WKYC Contributor Karina Mitchell
A decade after its predecessor underwhelmed audiences, the jury was out on whether the world really needed another "Men in Black" sequel (in 3-D no less), but just a short time into Barry Sonnenfeld's ("Get Shorty," "Wild, Wild, West") vision and his third foray into the franchise, the verdict is in. Look for "Men in Black 3" to wow audiences and take them on a fun, completely campy retro ride down memory lane.
Everything old is new again and fresher this time out, in large part thanks to the genius casting of Josh Brolin, who plays Agent K's younger self in a yarn that will leave you wanting to believe time travel is possible. For those who haven't seen any of the trailers, who are gasping and wondering what happened to the crusty "K" they have come to love, not to worry. Tommy Lee Jones reprises his role, and is as cantankerous as ever. Director Sonnenfeld, a self-proclaimed worry wart, should have no angst over the formula he has created. He gets it just right - immediately recapturing the familiar, yet magical chemistry that exists between Will Smith, who reprises his role as Agent "J" and Jones' "K," all while managing to inject a fresh, twist with a retro vibe when part of the team travels back in time.
The film's opening sequence brings us up to speed with an incomparable performance from Jones, who delivers one of the most arid eulogies in screen history for a fellow colleague.
After that, things take a clever turn, all thanks to one messed up alien named Boris the Animal (Jermaine Clement). Well into a life time prison sentence (on the moon) for a heinous past crime, he remains determined to find a way to travel back in time to the 60s to when he was first incarcerated by "K" so he can re-capture some of his psychedelic youth.
Through a series of events "J" must travel back in time to 1969 - the ubiquitous summer of Woodstock; when Neil Armstrong was preparing to walk on the moon; when the Beatles performed their last live concert and when hippies were all the rage. His mission as set forth by MIB Chief Emma Thompson is to alter the course of history; save his partner from Boris who is intent on exacting revenge for being thrown into the slammer, all while ensuring the continued safety of Earth and trying not to get stuck in a time warp. Smith executes his role to perfection and is in the unique position of being able to deliver with a subtle yet clever jab a social commentary on the racial issues that prevailed at the time. Through it all, he maintains his debonair panache (except, hilariously, when left to deal with clunky technological devices that predate the 21st century) and a pair of nifty Ray-Bans that make stepping back in time look oh so cool.
Sonnefeld's coup d'etat is in the performance Brolin delivers, as the younger "K." Brolin is pitch perfect in capturing the essence and nuances of his older self, turning in a riff on Jones that is unbeatable. He also manages to do something incredibly difficult - he forges an onscreen chemistry with Smith's character that echoes the relationship Smith shares with his older, crustier self. No mean feat and in doing so, he gives Smith the ammunition to take his character to a whole new level. He delivers on all counts and the result is something rarely seen coming out of Hollywood these days - a triquel that stays true to the original, while delivering fresh fodder and more dollars at the box office. And making audiences smile while they do it.
MPAA : Men in Black 3 is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action/violence and brief suggestive content.