Monday, June 04, 2012

Deeper, shorter, funnier

(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, on 26 May, 2012, retrieved from http://expressbuzz.com/entertainment/reviews/men-in-black-3/395314.html)





Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Rating: 3.5 stars
The idea of taking time off from the Cannes Film Festival to go and watch Men in Black III made me groan. The promise of trauma grew rather fainter when I found out it was just over 100 minutes long. And the pain of watching yet another film in 3D fades rather quickly when you find yourself in the middle of CGI that’s so much fun.
Yeah, there’s action, there are one-liners, and there are creepy-crawlies from the recesses of makeup effects artist Rick Baker’s imagination. There’s also a time machine of some sort, reaching which involves hanging from a cliff, from the Chrysler building, and from Apollo 11. And what’s more, MIB 3 has some sentimental moments too.
Here’s the story – Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) figures out it’s too late to save the arm that Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) chopped off; but it wasn’t always too late. Like, if you kill the guy who lops off your arm before you lops off your arm, you’re left with an unlopped off arm and a dead enemy. Both of those are particularly useful when you breed crazy dangerous insects in your body. Thus begins Boris’ chase into the past to get Young Agent K (Josh Brolin), and Agent J’s (Will Smith’s) counter-chase to stop him.
The filmmakers have had the good sense not to slap a mask on Jones, and go with a very impressive Brolin instead. Brolin’s half-satirical, half-faithful rendition of Jones is one of the film’s high points. Speaking of high points, we make a trip to the moon, and take several last-minute plunges to the bottom of an abyss that will return us to the present.
We’ve seen time travel so often through Hollywood that neither the past nor future can excite us much. And so we have a comic track involving Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg), whose layers of fake fur and fatigue-green, topped off by a knitted cap, are an amusing contrast to the chic of the agents’ attire. Now, Griffin can do the math and arrive at every possible outcome of every possible event as we jet through the space-time continuum, and his “uh-oh” moments  give us cause for laughter.
Also contributing to the hilarity of the film are the aliens, the raison d’ĂȘtre for the Men in Black franchise, and the repartee between Brolin and Smith.
The Verdict: If you were scared off the MIB franchise by Film 2, watch Film 3. This will remind you of why you could do all the steps to the MIB song from 1997.

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