Movies: Men in Black III

I’ve had trouble deciding what to say about this movie. It was definitely entertaining, but not particularly memorable. Like many “threequels,” it is superior to its immediate predecessor but not nearly as good as the original.

We had originally planned to spend Memorial Day at the Iowa Renaissance Festival at Amana Colonies, but Jon’s knee was not doing well and Renaissance Fairs mean lots of walking. An afternoon in a movie theater seemed like a good alternative that the family could enjoy together.

We opted for the 3D version, partly because Jon figures any movie is cooler in 3D, and partly because there were more choices of movie times so that we could find one to fit our schedule. I didn’t notice the 3D aspects of the movie much – I don’t know if that’s because they were fairly subtle or just that I’m getting used to seeing movies in 3D. I suspect I wouldn’t have lost a lot by seeing it in 2D.

The plot of MIB 3 revolves around the idea of time travel. I enjoy sci-fi that deals with time travel, but this movie did nothing particularly original with the subject. The point in history picked as the focus is the launch of Apollo 11. I remember watching the moon landing, but I never saw the launch as all that interesting.

I am surprised, looking at the “Goofs” section of imdb.com’s site on MIB 3, how many historical details they managed to get wrong. None of them are material to the plot, and only people looking for such mistakes are likely to catch them, but you would think that with the kind of budget they work with, and the focus on time travel, that they would have made sure of getting things like that right.

I suppose what disappointed me most was the characters. I read other viewers’ reviews saying that the banter between Agents J and K was as great as ever, but I didn’t see it that way. The older K seemed more tired or wooden than deadpan. The younger K admittedly did a great job, but I just didn’t see the chemistry there between him and J that made the first MIB so appealing.

A relatively minor character named Griffin was actually the highlight of the movie for me. Both the character concept and the way Michael Stuhlbarg played Griffin were great. I don’t really hope there is a MIB 4, but I agree with Jon that if there is, they’d better bring back Griffin and give him a significant role in the movie.

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