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Men in Black 3 (3D Blu-ray Review)

4 Jan, 2013 By: John Latchem

Sony Pictures
Box Office $179.02 million
$30.99 DVD, $40.99 Blu-ray, $55.99 3D BD
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content.
Stars Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jermaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alice Eve, Bill Hader, David Rasche, Emma Thompson.

The first Men in Black film in 1997 put an inspired spin on the notion of a secret government agency dedicated to protecting humanity from aliens. The hugely entertaining and often funny romp set the stage for a sequel in 2002 that was so lazy and uninspired it effectively killed any interest in the franchise.

A decade later, news of a third “Men in Black” film wasn’t going to inspire a great deal of buzz among the fanboy crowd. But a lot of care was taken to ensure MIB3 didn’t fall into the same trap, mostly by distancing the story from many of the popular elements from the first film upon which the second film was overly reliant.

The effort has paid off with a surprisingly heartfelt film that nearly matches the entertainment value of the original by putting a new twist on the relationship between J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones).

The plot applies the “MIB” touch to time travel stories, with an alien assassin named Boris (Jermaine Clement) deciding to pull a “Terminator” and go back in time to kill K before he loses his arm and gets captured, which leads to the extinction of his race. When J realizes the timeline is altered, he follows Boris to 1969 to try to save his partner.

With a few tweaks, this story is probably what the second movie should have been, given that it doesn’t require Jones’ involvement that much (and that K, fans will recall, had retired from the MIB after the first film).

The film gets a lot of mileage out of great set pieces involving 1960s New York and the Apollo 11 launch. But the centerpiece is Josh Brolin’s uncanny interpretation of Jones while playing the young K.

The 3D also enhances the film nicely, giving the action scenes an added flair that doesn’t call attention to the special effects. The film was shot in 2D but converted using a simple scoping process that is detailed in a featurette on the 3D Blu-ray.

Another cool extra on the 3D disc is a database of some of the devices and vehicles in the film, showing off the designs with 3D animated turnarounds.

Both the DVD and Blu-ray include a gag reel and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Also included on the disc is Pitbull’s music video for “Back in Time,” a catchy tune that samples “Love Is Strange” to good effect (but when it comes to time-travel movie songs called “Back in Time” I’ll still take the one from Huey Lewis and the News from the original Back to the Future).

Blu-ray exclusives include a fun “Spot the Alien” game and some nice featurettes about the special effects and how the design team differentiated the look of the 1960s MIB tech from its modern equivalents.

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