This movie is good. Patrick?
Oh right, I should probably elaborate. This is the same movie as the first Men in Black, which is a good film. On rewatch I found the first film to be a lot weirder than I remembered. There was a strain of 90’s indie film in it mixed with the broad Will Smith action and Danny Elfman score. D’Onofrio is nuts and it’s not at all what you would expect from a Will Smith vehicle after Independence Day. I probably shouldn’t have worked a la Wild Wild West, but it did and we got a second film.
That second film is basically them finally getting the gang together after five years and running it back. Not exactly a way to get reviewers on your good side. But as far as I can tell that is pretty much the only reason this qualified for BMT. They looked at the film and said “we expect more from you Men in Black II.” It’s all expectations at this point. That is unless they got really hung up on Johnny Knoxville getting a role that was just too substantial for his talents at the time. He needed a bit more time to warm up and was pretty annoying. You could also nitpick the plot, but really you could probably say that about the first film too. Men in Black is all MacGuffins and aliens. So to all of a sudden be like “your MacGuffin and alien plot isn’t well thought out,” seems like a weak critique.
I feel like I’m going too strong on this. I’m not a big time MIB 2 fan or something. I’m not staking my reputation on this film. I’m not even sure what will happen come Smaddies Baddies time. I think my problem is that I was surprised to even see MIB 2 on the list of qualifying films. It’s right on the boundary. Usually those borderline films come out as just that: borderline BMT. This doesn’t even really feel borderline. Should have been a 50-60% RT score probably. It offends my BMT senses that we watched it.
I think if I were to do an in depth Wrong Analysis (patent pending) for this film I would go all in on the second film actually being better than the first. Here is my evidence:
- Much improved special effects. You can accomplish a lot in five years, particularly when the five years run from 1997-2002 and special effects are making leaps and bounds by the day. But it’s not just the CGI I’m talking about. Even the puppet work is better. Case in point are the worms. They play a minor role in the first film, but by the time we are part of a smash hit they are all over the film and doing some real cool practical effects to bring them alive.
- The best scene in the movie. Aliens in the locker is all you need to know. It’s great and nothing in any of the films beats it. So how can this be bad when that is so good?
- They imply Tommy Lee Jones had sex with an alien. Strike that. They didn’t even really imply it. It seems pretty clear that Tommy Lee Jones had a love child with an alien.
- It’s the same move as MIB with better effects, the best scene in the franchise, and the implication that Tommy Lee Jones is getting down with aliums on the regular. Case closed.
But that analysis is probably wrong. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Men in Black II? More like Men in Black Too … like as well. Because it is the same movie as the first one. Whatever, let’s go!
- Much sillier than the first film I can see why it got relatively poor reviews.
- BUT I also watched the first film, and while fun it is basically an exercise in how something novel can blind you to how poorly put together it is. Both films feel a bit like they are barely held together by Will Smith’s charisma alone.
- Bar none this has the funniest scene in the entire franchise with the little weirdo aliens in the locker. The ending is the best part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9sd10CHAP8
- This film suffers most in just feeling like a fun movie (J and K following clues around New York) bookended by the barest of all possible introductions and endings. The movie literally opens with an intentionally shoddy fake tv show (which they play again later to better effect) and then a really poorly done introduction to Serleena in Central Park. And then the film ends with a half-assed battle in MIBHQ stretched out to the twist ending.
- And ultimately isn’t that the issue? They actually did have a MIB television show. I forgot about it, but they had a decently long running animated program (53 episodes). But the film feels like a television show that would exist now. A comedic version of The X-Files. Forcing it into a $100+ million budget blockbuster mold seems ultimately like a waste. And too bad, because you obviously can’t do anything with the original cast, and MIB: International was a colossal bomb, so they are kind of stuck.
- Although it is a little funny to say that considering the Men in Black comic has six issues … total. Like there were only ever six issues of this property. If they work at it they could get more feature films than issues of the original source material. Bring back the MIB/21 Jump Street crossover! You know that would have been amazing.
- There was a lot of product placement I’m sure, but my favorite Product Placement (What?) was when Rosario Dawson is asked to go get a whole mess of Mountain Dew from the basement (Do the Dew!). Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City which they use to excellent effect. Really incredible MacGuffin (Why?) work on the Light of Zartha. Which then rolls right into a Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that Dawson herself is the Light of Zartha. Closest to Good, the film is undeniably fun to watch.
No sequel in the quiz this week, but I do outline my mid-credits scene / short film involving J going on a hot date. Check it out. Cheerios,