Time Travel Is Complicated – Men In Black 3

Men In Black 3 - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Men In Black 3

Agent J travels in time to MIB’s early years in the 1960s, to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writers: Etan Cohen, Lowell Cunningham (Malibu comic)
Stars: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin

Oh that opening ten minutes was trying. At one point I thought one of my friends was going to gross out and leave. Fortunately we all stayed and the third installment of the Men in Black franchise surpassed expectation. I have to say after the horrific experience of the second Men in Black my expectations were not high. And once you get passed the gross, icky insect crawling into a man’s hand then the story gets interesting. The alien in this film is bizarre but Boris the Animal really compels a fascination in the audience to wonder how Boris was captured in the first place and how Agent K managed to control him into a prison.

With the complications that time travel can bring, the script works quite well in the way it solves the problem of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin) disappearing from most people’s memory except Agent J (Will Smith). The humour and the action are as they ever were, impressive and entertaining. There are some moments when the film waned and I was just waiting for the next bit of action to happen, especially with the romance side plot between Agent K and Agent O (Emma Thompson). And here I was thinking that he had always loved that woman who he had stalked via satellite and gone off to be with at the end of the first film. I suppose this was before then, but still what a woman magnet that man must’ve been! I really enjoyed the way they explored the reason behind why Agent K is so emotionally withdrawn and secretive about his life. It gives a new depth to the character that we don’t really see in the other films however I’m still a bit confused the way the phone call works where Kay tells Jay that he will tell him all the universe’s secrets tomorrow. But apart from that small hiccup in logic (probably more on my naivety then the filmmakers) the film runs smoothly and the complexity works.

The best bit about this film is the character (and performance of) Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) the multidimensional being. He is the perfect amount of quirky and plot-solving-elegant. His quirkiness is not too overpowering and not too underplayed either. Stuhlbarg’s performance was gripping and had me both laughing and feeling emotional at the same time. He was a redeeming feature of the film when the narrative waned.

Overall Men In Black 3 was way better than the second one but still floundered at points when you expected it to soar and thus it had moments where you could easily tune out and tune back in five minutes later. It is a fun film but one that you could wait for DVD/Bluray to see unfortunately. Although the shots of Will Smith falling to the ground is impressive on the big screen, as is the fight scene on the Apollo 11 launch tower. I want to watch this film again which usually means I like the film but I suppose like anything it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

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Blind Faith and Viscous Visuals – Prometheus

Prometheus - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Prometheus – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Prometheus (2012)

Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green and Michael Fassbender

I haven’t seen the other Alien films, and now I remember why I haven’t. I’m not a big fan of viscous visuals. I do however like Sci-Fi and aliens and so I went to see this film with a friend who also likes aliens and Sci-Fi. We both came out feeling slightly ill but I spent sometime reflecting on the subject matter of the film and have come to the conclusion that although I didn’t like the execution of the story I like the ideas behind it. The idea of searching for a creator of humanity, where we get our identity, where we came from, what drives us, and all the other scientific and philosophical questions of life penetrate Sci-Fi quite frequently and this is no different in Prometheus. The search for where human beings came is where we start and where we end in this film. The circular journey is the main thrust of the film and the answers and questions that the movie leaves you with are unsatisfying but that is the point. I found myself journeying with these explorers into this unknown world and getting lost with them and then being violently ripped back from it when something gross and violent happened on screen at which point I slid down in my chair and tried to hide my eyes from the viscousness of the subject matter on screen. The action, the visual effects, the characters were compelling and I was happy to ride along with them but I have to say my favourite part of the film was the creepiness of David’s head at the end. There was just something so wonderfully comic and tragically horrendous about this woman being left alone to search the universe for answers with a severed head and a robotic body.

I didn’t enjoy watching Prometheus and I don’t think I ever will enjoy watching the Alien films. I still feel slightly ill even thinking about it. But for what it is and what it tries to be I think it does okay. There are points where it fails far short of being a great alien sci-fi film and it disappoints your average joe if they are after something great and groundbreaking but there are some entertaining moments. I can’t stay I would recommend it but if you’re into that kind of thing, go for it.