Monday, June 25, 2012

Men In Black 3

Men In Black 3

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

Though it starts out slow and never reaches a level of enjoyability matching the original, Men In Black 3 is still decent fun, with a great performance by Brolin, and a somewhat interesting (although flawed) story.

For a blockbuster with a $200 million budget, high-profile actors, and a well-established fanbase, I must say I was quite surprised at how generally poor the special effects were in this movie. By 2005 standards, the effects would be considered adequate, but taking into account the considerable improvements in CGI that has taken place over the past several years, I can safely say I was expecting much more. There are some good makeup effects, but not enough to excuse the overt uses of sub-par CGI, which prove to be far more distracting than I would have ever anticipated.

The first half of this movie borders on unwatchable. With jokes that can be seen coming from a mile off, poor special effects, and uninspired performances, by the 30-minute mark I already had the feeling this might go down as one of my least favorite movies of the year. Thankfully the plot eventually arrived, and with it came Josh Brolin, whose performance as a young Tommy Lee Jones single-handedly escalates the material to a level far beyond that which had already been seen up to that point. Without trying to oversell it, Brolin's embodiment of Jones is the caliber of performance you might expect to earn an Oscar nomination -- that is, if it were found in a different movie. Michael Stuhlbarg also finds himself stealing several scenes in a more minor role, giving the story a quirky energy which also works to improve the film's second half.

Any movie dealing with time-travel is bound to raise questions and contain various inconsistencies, so the fact that this film has many problems of its own in this field comes as no surprise. Although instead of asking questions involving the mechanics of its time-travel and how it would conceptually work, I found myself not caring at all and simply accepting the fact that it doesn't make any sense, as it became apparent to me that very little thought was put into it in the first place. Which is the major flaw of this movie in a nutshell: very little thought seemed to be put into any of it. But there is heart at this film's core, one that finds its way through to the surface near the end of the movie, helping bump this from being a poor blockbuster to an acceptable one.

So, even taking into account the compelling performance by Josh Brolin, this movie is a bit of a dud. Will fans of the original Men In Black be pleased? Possibly. I know I personally found far more detriments than appeals. But there is one thing I can firmly say in its defense -- it's better than Men In Black 2.

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