Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Men in Black II (2002) Review:

In the first Men in Black, the audience was introduced to new concepts of how life can take on different forms. That people are not always human beings. So either this sequel is trying to still convince us that this idea remains the same or the screenwriters thought that no one remembered what happened five years ago when the first film came out. That's the disappointing part, however, the good part is that most of original elements are kept the same with some different features.

J tries to help K remember certain things...
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back as the Men in Black, well at least they both are when half of the film is over. That's right, what could've been a great follow up movie from start to finish, ended up being an OK sequel. The story revolves around that Smith needs information from Jones, the problem is that Jones' memory was wiped from the first one. So did the producers of this film think reviving Jones' memory was a new idea? If that was the case, they never should've erased Jones' memory in the first place. There's no logic behind the thinking here.

What really makes the first half of the film really silly is how Jones is portrayed. The first Men in Black (1997) was great because Jones came off as a callous, unforgiving mentor and it was funny to see Smith try and figure out what was going on. Now the roles are switched, Smith knows what he's talking about while Jones is lost amongst the clouds. I'll admit there were some funny parts but there weren't enough. In a way, this film could've played as the first one (if the other had never been released). Some of the scenes even resemble previous ones too well. Plus some key things that made the first one funny were left out. For example, the "Noisy Cricket" Smith used, made him fly backward. In this film Jones uses it (more than once) and he doesn't go flying anywhere. Alright, who forget to keep things the same here?

Lara Flynn Boyle as the villain
What did work in this film are the special effects, the dialog, the music and the last half of this film in general. Since the budget was ramped up on this sequel much of the special effects look even better than of the first one. The creatures are more interesting to look at too. My favorite alien is Jeff the subway worm. Nothing can get scarier than that, especially if you're unfamiliar with Men in Black! The dialog is kept the same as the first one, which is great. Smith still has all the cool funny sayings while Jones has all the intellectual funny lines. Even Zed has a few comedic moments unlike the first one.

Finally, just like the last soundtrack, Danny Elfman composed the music for this film. I'm glad not everything had changed. It still has its science fiction feeling to it. As for the last half of the movie, its just great to watch because things go back to how they REALLY used to be from the first film. For the most part, keeping the formula the same in films is a good thing. There are exceptions to the rule but this finally catches up with itself in the last half. That's when this sequel truly looks good.

Its story is uninspired for the first half of its running time but once it passes that mark, things go back to the way they originally were. Hardcore fans will enjoy it but to expect something really entertaining for regular audiences will be setting a standard that is too high for this sequel to reach.

Points Earned --> 6:10

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