Agents J and K are back! It’s been ten years since we last saw the agents in black who secretly protect the Earth from a constant alien threat. Once again directed by Barry Sonnenfeld the third movie in the MiB series starts with the introduction of Boris the Animal ("It's just Boris!") played by Jermaine Clement from Flight of the Concords fame. It’s nice to see him in such a contrasting role compared to his normal comedic self. When we first meet Boris the Animal he is being kept prisoner in Lunamax which is a penal facility on the moon designed specifically for him. Of course he escapes and plans to get revenge on the man who put him there - K (Tommy Lee Jones).
Back in MiB headquarters, J and K and its other members are mourning the loss of Agent Z (excellently portrayed by somewhat disgraced Rip Torn in the previous two installments), now running things is Agent O (Emma Thompson). I personally think it's a shame that Z couldn’t return as I always felt like he was an integral part of MiB universe.
Boris the Animal plans to return to the year 1969, stop his arrest and kill Agent K in the process. So it's up to Agent J (Will Smith) to go back to '69 before Boris arrives and stop his nefarious plans. In order to do this J has to ‘time jump’ which literally involves jumping off something really high (and no I don’t mean while stoned!). The visual effects involved in this really lend to the 3D depth effect as when J is falling he actually falls through different time periods, I enjoyed this more than most other recent 3D additions to movies.
Once successfully back in the Sixties, J manages to find Boris but is actually apprehended before he can succeed in killing him. By whom? The young Agent K! Josh Brolin portrays the young K wonderfully, he manages to capture Tommy Lee Jones’ performance, mannerisms and voice so much so I couldn’t believe it wasn’t actually him at first! Because of J’s alien tech he is taken back to MiB headquarters and interrogated by K, he seems friendlier but doesn’t trust J. It eventually takes the truth, that J is in fact from the future for K to believe him. While on the hunt for clues they go to ‘The Factory’ and meet Andy Warhol who is secretly the great Bill Hader in disguise and an alien called Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg).
Griffin has a unique skill - he can see alternate dimensions simultaneously and thus predict the future, which helps! He informs the agents that in order to deploy the ArcNet (a shield to protect earth from the Bogladites - Boris’ species) they would have to attach it to the top of Apollo 11 before it is launched the very next day.
J, K and Griffin make their way to Cape Canaveral on massive rockets of their own! Security make things difficult once they arrive but with the help of Griffin and his talents they get escorted to the launch gantry to reach the rocket's top. Not only is Boris the Animal there ready to stop them but so is his other self - double trouble! Both agents battle their own Boris and finally succeed in deploying the ArcNet.
Certain things in this film do not quite feel right, the lack of Z in both the present and the past, K’s relationship with O (why isn’t this mentioned in the future?) and both Smith and Jones feel like they are just going through the motions. That said I did enjoy it! About the same level as the previous outings, the third movie is worth watching for the gross effects and fun 3D as well as some brilliant performances by the supporting cast - Michael Stuhlbarg, Bill Hader and of course the star player Josh Brolin.
Defend the galaxy, learn its secrets and remember just look into the light... *FLASH!*
Stefan Harkins is still sniggering at the use of the word 'penal'!