Tuesday, 22 May 2012

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Men in Black III 3D [Review]

Opinion: B-

Comically insane in terms of overall story arc, the exact similar traits are however interestingly duplicated over other aspects such as the time travel visual concept. While its team of credible writers have injected a laughable gag or two, the slick pacing unfortunately didn't allow some of its new cast a chance to shine amidst all the flamboyant aliens. For a comic series that isn't expected to be taken seriously, it's lightly equipped with space gun fights and funny moments but overlooks possibilities to get more from its team of writers and new cast. 

After 10 years, the 'Men In Black' are finally back with their latest sequel which sees Agent J (Will Smith) travelling back in time to MIB's early years in the 1960s, to stop an alien from murdering his friend Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). While Josh Brolin plays a younger version of Agent K in the 60s, J discovers to his dismay that there are secrets to the Universe that K never told him of.

It's been a good ten years since we've last seen the Men in Black. While undoubtedly having commercial rationale being one of the largest drivers to bring them on the silver screen, it seems that the time lag has also reduced people's memory of them, and with that the chemistry.

Not a single bit of surprise for me to feel strange when meeting them on the silver screen (this time in 3D). I can still however, vaguely recall its signature brand of humour and am glad to see it present occasionally. Thanks to its team of writers with the likes of Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder), David Koepp (War of the Worlds), and Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can).

With such a writing lineup, I expected more.

Seemingly serving the need to eradicate uninspiring one-liners, the writers have blessed the lead characters with memorable dialogues (in terms of superficial hilarity, not depth) to boost the film's entertainment values besides the typical visual effects and "out-of-this-world" alien costume/makeup. One of my favourite concept noted in MIB3 was the time travel visual concept that translated onto the silver screen. Involving a leap of faith from extreme heights, the experience (somewhat enhanced by the third dimension) is exhilarating and doesn't falls short of surprises. 3D isn't exceptional, but didn't get in the way of visual enjoyment either.

The individual charisma exuded by each of the lead agents has been watered down with the script splitting Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones apart for a substantial amount of screen time. Josh Brolin takes over Agent K's adolescent counterpart as a result of time travel and it's difficult to adjust accordingly to the chemistry between Smith and Brolin.

That said, Brolin did good with his uncanny imitation of the emotionless Agent K.

Due to the comically rapid pacing adopted for the film, it is probably inevitable for the new cast to render their worth with reduced screen time opportunities. For instance, Alice Eve as the younger Agent O (Emma Thompson) might have been an interesting proposition with added personality dimensions if the screenplay allows for so. She is observed to be engaging Brolin with brief teasing liners, which clearly requires a little more justice (we've all seen what she's capable of in "She's Out of My League" and "Sex and the City 2").

We've heard much about the woes as delays and changes plagued the production. With the shift in the writers, the resume brought in with the team of writers might have been encouraging but there's little they can rescue with the abruptness and urgency brought upon their creative work flow. With more production lead time, the depth of the film might have been much more in terms of story and character development (in my opinion, that is).

Not the best offering this summer, but it warrants a look for a dosage of humour and fun.

(Preview courtesy of Filmnomenon and inCinemas.sg)


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