Friday, May 25, 2012

'Men In Black 3" 3D Review

The Men In Black science fiction comedy film series started out in 1997. The first film was successful enough that a sequel was produced in 2012. The premise is that the urban legend of Men in Black (MIB) who intimidate UFO witnesses into recanting or staying silent are real. Only in the film series they're a police organization with multiple purposes. Yes, they debunk UFO sightings to keep the public calm. They also police the aliens living on earth.

Ten years after Men In Black II comes Men In Black 3. The movie opens with alien Boris The Animal's (Jemaine Clement) escape from a lunar prison. In 1969, Boris was arrested by Men in Black's K. (Tommy Lee Jones) K stops Boris' alien race from invading the earth with a global defense system called the ArcNet. In the process, K shot off Boris' arm.

Boris has escaped to enact revenge. He goes back in time to kill K. Boris succeeds. By doing so, it allows an earth invasion in the present since there would be no ArcNet. K's partner J (Will Smith) somehow survives the changes in the timeline and finds out that everything has changed except for him. MIB leader O (Emma Thompson) deduces that there's been a change in the timeline. The aliens attack. She orders K to go back in time and correct the event that caused the failure of the ArcNet. K agrees and goes back in time to 1969 to intercept Boris.

Look, time travel movies are always problematic. First, MIB 3 basically follows the "Grandfather Paradox." The paradox means that if you go back in time and kill your grandfather, you will never exist. Of course, the problem becomes if you didn't exist, how could you go back in time and kill him. See, therein lies the problem in this movie. If Boris changed the timeline then J would also have changed. He would have not known K. Got a headache? There's a nice joke where O diagnoses the disrpution in the timeline by asking if J is getting headaches. To avoid all this, the movie hints that going back in time creates multiple timelines or parallel universes. Before you get a headache, just go with the premise.

In 1969, K is played by Josh Brolin. He's right on as his performance of K sounds and looks like Tommy Lee Jones forty years earlier. Alice Eve is the young O and she's lovely and charming. Will Smith has excellent comic timing. And he's able to make you laugh with his jokes. But he also is able to do it, just with that comic timing. One of the funny scenes, is when J (Smith) is riding in the car with the young K. Barely a line is spoken and J's amusement at K's usual stoic demeanor will make you laugh.

Unlike the bizarre and bloated Men In Black II, MIB 3 sticks to the characters. You got to give credit to Etan Cohen's script. He has crafted a witty screenplay. Director Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed the first two films, sets up action pieces cleanly while keeping the action interesting. There might be wild things going in this movie but it feels real.

As for the question of whether you should pay extra bucks to see the 3D version of MIB III, the answer is no. It was converted from 2D to 3D. Movies shot in native 3D are always better than conversions. You cannot capture every curve, nook and cranny with a conversion. The conversion process is like a pop up book. MIB 3 is not a bad conversion. The lighting is good compared to most conversions. But there's not enough special shots in 3D to make you feel that it's not converted. Most live action scenes don't pop or have depth. It's only the CGI special effects that look good.

Men In Black III is a funny summer movie. There are also nice touches of emotion. It's a blast at the theater. The grade is B +.

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