There is a standing joke in our household about the amount of times we have recommended a certain film to our friends, having completely forgotten we had mentioned it so many times before. I think it was during some of our many senior moments that seem to come more and more frequently!
The film in question is Men In Black, a 1997 film starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. I am sure many of you have already seen it more than once but at the time of its release, it really grabbed my attention and I think I must have watched it at least ten times since then.The main part of the plot revolves around its main character, an irreverent, athletic New York cop called James Edwards, (brilliantly played by Will Smith), who is recruited by a Secret Government Agency who police the comings and goings of Aliens already living on Planet Earth.
After his almost superhuman efforts to chase down a criminal, (who turns out to be an Alien), cop Edwards is recruited by the agency’s top veteran Agent K, comically portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones. After having his memory wiped by some zapping tool, then given a new ID, super special black glasses and a black suit and matching shoes, (hence the title Men in Black), the newly formed partnership embark on a task of finding a jewel with a secret inside which has been stolen by some intergalactic terrorist. The crazy pair have a few short hours to get the jewel, kill the bad guy and save the world. Well you wouldn’t expect anything less as this was made in America after all. !!
For me this film has all the elements that make for a fantastic couple of hours worth of pure escapism. The script was brilliantly written, the cast is great and the story was just something a little different for its time. The comedy within the film works really well and seems to suit Will Smiths’ comedic style perfectly. I always judge the success of a film on whether it can make me forget where I am and engage me totally. Which is why I hate films with advert breaks and get annoyed if the doorbell or phone rings whilst I am watching something. Men in Black succeeded on all fronts in helping me to lose myself, keep me interested and make me laugh too.
I originally intended to write about some of the funnier and more dramatic scenes to get you interested, but as I looked back at the film, I quickly realised that some of those scenes need the element of surprise to make them work at their best, so in order not to spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it, I have left out some of the better parts which actually made the film one of my favourites.
If you haven’t yet seen it, go and find a copy, the DVD is the best option as there are a number of extras on the disc which give a lot more fun. In particular I love the Music Video which showcases another talent or two from Will Smith. That boy can really sing, dance and act his little socks off when called for and all credit due to him.
Men In Black is certainly an entertaining way to spend an evening at home. I thoroughly recommend it.
I am generally not a fan of sequels as they often appear to be just a crafty way of the film companies trying to milk a little more from the original success. Whilst there are one or two exceptions, Men In Black 2 is certainly not one of them. I found that particular sequel to be one of the most boring, unfunny pieces of cinema I have ever seen. On paper it should have worked as it retained many of the original cast, the original storyline had a few miles left in it and I think it could have worked well, but for me the story line in the sequel was a lazy copy of the first film and it wasn’t even disguised as something new. it left me disinterested after 25 minutes. So I would give that one a miss!
By Alan Hill (MOF)