MEN IN BLACK 3: Another “Summer” Alien Invasion

By Dr. Craig D. Reid

Men in Black 3 is back in black, as the AC/DC power is cranked up to send our sunglass-donned heroes back in time to do something that many earthlings can’t do against the idiots that run and ruin our planet today (sorry Al Gore, but sadly your eco-message is slowly fading to black), save our planet. We may not be able to save the planet from ourselves, but gosh darn it, saving it from an alien invasion is something we’ll try.

A month ago, The Avengers save Earth from aliens, a few weeks ago the United States Navy saves Earth from aliens and this week two men in black and a dude wearing a winter hat in summer are trying to save the Earth from aliens. What on Earth is going on, apparently more than we know. But at the end of the day we know they will succeed (OMG, it’s a spoiler….not) because if they don’t save the planet there goes thousands of future movie plots.

I mean, hello…we watch tons of fun films even though we and our pet cats already know how it’s going to end, but we watch it anyway to see the journey unfold and how it affects the characters we learn to love and admire because the filmmakers make sure we can associate or somehow resonate with them. Like did you really think Titanic was going to end differently, like perhaps the ship is somehow saved and doesn’t sink?

Anyhoo, MIB 3 is certainly more toned down compared to its predecessors because it’s been 10 years since the last one and each actor has changed as has their character…they’ve become more introspective, guarded, bored or even saddened with things they can’t change. Or can they?

Enter the Boris, no not Badanov but Boris the Animal. Although based on the film’s beginning you’d swear there was some kind of obvious Rocky and Bullwinkle joke about Natasha waiting to happen…it doesn’t. For the longest while you might even think Tim Curry has returned from The Rocky Horror Picture Show when you realize it’s not Curry playing Boris, but Boris playing Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) as the shotglass-eyed, crazy pet-in-hand, just escaped from lunar prison assassin (Jermaine Clement) travels back in time to kill K and makes things OK for his race to invade Earth. Why?  Does it matter that we don’t know?

Apparently to many critics it does.

I love it when critics watch films and when they don’t get the obvious they chock it up to things like the movie is being vague, bad screenwriting or the story is full of plot holes thus they’ve given up on trying to explain what’s going on. They’re trying to make sense of things we can’t make sense of, and that’s why it’s science fiction. And unless you have a solid background in science, one can’t even begin to tell if any of the science is possible. Film schools don’t teach this and opinions don’t to listen to this.

Time travel films have especially run into these problems and one can sit there and pick, pick, pick away or sit back an enjoy the ride, because after all we all know the function of the flux capacitor and so why even bother explaining it to the audience…..oh, that’s right, critics need to know exactly what it is or the film is no good and baffles logic.

So as Boris is breaking out of moon shackles, partners J and K are back on Earth, negotiating peace with New York City’s undercover alien population (oh ci?) and “neuralyzing” eyewitnesses with tall stories to match NYC’s buildings.

Then, just as J suddenly disappears into thin air (one of those things critics winced at; but  obvious to most others), escaped alien Boris travels back in time to 1969, when young Agent K initially foiled his evil scheme, and kills the intergalactic lawman. Back in the present only Agent J notices something is weird. With Boris’ evil brethren now getting all Independence Day on us (must I remind you Will Smith was their to save Earth’s butt then too), J must travel back to the summer of ’69 himself to protect his young partner (now played by Brolin), and put Boris and his past Boris down for the two count.

So there’s no flux capacitor but did you know that ruptures in the space-time continuum cause headaches, which in turn produce a powerful craving for chocolate milk? Thus the saying, “How now brown cow.” And on a politically correct front, you’ll also notice that there are no twin towers in NYC, which joking aside also became past history at the hands of aliens…not of space but of Earth. Where were all the world’s supposed psychics when we truly needed them.

Now back in New York of the ’60s, Smith’s J serves as the straight man for the requisite time-period gags, which sadly they didn’t do enough of  and didn’t make them as funny as they could have been.  Why? The intended audience would have had no clue what they were about…maybe even Smith himself.

J quickly runs in to Brolin’s young Agent K, which sets the movie into a noticeable perky direction in which Brolin plays K a slight dimension away from the laconic Jones, with just enough spunk and heart that we can tell something definitely happens to K that J wants to figure out. Enter Dr. J., not the famous basketball player who was playing at UMass in 1969, by psychotherapist Agent J trying to understand why modern K is so dour. But as it is said, sometimes the answer isn’t what you want to hear.

So why is it in 3-D? Movie ticket price? What’s cool about life is that even if the film is not in 3-D, have you noticed that everything else around you always is?  Enjoy life, make sure to vote this year and enjoy Men in Black 3, I mean, after all not only must we respect the cinematic metal of a blacksmith, but also keep up with the Joneses.

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