It's been 4 years since Will Smith was last seen on screen but it's been 10 years since Men in Black II. On my part, there was a lot of curiosity about how the film would hold up. Are audiences still interested in the Men in Black franchise? Does Will Smith still have star power? There was a period of about 8 years where everything he touched turned to gold. He owned summer blockbusters but his recent turns toward the dramatic may have taken its' toll.
Men in Black 3 picks up with Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) with the same old shtick from the previous installments. The bad guy is Boris the Animal, who is an assassin the K put in a specially designed moon prison back in the early days of his career. When Boris escapes, vows revenge, and K escapes his grasp he hatches a plan to travel back in time and kill K with the help of his past self. When J learns what has happened and puts the pieces together with the new leader of Men in Black "O" (played by Emma Thompson) he travels back to 1969 to help a younger K (played by Josh Brolin) stop Boris' plot.
So, will an audience still enjoy a Men in Black film? Does Will Smith still have blockbuster star power? Yes and yes. It doesn't have the same wonder to it as the first films but it's still just as much fun and personally, I think it's the best one of the franchise. Will Smith was able to return to his early days of being the wise-cracking, fast-talking Will Smith that we all loved. Josh Brolin reportedly spent a lot of time with Tommy Lee Jones to learn his mannerisms and speech patterns so he could duplicate it near perfectly. The bad guy was sinister, scary, and ruthless. Even the 3D was some of the best I've seen in a while.
Men in Black 3 is just a fun movie to watch. I give it 10 starts out of 11 even though my kids think it deserves and 11. It's a good movie blockbuster that the whole family can watch. We saw it in 3D and it was pretty good. The Rave Theater has a new curved floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall screen that should add a new element to the experience if you're looking for something different this week.
I had a chance to interview Emma Thompson who replaces Rip Torn as the head of the MiB agency and asked her what the atmosphere was like on the set of this movie as well as her alien linguistic skills.
Today's Box Office: "What was the atmosphere on the set?"
Emma Thompson: "It was so much fun, for me it was an absolute joy. I didn't have very long on the set, you know, I was only there for about two weeks and then went back about a year later after having done about a million things and they were still shooting it. I loved it because Barry Sonnenfeld runs a very egalitarian, very fun, a very open-hearted set and Will's one of the nicest people on the face of the planet and Tommy Lee's just kind of deliciously grumpy. So, the whole thing works."
TBO: "You're fluent in Spanish and French, but for a scene in the movie you had to speak an alien language. Are you now fluent in that as well?"
Thompson: "Yeah, I am. (makes alien noises) That's just them saying "yeah, yes I am" in that particular language. (makes more noises) So, yeah, it came very easily to me that one, yeah.
TBO: "Was it written in the script that way or did you have to improvise it?"
Thompson: "No, how would they write it, Jonathan? How would they write that down? They couldn't write it down, could they? Because it's MAD NOISES so I just opened my mouth and hoped that something interesting would come out. And then Barry would say, I get halfway through going (makes alien noises) and he'd say "could you make it slightly sadder?" and I go "Sadder?! Okay, alright I'll try." That was a lot of fun."
TBO: "Put more emphasis on the word (makes alien noise)?"
Thompson: "Yes, exactly."
Also coming out this week is the found footage horror film Chernobyl Diaries. Next week is Snow White and the Huntsman and the dance movie Battlefield America.
Some sad news for those of you looking forward to G.I. Joe: Retaliation: Paramount has decided to delay the film's release originally slated for July 29th to March 29th...of 2013. The studio wants to make more money and convert the film to 3D.