Review for Men In Black III
I started off with the best intentions, placing an order for the Men in Black 3 Blu-ray after catching a snippet of it on TV and being intrigued. I also took the opportunity to upgrade my Men in Black DVD, and seeing that the twinpack was cheaper, I indulged my collector’s OCD and made sure I had all three in my collection. But then I watched the original Men in Black again, and found that it had dated, while watching Men in Black II, I was abruptly reminded of why I never bought it on DVD in the first place. Suddenly, I was no longer thrilled by the idea of watching Men in Black 3. So reluctantly I sat down...
Agents J and K may have been partners for 14 years, but their communication skills are still as vibrant as ever, with K’s stone-faced taciturnity constantly getting on J’s nerves. In fact he’s more stone-faced than usual when Boris the Animal escapes from Luna-Max prison, vowing revenge on K for shooting his arm off. What’s more, Boris has an intricate plan to enact his vengeance, but K refuses to tell J just why it’s so personal with Boris. Not that he ever gets the chance to, as suddenly J wakes up in a world without K, and a craving for chocolate milk.
History has been changed; K was a young agent when he died back in 1969, and Earth has been left defenceless as a result, which is when a big alien invasion fleet shows up. J’s only chance to save the world is to go back in time and save K and put history back on track. This being time travel, the one thing he absolutely mustn’t do is interact with the young K. Naturally, the first time he tries to stop Boris, he gets arrested by K.
You get a great 1.85:1 widescreen 1080p transfer, with DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround English, DD 5.1 Spanish and Italian, and an English audio descriptive track. You get subtitles in English, Italian, Spanish, and Hindi. It’s a pixel perfect transfer to my eyes, with no opportunity for me to nitpick. Colours are rich and consistent, detail levels are excellent, and the contrast is great. The surround is nice and immersive, bringing out the best in the action sequences, although it does feel as if the Men in Black theme is a little too ubiquitous in the film, and the score could have used a little more variety. The dialogue is clear throughout though.
You get one disc in a Blu-ray Amaray with the usual leaflets promising Ultraviolet codes and the like. It’s one of those discs that hold position in the player memory after being ejected.
The disc autoplays a trailer for The Amazing Spiderman before booting to an animated menu.
You can find that trailer again under Previews.
Spot the Alien is one of those java games that you’ll spend more time loading than you will spend playing; it’s typical in its uselessness.
Partners in Time: The Making of MIB 3 lasts 26:24, and features the usual interviews with cast and crew.
The Evolution of Cool: MIB 1960’s vs. Today takes a look at the film’s set and production design for the two eras. This lasts 11:14.
Keeping it Surreal? The Visual FX of MIB 3 lasts 10:26.
There are 4 Scene Investigations running to 17:25, and 6 Progression Reels running to 17:37 which offer more Behind the Scenes looks.
The Gag Reel lasts 3:54 and all of these extras are in 1080p resolution.
“Back in Time” Music Video by Pitbull is in 1080i and lasts 3:34.
I did have some issues with sound sync in the extras, although the feature itself is fine.
This is the best Men in Black film yet, although given the rate at which they produce these things, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the last, at least with the original pairing of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Given that the character of K is portrayed for half the film by Josh Brolin, you could say we’re at that point already. If this is the last Men in Black film, I have to say that they went out on a high.
Superficially, Men in Black 3 seems like just another remake. We have another alien menace threatening Earth’s existence as in the first two films, and just like the second film, this movie’s villain, Boris the Animal has history with K, indeed, J’s one chance to save the world lies in K’s past. In Men in Black 2, that meant restoring K’s memories, and uncovering the clues to what had happened, but in Men in Black 3, it means travelling back in time to when K was a young agent.
That makes almost all the difference. I’m a sucker for time travel movies to begin with, and there’s a touch of the Austin Powers as J is sent back to 1969 after the escaped Boris the Animal, to save K’s life. You get the two different eras, the delightful culture clash, and that effervescent sense of nostalgia that period films can bring.
Another aspect is the difference ten years can make. It’s not just in terms of special effects, although Men in Black 3’s visuals carry that digital mastery that most modern comic book movies get, and it looks nowhere near as dated as the first two films. It’s also in terms of performances. This is the first Men in Black film where Will Smith invests the character with depth and pathos. In the first two films, he was basically playing Will Smith. Josh Brolin as the younger K is also a joy, capturing the essence of Tommy Lee Jones’ character, but as a younger version, making him more playful and light.
What really makes Men in Black 3 stand out is that for the first time, it’s not about the aliens, and it’s not about saving the world. The heart of the film is the relationship between partners J and K, about working out their issues across 40-odd years, and J getting a better understanding of the events that shaped his partner’s life, and inadvertently shaped his own as well. All good films grab you by the emotions, and this is the first Men in Black film to manage that, while keeping hold of the sense of fun, and the basic premise of the franchise. The third Men in Black film gets the best presentation on Blu-ray and is well worth picking up.