I know I usually start out some reviews with “Has it really been xxx number of years…” but as I age, I find more truth in the statement “time flies.” Case in point, flash back to 1997 when the world had not yet been exposed to Titanic, but rather a then larger than life Will Smith (coming off his box-office success of the previous year’s Independence Day) and Tommy Lee Jones, still basking in the glow of his Academy Award for 1993’s The Fugitive. Two men. Black suits. Ray Ban’s (product placement). Aliens. Yep, this could work. It did. Flash forward five years and we get a less than stellar sequel and it takes another decade for the third part of the trilogy to come out. Reportedly Smith didn’t want to reprise his role as Agent J, but I’m sure that somewhere lawyers were involved. The result: It’s not nearly as bad as everyone thought.
In this installment we find Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) who has just escaped from a pretty secure prison. Why “pretty secure”, well it’s on the moon. Boris, evidently having control over time and space decides to go back in time to eliminate the person who put him in prison to begin with – Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones as the older version and Josh Brolin as the “younger” version). Of course, Agent J (Will Smith) has to convince everyone that this is possible and we all know the perils of dealing with the space-time continuum. But we get a much younger Agent O (Emma Thompson as the older version and Alice Eve as her younger and therefore hotter version) and “Griffin” (Michael Stuhlbarg) as a being who can literally see every possible timeline known to man. The question, of course, is…will it work?
It did. Financially-speaking of course. Men in Black 3 was a surprise hit both critically and commercially and it proved that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones still have what it takes to bring in audiences. Well, that or the franchise itself is still alive and kicking. The movie grossed over $600 million dollars worldwide and might have injected a little life into the franchise. Of note, I have to say that Josh Brolin is a dead-ringer for a younger Tommy Lee Jones (most likely why he was cast) and the ensemble cast does their part to ensure a very entertaining ride for all involved.
Video: How does it look?
All three Men In Black movies have been presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio which has always surprised me. Yeah, I guess it’s not that big of a deal, but I just assume Science Fiction = wider screen. Still, the AVC HD transfer is top notch, just as we’d expect for a big budget (to the tune of $200 million dollars) movie that’s arrived just in time for Christmas. Detail is stunning, just looking at the wrinkles in the “young” Agent K’s face tells us how old Tommy Lee Jones really is. Contrast is good, black levels on the money and all of the little nuances that are associated (creatures and what not) seem to leap off the screen. A near-perfect transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is chock full of goodness in the form of surround sound. Vocals, whatever language they’re in, sound very dominant. Tommy Lee Jones’ booming voice takes front and center, surrounds add oodles of ambiance and the LFE are heavily involved in some very unique fight scenes. I can go on, but I think we all know what to expect from this Blu-ray and it delivers on all accounts.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This is one of those titles that actually delivers some bona fide HD extras, but we’ll start off with the standard extras. “Partners in Time: The Making of MIB 3” is just what you’d expect, a 25 minute featurette that gives us the details of the story, the shoot and the new characters in this third installment. There’s a gag reel and a music video “Back in Time” by PItbull. Moving onto the HD extras we find a “Spot the Alien” game in which you use your control to “kill” some pop up aliens (think of the first MIB movie when Agent J is going through training). “The Evolution of Cool: MIB 1960’s vs Today” is just that, a little look at how the world of the 60’s was updated and the costumes altered. “Keeping it Surreal: The Visual FX of MIB3” we find that the CGI is accompanied by some good old-fashioned “real” work to create some very unique effects. “Scene Investigations” is a four part sequence in which we can see how some shots were achieved, namely the motorcycle chase and the “time jump.” Lastly we get some “Progression Reels” that are six shots broken down into their basic elements and we seem the progress to their final stage.