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Men in Black 3

MusicMoviesWill SmithTommy Lee JonesHBO (tv network)The Rolling Stones (music group)

I had a weird thing happen when attempting to review this movie. The studios did a screening that was at a time late in the afternoon. I couldn’t attend on time. So I caught the last 40 minutes and had mixed feelings. I then did my review on TV, where I was lukewarm on it. That night, I caught another screening and wow…I was impressed by the first hour I had missed.

The fact that I went into it not expecting much and wondering why we needed to revisit these characters didn’t help. The first movie was good, but the second one was awful. Having director Barry Sonnenfeld do another of these (he’s the guy that gave us the horrible RV and Wild Wild West, as well as the second MiB) certainly didn’t help with my expectations.

In this story, the agents (Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones) are back…in time (try to read that without the horrible Huey Lewis song popping into your head).

Tommy Lee Jones is in 10 minutes of the movie, since it’s Josh Brolin as the young agent K he meets when he goes back to 1969.

As well as Brolin pulled off George W. Bushin the HBO movie, he does an even better job of nailing the cadence that is Tommy Lee. It’s worth the price of admission alone for that.

I was happy to see Jemaine Clement, from the most underrated HBO series ever – Flight of the Conchords – as the evil Boris the Animal. When he goes back in time, he seems to channel Randall “Tex” Cobb from Raising Arizona.

Since it’s 1969, we get some interesting things happening with the Mets (the last time I remember them joked about in a movie, it was George Burns in Oh God! He claimed that was his last miracle on Earth).

A bigger part of the movie is devoted to the moon landing.

I wondered why Boris didn’t travel back a lot earlier. He could’ve tried killing agent K when he was, say…8-years-old. I’m guessing it would’ve been a lot easier.

Certain scenes are reminiscent of previous films – a Chinese restaurant where you might not want to order sushi, and a bowling alley where heads are used to pick up a 7 – 10 split.

All the visuals are made much more dazzling in 3D, much the way they were in Avatar. And you really never know what to expect from special effects. Remember how bad the CGI looked in Will Smith’s I, Robot?

I wish Emma Thompson would’ve been given more to do, but Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader kills it with an impersonation of Andy Warhol.

An alien character named Griffin is played well by Julliard grad Michael Stuhlbarg. He was last seen in Hugo, but you probably remember him more for his lead in the Coen brothers movie A Serious Man, which also took place in the ‘60s.

I want to also give a shout-out to the great soundtrack. The music was by Danny Elfman, and songs from Cream, Velvet Underground, Status Quo (remember those one-hit wonders?); and of all the Rolling Stones songs, the perfect choice of 2000 Light Years Away.

The more I think about this film, the more I’m convinced it’s actually better than the first. They don’t over do it with the alien critters, they create a bond between the agents, and it could be the most interesting and funny way to go back in time that doesn’t involve a DeLorean.

This gets 4 stars out of 5.

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