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Men In Black 3

June 10, 2012

When it comes to cinema, I’ve always had a soft spot for time travel. Watching the Back to the Future trilogy with my Dad comprises several cherished memories on my childhood. With that mind, I was cautiously optimistic about the third installement of Men in Black.


MIB3 opens with a highly dangerous alien, Boris the Animal (played by Jemaine Clement of The Flight of the Conchords), escaping from a maximum security prison (that is, by the way, on the moon). With his new freedom, he travels back in time to kill the person who arrested him and shot off his arm – That happens to be Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). Following his blast to the past, an alternate present asserts itself where the Earth is suffering a Boglodite invasion (Boris is a Boglodite) and only Agent J (Will Smith) remembers K. The invasion could be halted by the ArcNet defence system which was installed by K when he arrested Boris…but since he didn’t do that, it doesn’t exist. With the Earth in peril, there are now two good reasons for J to jump back in time to 1969.

Which he does, in some 3D-pandering special effects.

The film thus follows J and a young K (Josh Brolin) as they try to stop not one but two Boris the Animals.

The film is rather entertaining, playing around with both the idea and the consequences of time travel. The issue of race in 1969 is lampshaded in an early scene, allowing the rest of the film to progress unburdened by it. There are also a handful of nods towards the earlier films, which is rewarding for those fans who pay attention. The second half of the film is immensely brightened by a five-dimensional alien called Griffin who experiences all possibilities at once. J & K find him in an empty Shea Stadium watching the New York Mets win something-something-baseball later in the year. A very funny and endearing character that I could have sworn was being played by Quentin Tarantino (He wasn’t though).

I watched this film in 2D so I can’t really comment on the 3D effects. Actually, since this film, and all films, include Time (106 minutes in this case), all films are 3D. That aside, the 3/4D effects wouldn’t really add much in my opinion. It’s obvious which moments they would have been used for, as the sequences shamelessly utilise non-existent depth. The 3D might add to the immersiveness of this scenes but not any earth-shattering way.

Instead, the film really stands up on the plot and characters. Will Smith is on form and Tommy Lee Jones, while surly, gives a credible performance. He does look old now. Praise must go to the characters of Boris, Young K and Griffin, and the actors who play them. Boris goes through the entire film as a psychopath, but a witty one, which is something I like to see. Griffin I’ve already talked about. Josh Brolin gives an impressive performance as Tommy Lee Jones (In the same way that James McAvoy portrayed Patrick Stewart in X-Men: First Class), incorporating his accent and idiosyncrasies admirably.

The film culminates in a time-travel-tastic climax at the Apollo 11 rocket launch and, despite a predictable twist, end on a high note. If you’re a fan of Men In Black or of time travel in general, this is definitely a film to watch. It’s certainly better than Men In Black 2 at any rate. Even if you’re not a sci-fi fan, this carries an above-average amount of character and wit so watch it anyway, with or without the gurning 3D effects.

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