Men in Black has been lauded as one of the better summer movies by critics. While I think it is an engaging movie, I didn't feel it was much better than some of the other stuff (The Lost World and The Fifth Element) we've seen this year.
What may seem pleasant to the average moviegoer is the self-effacing tone of the movie and the ability of the characters to laugh at themselves. Unfortunately, many of the cool punch lines and effects were already shown in the trailers. And aside from the gags and the background about how aliens live on this planet, there's not much substance to this movie.
The plot is relatively simple: one of the aliens (in the form of an old Jewish person, played by ) has within his possession an object sought by another alien (a bug in the form of a redneck (Vincent D'Onofrio)). Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J (Will Smith), the Men in Black, must stop the bug from leaving earth with the said object to prevent the annihilation of the planet earth.
Since the movie runs about 1:30 hours, it holds one's attention and there are times when it's particularly funny or particularly gross, as it lampoons the entire sci-fi/horror genre. What is interesting is also the film's depiction of alien life in the U.S., living just like you and me and infiltrating our political, social, and economic infrastructures. There's a nice rationale explanation for supermarket tabloid headlines, which, if nothing else, is quite novel. The theme music by Danny Elfman is quite good.
The ending clearly leaves room for an obvious sequel. Let's hope this possibility is also part of the parody of movies that have spawned pointless sequel after sequel (cf. Jurassic Park, Batman, and Speed).
In light of the recent explanations by the Government about the Roswell incident, it seems to me that Agent K's words about the people being better off when they don't know the truth is, in a sense, a justification for many covert operations. But this is only if you fear the unknown.
The first best part of watching Men in Black 2 was the introductory cartoon short about the Chubb Chubbs which parodies films like Star Wars and, well, Star Wars. I wish more films opened with cartoon shorts, just like in the good old days.
The second part best part has to do with the final second, where Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) illustrates the role of humanity in the cosmos to a self-righteous Agent Jay (Will Smith). Other than that, watching this film is just like watching the first one.
The plot is terrible and does nothing to service the film. For some strange reason, an evil alien, taking on the form of a Victoria's Secret model (Lara Flynn Boyle), is after the "Light of Zartha". Not supposed to be hidden on earth (but it actually is), Agents Kay and Jay are the only ones that stand between her and the Light (whose location only Agent Kay knows).
All the actors involved do a good job except those who play the primary protagonists of the film. Smith and Jones seem like they're in some kind of a trance, going through the motions. While I can understand their being bored at rehashing everything they did just a few years ago, I'm sure they could've been a little more convincing at looking interested in what they were doing, given that they're actors and all. But I guess they didn't need to.
The effects, set design, as well as the different kinds of aliens are definitely captivating. The aliens have the best lines in the film and there are some decent humourous parts involving them, including one of Frank barking to the "chorus" of Who Let the Dogs Out?, and the worms playing Twister.
Men in Black 2 is definitely a good time killer, and worth watching on the big screen, or renting. Consider yourself a winner if you can repeat: What product placements?