The first MIB (1997) was fresh, innovative, well scripted and well acted. Successive iterations of any good film are rarely good, the notable exceptions being Aliens 2 and The Godfather 2. Accordingly, MIB 3 is not as good as MIB 1, but in the end, it delivers for some rather innovative reasons.
One of the reasons is 3-D. This film doesn’t leap out at the viewer all that much, but the scenes are definitely realistic and satisfying to the viewer. Having seen a few 3=D films now, I am of the opinion that this mode is here to stay, and in five years virtually film will be in this medium. The viewer appreciates the action in a medium more like what he or she would see in real life. I do not think this is a flash in the pan. It will spread to TV rapidly.
IMAX is another matter. IMAX is very expensive; the screen is too big for comfortable viewing no matter what the seating and I don’t think its worth the extra cost. I think IMAX will probably be reserved for major extravaganzas and non-stop action flicks where the whole point of the film is pyrotechnics specifically made for the huge screen (Battleship and The Avengers).
The second reason MIB delivers is the script, which is marginally thought provoking as to the possibilities of time travel. Yes, a theme worked to the bone elsewhere, but MIB 3 adds an interesting “wrinkle”, a variation of the theme of the Heisenberg Principle (the more is known about where a particle is, the less can be known about it’s speed and direction). , That would be the “observer Effect”, that observing a physical system necessarily effects it. There are an infinite number of possibilities in any scenario in time but only one will happen when it’s actually observed.
In MIB 3, the delightful protagonist of this issue is “Griffin” (Michael Stuhlbarg) who steals every scene by prosaically describing some of the infinite dimensions that exist in the void before an observer solidifies one. Then of course, they end with the “a butterfly flaps its wings in Peking and it rains in New York City”, which works reasonably well.
Best quips: (J. observing K’s sandwich): “that stuff should be in a coffin, not a pita”. (O. Interpreting some data on the monitor): “That’s someone named Mick Jagger…..we think he was sent here to breed earth women”.
Worst feature: Josh Brolin. An excellent dramatic actor; doesn’t do silly comedy or sight gags well.
I give it 4 of 5 exploding alien heads.
1. Promethius. Quirky genius director Ridley Scott (Blade runner, Alien) rides again. Looks to be fantastic. IMAX 3-D will be a practical necessity.
2. Skyfall (James Bond). Will be out this Fall. Daniel Craig is the definitive Bond, a franchise entering a whole new life of film excellence. Will have an all-star cast including Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem. Will be a must-see.