“Men In Black 3”
Talk about suspending disbelief. In order to watch this one, you’re going to have to believe that there’s some secret governmental agency somewhere that happily and routinely deals with aliens, but fails to tell the rest of us. Oh, and they’ve been in business for decades. It’s just that they have a secret device that erases the short-term memory of any accidental eyewitnesses. Clever.
It seems they managed to jail one particularly evil alien---would you believe on the moon? But the guards fail to register the danger of an outsider bringing a birthday cake, and “Boris the Animal” (Jemaine Clement) escapes.
This news understandably alarms our “Men In Black” partners, Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), because they know that Boris the Animal can not only wreak havoc everywhere on earth, he can even call in an alien invasion.
But somebody, somewhere, has figured out how to do time travel, and that alarms our secret agents even more, because now the moment when Agent K defeated and imprisoned Boris (Don’t Call Me The Animal) can be re-visited, and perhaps the past can be changed, including when Agent K was able to secretly put a special device on the Apollo moon rocket in 1969 which now protects earth with an invisible shield. But if Boris goes back in time to keep Agent K from doing that, well, earth is done for.
So, Agent J arranges to go back in time, and in so doing meets the younger version of Agent K (Josh Brolin), whom he has to convince that he’s really his partner from the future.
Of course it’s ridiculous that they could physically climb to the top of the Apollo 11 rocket, seconds before the actual launch, and deposit some device on it, but hey, this is the movies, we can do anything we want. Including befriending a nerdy-looking alien named Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) who sees the future, or at least possible versions of it, depending on certain random factors, which helps tremendously when you’re planning an ambush, and especially if you’re the intended target. And the head of the great secret American agency dealing with aliens somehow being a British lady named Agent O (Emma Thompson)? Sure, why not? This is a movie; we can do anything we want, right?
Yes, you can count on some bonus repartee between the “buddies”, though it appears Will Smith has more dynamism going with Josh Brolin than Tommy Lee Jones. Just because you can joke about Jones’ character being always emotionless, cynical, and world-weary doesn’t make his lack of liveliness any more amusing. He looks like he’s ready for Walter Matthau roles now. We like Will Smith as Mr. Everyman, and the jump-back-through time sequences are particularly enjoyable, even if the concept of time travel always defies logic.
So yeah, it’s fun, but not without its flaws. “Men In Black 3” is a slick, tongue-in-cheek kind of popcorn movie that doesn’t really hurt anybody, but doesn’t exactly add to the treasure vault of great filmmaking, either.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving , Texas