Men in Black 3 (2012) movie poster

director Barry Sonnenfeld
viewed: 05/26/2012 at CineArts @ the Empire Theater, SF, CA

I was wanting to take the kids to the movies.  We’ve had a busy spring so far with Little League and soccer and haven’t had a lot of free weekend days to go to the cinema.  But beyond The Avengers (2012), there really hasn’t been much calling to us to get us out to the theater.  And when it came down to it, our choice was between an over-inflated action film based on a board game, Battleship (2012), or a cartoonish romp on the 1970’s and a 1970’s soap opera, Dark Shadows (2012) (Felix asked, “What is the story about?” regarding the latter, utterly not getting it from the trailers).

For all the films that I take them to, it’s interesting what does and doesn’t look appealing to them.  They were pretty not bothered about Men in Black 3 either.  They’d never seen the earlier films.  In fact, I’m not sure that I ever saw the second one.  What won out for us in this battle of indecision was proximity.  Men in Black was playing at our neighborhood Empire Theater in West Portal in a version that shunned 3-D.

Really, I wasn’t all that bothered either.  I did like Rick Baker’s alien designs, from what I’d seen of them.

What struck me was not just the aged, craggy face of Tommy Lee Jones, but of the affects of aging on the still young and handsome Will Smith.  It’s been 15 years since the first film.  I’ve probably aged more than those two.  But still, it struck me.

After the original Men in Black (1997), I really thought director Barry Sonnenfeld and Will Smith were primed to bring on some great work.  I eagerly anticipated their bomb Wild, Wild West (1999), and then promptly lost interest in both of them.  Perhaps that  is a little capricious of me, but that’s how it went.

Men in Black 3 is pretty tired.  The best thing it’s got going beyond the alien designs is Josh Brolin doing an amazing Tommy Lee Jones imitation as his younger self.  Beyond that, the comedy and adventure is pretty tepid and the sentimentality regarding Jones and Smith’s characters and their pasts annoyed me.

The kids, on the other hand, kind of enjoyed it.   So whatever.