Mar 082012
 

Director:  Barry Sonnenfeld

Rating:  PG-13

Running Time: 1 hr 38 min

Release Date: 7/2/1997

Genre:  Science Fiction, Comedy

Cast:  Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), James Darrel Edwards III/ Agent  J (Will Smith), Dr. Laurel Weaver (Linda Fiorentino), Edgar (Vincent D’Onofrio), Chief Agent Zed (Rip Torn)

Synopsis: Brash yet fast and smart young NYPD officer, James Darrel Edwards III (Will Smith), is recruited by Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) of the mysterious Men in Black organization to help intervene when unsuspecting humans are close to knowing the truth about the existence of extraterrestrials.  As it turns out, the Earth is a neutral zone for aliens  and many of them choose to live and work there.  MIB agents must assume a new identity and forsake all contact from the past, so James Darrel Edward III becomes Agent J and is soon embroiled in defending the earth from a race of aliens, the Arquillians that have tracked a type of aline know as a Bug to earth and that they will destroy earth rather than let the Bug escape.  The “Bug” has taken over the form Edgar (Vincent D’Onofrio), a simple farmer.  So it is up to Agents J and K to find the bug and also find the mysterious Galaxy on Orion’s belt.

Analysis: Men  in Black  is a great movie with some funny lines and well written characters.  It is often on basic cable, and I will watch it every time I can.  The most recent time I caught it, it was actually on a premium channel. I  had forgotten there was some swearing in it, and was reminded why it was rated PG-13 and not PG.  An interesting note is that MIB is based on a comic book by  Lowell Cunningham, but the comic has a darker and more violent tone than the movie.

Pro:

  • A great scene is when Agent J is being given the test to see if he can qualify for the MIB and he is in the shooting range and all of the other guys are shooting at the really scary looking monsters, and when asked why Agent J shot the girl in the head at the last minute, he said that a little girl hanging out in a bad part of town, alone, and carrying books that are too advanced for her must be up to something.
  • I like the mix of computer graphics and puppets and costumes to create the aliens.  I think it makes them more real looking compared to some more modern special effects that are 100% CG.
  • I am almost always impressed with the performances by Vincent D ‘Onofrio.  I always think of the time when he is cornered in the film and asked to put his hands on his head and he says, “Put my hands on my head like this?” and then rips his skin off and becomes the huge cockroach.
  • David Cross has a great brief scene as a morgue attendant and ends up pissing Edgar off.
  • One of the best lines ever about Elvis.  Agent J “Elvis is dead, right?”  Agent K “Elvis is alive, he just went home”

Con:

  • I know it is supposed to be funny, but it is mentioned that the MIB have a galactic standard week to capture the bug and Agent J asks how long that is and it ends up being 1 hr.  If you are translating from a different language you’d think that the term would be galactic standard hour or something similar.
  • I still only have a vague idea why the  Arquillians want to destroy the earth and if they are so powerful why can’t they get the bug themselves.
  • Edgar is bothered by Agent J crushing some normal earth cockroaches.  He isn’t related to them since he is from a different planet.  I’d think it would be more like us watching someone squash mice.  It would be gross, but not anything to get so upset over.

Conclusion: This is one of my favorite movies and it was a great pleasure showing it to my kids for the first time this winter.  They really enjoyed it too!

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 4
Story 4
Special Effects 4
Would Watch Again? 5
Average 4.25

  One Response to “Men in Black”

  1. Vincent D’Onofrio may be many things–brilliant,sexy,thought-provoking,intense,funny,charming, qkiury,ect– but creepy never! That is unless the script he is given demands some of that quality, yet even with the most frightening character, Vincent D’Onofrio still manages to connect, or reveal some humanity even in the most insane, or demented characters!He gave Private “Gomer Pyle” in his first big film a certain sweetness and pathos to a young man slowly being brutalized by the cruelty of those around him.His alien in Men in Black had a bizarro sense of humor as did Pooh Bear, while he made us care about poor, tormented serial killer Carl Stargher as revealed by the inner working of his damaged pysche.That is acting at its finest! Love him or hate him– you can’t ignore him and he manages to make many of the so-called superstars fade into the wallpaper when he is present!

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