Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Men in Black III: Crazy Sci-Fi + Character Development!

Most time travel movies are pretty stupid. Usually, in an attempt to dazzle and intrigue us, things will end getting so overly-complex that they end up contradicting their own logic. 

The most famous time-travel paradox, The Grandfather Paradox, seems to be the case that gets ignored the most. In general terms, this says that if you go back in time with intent to change a particular event in the past, you mess with the causal chain of events that led to your going back in time in the first place. And that's when sh*t gets messed up. 

But then again, that's makes these sorts of movies interesting, right? And besides, what is this - the new Men In Black movie? Erm... since when did they ever make sense anyway? I suggest we forget about all that "logic" stuff and just enjoy it for what it is, don't you think?

Phew... that was an awful lot of question marks. Anyways, onto the actual film. 
This latest entry to the Men In Black series definitely doesn't disappoint on the ol' wacky aliens and plot devices front. What we have is a deranged and enraged dodgy-alien-thing called Boris (no, seriously) the Animal (Jemaine Clement), whom K (Josh Brolin - "wait, not Tommy Lee Jones?" Hold your horses, I'll explain in a minute) defeated and arrested many years ago, who busts out of his moon-prison and decides it would be a really good idea to go back in time and change the outcome of that particular event. Honestly, these freakazoid aliens have no respect for our lovely, consistent spacetime continuum, do they?
And then we're reintroduced to J (Will Smith, duh) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) as we know and love from the first two movies. J wonders why K is such a grumpy, emotionless old such-and-such. Rather than merely being an inconsequential yet comical exchange between the two, this little moment sets us up for the "real" story of this movie.

One fine day soon after, J wakes up and realises that K doesn't exist. Or rather, he's been dead for about 40 years. Realising that this ain't right, he rushes back in time after Boris, and ends up teaming up with young K (Brolin) to make sure he gets the job done right. Good job we aren't worrying about plot-holes or anything, right?

Anyways... sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Guy goes back in time, teams up with another guy, they shoot some aliens with big fancy guns and everything somehow gets worked out, right?

That's pretty much what I was expecting, and kind of hoping, to see in this movie. But there is actually something more to it than that. Certainly, this is truly the latest installment of the Men In Black series. It's got the weird aliens, big guns, shooting and crazy fight scenes that you would expect and hope for.

But this movie is best enjoyed - surprisingly - as a character-based story focussing on the relationship between J and K.
With the technology available in this day and age, it's getting harder and harder to impress people with sci-fi. To make a really good sci-fi movie now is to either do something truly groundbreaking, or to tell a compelling story. Ideally, you do both. In this case, it's more of the latter. It's almost as if the writers realised that they weren't going to able to blow people's minds on the technical side of things, so they didn't try to. The result is a satisfying trip into sci-fi territory, the usual Men In Black fare with added time travel nonsense and even talk about possible futures and alternate timelines, that should succeed in entertaining, amusing, and even heartwarming. If you hated the first sequel, don't write this one off before giving it a fair chance - you may be pleasantly surprised!
In Summary:
+All the essential elements of MIB present and correct
+Great, convincing performance from Brolin as a young K
+An extra layer of character development
-Nothing spectacular on the technical front
-Somewhat underwhelming action scenes
-Time travel plotholes all over the place

My Rating: 7/10

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