character running around in it. Dark Shadows was a dud, Battleship crashed and burned. All eyes focused on Big Willie and Tommy Lee to see if they could go toe to toe with the Avengers. The end result last weekend was a success but a mild one but if you were to read Nikki Finke over the last few days you would think the movie world was coming to an end. That woman laments film openings with more angst than 5 years of Beverly Hills 90210 ever could. Calm down Nikki take your medication. However, as far as the industry is concerned, it is a shame that Men in Black didn't shatter expectations but if you continue further to my review you may see why it shouldn't be that surprising that it was lackluster. It made about 54 million through Sunday and another 14 million for Monday. Which puts it at about 68 million for the overall weekend. Now compared to the previous versions and to usual blockbuster fare of this magnitude it's middling for sure. The real test is how it holds on its second weekend with Snow White and the Huntsman coming out next weekend.
Men in Black 3 brings back Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) as the world weary team tasked with containing and sometimes eliminating threats to our world from Foreign and Domestic aliens. In this go-round an old baddie, Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), that K locked away on a Moon prison escapes to get his revenge on his old nemesis. Boris decides to eliminate K Back to the Future style as he travels back to 1969. J is tasked with going back to save his partner before Boris sends an invasion force in present day to destroy the Earth. He of course, runs into K's younger self (Josh Brolin) as they try to stop Boris together.
Honestly I had fun with this movie it is by far much better than the previous installment but honestly that isn't saying very much. The performances, and the pacing were great but I feel like there were a lot of missed opportunities here. Especially given how well Josh Brolin pulled off playing the younger K. The thing that I always loved about the first Men in Black is that it was sharply written with a very clever plot. Not to mention it was genuinely funny. I felt that a lot of the humor in this one felt forced and a little stale. Admittedly we haven't seen a Men in Black movie in about ten years maybe it has become outdated. One of the better sequences was the Andy Warhol stuff with Bill Hader but they featured so much of it in the trailers it kind of ruined the surprise and fun of it in the film. The time travel plot while kind of fun felt well traveled already by many other more successful films and TV shows. The one character that was supposed to be interesting and funny was Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) the temporal displacement guy who really only felt like a low rent Observer from the far more creative and interesting show Fringe. This plays into the narrative that we had been hearing about this film all along the past year or so that they were working off unfinished scripts and that Will Smith was being a diva about his massive trailer in NYC. Director Barry Sonnefeld denied the rumors about an unfinished script and I'm sure he's correct about it especially a film of this magnitude it would be extremely difficult to do on the fly but it does beg the question why not flesh the script out better? You had so many tacked on things here with Agent K and his watch and a somewhat lame payoff at the end. The relationship between older K and agent O (Emma Thompson) and then the weird attempt at a romantic angle in the past with Agent O (Alice Eve) that doesn't seem to go anywhere. These are very small things but they do add up and certainly take away some of the enjoyment for the film. As far as the 3D I think it holds up pretty well. This is definitely the kind of movie that 3D is made for. If you do see it I would suggest seeing it in all of it's 3D glory. Overall it's a fun but forgettable ride.
Grade: 3 Buckets

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