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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Men in Black » User review

I make these look good.

  • Jun 14, 2012
Rating:
+4
***1/2 out of ****

As humans, we assume that we are alone on this earth, but we are wrong. Extraterrestrials hop from planet to planet, and eventually they will land on ours. More than likely, they'll choose to stay. Some are peaceful and some are hostile. For the latter group, we have a top secret organization known as the Men in Black; an agency which is practically untouchable that consists of men in black suits. They work behind the scenes while the human race continues to thrive; they fend off aliens, remove the somewhat civilized ones from our society (since a lot of them happen to be particularly good at "blending in"), and prevent large-scale invasions from happening. Wherever there is an alien looking for trouble - or just an alien at all - the men in black are there as well. And as for anyone else who is there, well, their memories are erased by a small metallic neuralyzer with a red square at the top that communicates its powers through the naked eye and to the brain. This is how the men in black have continued to remain under wraps for all this time. Nobody knows where or who they are. There's but a single catch to recruitment; and that is that the person being recruited will have their name and their identity erased from history. To just about everyone outside of the agency, they do not exist; but I suppose this is for the better.

Enter Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), one of the men in black, who has been a part of the agency for a while now. His former partner has just retired after an incident on the Mexican border that opens the film, and he must find a new partner to fill in for his old one. That is where James Darrell Edwards (Will Smith), a young police officer, comes in. We first see him as he is chasing a strange man through the streets of Manhattan. The end of the road is at the top of a building, where the man purposely allows himself to fall backwards onto the street below, but not before uttering a few words pertaining to the destruction of our world as we know it. Next thing he knows, James is talking to Agent K; who hears almost instantly about the street chase and is intrigued to know more. After their meeting, James has his memory hijacked by the neuralyzer and is told by K to show up at the MIB headquarters the next day. He does so, and finds out that he is a part of a group assembled by K himself to determine who is most fit to be his partner. Of course, James impresses in rather unconventional ways; and lands himself a spot as the organization's newest agent. His name is reduced to a single latter, J.

Meanwhile, a member of an alien race that looks almost identical to cockroaches is at war with several others over an intergalactic object known as The Galaxy. One of these aliens comes to earth and takes over the body (and skin, and brain) of a farmer named Edgar (Vincent D'Onofrio). The alien - known simply as The Bug - wants the Galaxy so that it can restore its space-ship and hit the proverbial "play" button on the in-coming invasion. But the Galaxy lies on a chain on the neck of a pet cat (whose owner happens to be an alien of an opposing race), and The Bug only keeps making its own problems. However, J and K will have something to say about his plans by the end of the day; armed with futuristic weapons, a kick-ass car that can transform, and plenty of other quirky gadgets at their disposal.

"Men in Black" is a very clever spin on the whole alien invasion genre that manages to be better than most of the other lackluster entries. It has all the fancy special effects and meticulously designed aliens that those have, but it also has the charm and humor that they lack. It never takes itself too seriously, and director Barry Sonnenfeld clearly wants us in on all the fun he was having while making the film. There are some ingenious post-modern parables between the plot and real-life "aliens"; hence, the racial tensions in America. The film does not force-feed these elements, and they only serve as side themes, but its better off that way in my opinion. What Sonnenfeld is focused on is fun, and he delivers that in wholesome doses. First off, flawless casting. Smith and Jones make a pitch-perfect dynamic duo; and their supporting actors back them up quite a bit. Rip Torn plays Zed, the head of the MIB organization; there's a lady who works at the city morgue (Linda Fiorentino); Tony Shalhoub plays a illegal weapons-dealing alien with a regenerating head. The human characters are mostly typical, but there's energy in every performance. Now, on to the aliens. They are the work of famed make-up artist Rick Baker, who is a crafty hand at brining whacked-out creatures and aliens to the screen. Here, you have a bag full of goodies; twig-like bug aliens that pour the men in black's coffee, little big-brained aliens that operate machine-like human heads (they disguise themselves underneath them), and ugly as all hell giant bugs.

I laughed a lot and was consistently entertained. There is some really good filmmaking going on here; the camerawork is inventive, the effects are pretty damn spectacular (well, for their time), and the humor is off-kilter. Some of it feels dated, just like the special effects. But you know, most of it still works. For instance, an infant squid alien projectile vomiting right into Will Smith's face never gets old. It's gross but it's also sort of charming, if you catch my drift. "Men in Black" is a smart, smooth, hip, exciting piece of pure popcorn entertainment; with enough aliens and action to satisfy any genre buff. It mixes science fiction with action with comedy, and the results are fascinatingly good. If you are to approach it, ask yourself what entertainment means. To me, it simply means "Men in Black"; in this case, at least. To others, it might mean "Independence Day" (which also starred Will Smith, and was also quite fun). The two crowds can merge for this particular cinematic event. The appeal isn't just universal; it's intergalactic. Sonnenfeld and his crew take the alien invasion genre, put some black shades on it, and - as Will Smith's character Agent J says - make "these" look good.

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More Men in Black reviews
review by . May 28, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
In the summer of 1997 Men in Black more or less blindsided us.  Not many of us knew what it was or what we should expect from it.  It was based off a comic book that (for the most part) very few people had even heard of (and even fewer people actually read).  We knew to expect aliens and Will Smith.  And, of course, our first thought was, "Didn't Will Smith kill aliens LAST summer?"  Yes, Independence Day happened.  Men in Black, on the other hand, just …
review by . May 02, 2011
If Men in Black had been done differently, if the directing had been different, if the characters were played by different people, it could have been an average summer movie. But it isn't. Men in Black has all the visual thrill and dazzling action of a summer sci-fi action movie, but it succeeds due to the fact that it's just so cool. That's the perfect word to describe this movie, cool. The characters are cool, the premise is cool, the special effects are cool, I mean who in their right …
review by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I saw this movie when i was younger and it was always one of my favorites, though i never realized it was based on a comic book...until now. Will Smith was really great in this movie, as he is in most of his movies. The special effects are  really good especially if you look at how long ago it was made and how much we have advanced in the computer technology department since then. The story was really well written, easy to follow, and all around entertaining as far as alien …
Quick Tip by . October 01, 2010
Totally mad. Totally fun. Totally weird. And it works its way through the alphabet as well.
Quick Tip by . August 30, 2010
Fun, tongue in cheek action, comedy sci fi movie about a government agency that makes sure aliens stay underwraps on Earth.
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Entertaining with a good cast. Corny, but in an endearing way that makes the movie more appealing than other alien movies like it.
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A movie I would watch again it reminds me of my dad whom passed away he liked it too!
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
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One of my childhood favorites, Jones and Smith make a witty charming pair. Definitely was a 90's favorite.
Quick Tip by . November 01, 2009
Fun scifi -- they walk among us and we have a government agency to protect us. Like I said, it's a Fantasy!
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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Wiki

In the 1950s a super-secret government agency was formed to monitor and police the activities of extraterrestrial aliens on the planet Earth. Some 40 years later a founding father of the agency, Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones), finds himself with a new smart-mouthed partner fresh from the NYPD who is soon dubbed Agent Jay (Will Smith). Their first mission is to save the Earth from destruction by a giant insectlike alien (Vincent D?Onfrio) that, incidentally, drives an exterminator?s truck. Armed with their matching Ray-Bans, skinny ties, and space-age weapons that Jay barely understands--he calls the Neuralyzer the "flashy thing"--the new duo begin another average day of fighting intergalactic terrorists. An amazingly hip and terribly clever movie that riffs on everything from E.T.--THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL to CASABLANCA, this Barry Sonnenfeld film is based on the equally savvy comic book by Lowell Cunningham.
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