Men in Black with Aliens on their Backs

One of the things that made me most wish there was something like a ‘neuralizer’ was Men in Black II. What a come down after the first film came out in 1997 to considerable acclaim, producing many guffaws.

So it was with some trepidation that I went to the Loewe’s Cineplex in Boston yesterday and plunked down my $12.00 to see the IMAX 3D version of MIB III. Yes, it had the same fine actors, Will Smith playing J, and Tommy Lee Jones playing K (not to be confused with his Harvard roommate Al Gore who presently looks like one of the aliens in this movie), except this is a time travel movie, sort of Back to the Future with sprinkles. Low and behold we also have Josh Brolin playing early K, indeed special K. Brolin, hands down, steals the show, though not all the laughs. He is dead on with his dead pan approach to the typical Jones demeanor, speech patterns, and tacky music and food tastes. It’s like deja vu all over again, only better.

I must confess I thoroughly enjoyed this spoof, and its not just science fiction that gets spoofed in this film either. It’s philosophical speculation about time and fate as well.

For an all too brief hour and 45 minutes the men in dark colors assail a sea of silly aliens, and pompous planetarians bent on taking over earth. Once again, innocent bystanders get slimed time after time. The dry cleaning bill the producers ran up must have been considerable. Once again Will Smith cracks wise. Once again Tommy Lee Jones looks like he is a victim of a bad Botox experiment. Once again Emma Thompson does her best Judi Dench/007 film imitation, only in a more sexy kind of way. No wonder K fell for her when he was but a young gun.

Besides all the CG creepy crawlies, there is added in a new character called Griffin, who can see, and indeed predict, the various versions of the future that may come to pass, unless this doesn’t happen, or that does happen and so on. Leaving aside the Ghostbusterish character of the film, there is at its heart some interesting philosophical issues raised by Griffin. Can the future be altered by changing the past? Can the future be altered by changing the present? What exactly is the relationship between the past and the present? Call this a sci-fi try for Arminians.

As summer popcorn movies go, this one is perfect for the Memorial Day weekend, or any upcoming weekend. It has plenty of laughs and sight gags for the whole family, and no actual being gets harmed in the film, except of course for those gelatinous aliens. Nor is alien sex on display. So, you need not bring your neuralizers with you to this film, so you can forget your disappointment afterwards, though if you bring all your kids to the film you may want an Anacin thereafter due to uproarious laughter.

And as for memorable lines— welllll…. how about ‘Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to’, or my personal favorite ‘the bitterest truth is better than the sweetest lie’. This film is just plain fun and it even has a surprise ending—- huzzah.

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