The art of the sequel has resulted in films that sometimes surpass the originals and with Sci-Fi so in vogue these days, more technology means potentially better follow-up movies. Men In Black III is the most interesting of these Spy-vs-Spy turned Undercover Agents vs Bad Aliens sagas, my favorite of the first three thus far.
“I promise you the secrets of the universe, nothing more” says Tommy Lee Jones wearing the most gruesome makeup this side of flour, water and cheap paste. In fact, the makeup on Tommy Lee and Will Smith is so bad it can only be intentional, and the question is why. It not only mars the motion picture, it’s a major distraction.
Just as Dark Shadows utilizes 1972 music, 1960s songs permeate the excellent soundtrack, from “All Along The Watchtower” to The Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for the Man” and Mickey & Sylvia’s incredibly accurate for MIB 3, “Love Is Strange.”
And just as Jonathan Frid died on Friday the 13th (April 2012) before he could see the picture, Sylvia Robinson would have probably adored hearing her masterpiece twice in this fun space-age delight. Rapper Pitbull (a.k.a. Armando Christian Pérez) updates the Mickey & Sylvia classic and the original finds its way into MIB III as well. With Andy Warhol playing one of the Men In Black the Factory as a setting for alien shenanigans makes perfect sense…and will help attract the mainstream and cult fans of both Jimi Hendrix and Lou Reed
Hollywood is truly stretching these releases out over the decades now, fifteen years since the first flick, ten since MIB 2, and with Hancock 2 announced as well as I Robot 2 Smith is certainly padding his resume as the premiere A list movie star that plays to the Science Fiction audience. After Earth, a 2013 epic directed by M. Night Shyamalan set on an alien planet also has Smith in the lead role, so let’s understand something – the actor loves the genre and the genre loves him. Just wish the darn makeup was a little better.
That being said, there is great character development, a touching human interest story, and a rocket ship about to blast off. Oh, and a very lethal, sinister villain in Boris the Animal…a lot better than the bugs that were as uncomfortable in the first film as Tommy Lee Jones face is here. Not that we don’t love Tommy Lee…it’s just that with all the glitz and glamour here (Emma Thompson and Josh Brolin in a sterile pseudo THX1138 sort of environment…well, who knows why the distorted images were thrust into an otherwise accomplished Barry Sonnenfeld / Steven Spielberg collaboration. It’s a fun ride that knocked the Avengers out of the #1 spot in its first week.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He was a film critic for Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com and produces and hosts Visual Radio. Visual Radio is a fifteen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed John Lennon’s Uncle Charlie, Margaret Cho, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere, Marty Balin, Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.