A Brief History
On June 14, 2019, the 4th movie in the Men in Black film series will be released across the United States, and luckily, we had the chance to preview the film ahead of time. We expected a lot from the new movie, since we loved the previous editions, especially the chemistry between Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. We were not disappointed! The new stars worked great together, and the special effects and aliens were everything we had expected and more.
Starring Chris Hemsworth as Agent H, the uber agent of the MIB team the way James Bond is the star of British Intelligence, a new recruit played by Tessa Thompson (Agent M) is positioned as his understudy as a probationary agent. The 2 agents investigate and fight their way through a plot to seize the ultimate weapon in the Universe, while trying to discover whether or not a “mole” is working against the MIB team from within. Star power is enhanced by casting Liam Neeson as High T, the supervisor in charge of the British branch of MIB and mentor to Agent H, and Emma Thompson as Agent O, Chief of the US branch of MIB. (Note: Emma and Tessa Thompson are not related.) Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, both aged 35, worked together previously on Thor: Ragnarok (2017).
The latest edition of the MIB series is loaded with colorful characters, both frightening and amusing at the same time. The script is heavy on comedy and judging from appropriate laughter at all the right places our test audience obviously thought the jokes worked. In fact, audience approval was nearly universal. We were a little apprehensive about the omission of the 2 previous starring characters (Jones and Smith), but the new stars worked out just fine with great chemistry, engaging in verbal sparring and with a sexual tension overlapping their working relationship. Agent H is a suave, Bond-esque ladies’ man, while Agent M is a somewhat prim, practical, ascetic previously immune to romantic interests. The juxtaposition of the characters works great!
The CGI effects for the aliens is outstanding, as is the vast array of weapons employed by our hero agents. As stated above, the movie is heavy on eye candy and is nice and bright and colorful, traits we have come to look forward to in movies. Our hero agents travel about the Globe in order to solve the central mystery of the plot, and the exotic locations are not just CGI but are actual film locations, lending a nice touch to the credibility of the film.
The film has an adequate budget of $110 million and a running time of 115 minutes, though it seems shorter due to the relentless action and quickly moving story line. Director F. Gary Gray has previously directed such successful films as The Fate of the Furious (2017), The Italian Job (2003), Be Cool (2005), and Law Abiding Citizen (2009) so he obviously knows how to keep a movie plot moving in the right direction without getting bogged down. Rotten Tomatoes, the aggregate movie critic site, reports a disappointing score of 29% by its critics, although it does not yet have an audience rating. We strongly suspect MIB: International will follow the common trend of late and produce a much higher audience approval rating than the critics would imply. People want to be entertained! MIB: International entertains and does it with style in keeping with the other films of the franchise. The film is not a documentary, nor is it a serious attempt to provide a what if type of possible reality. It is a funny action film high on the fantasy end and it works.
We enthusiastically recommend Men in Black: International for all audiences and despite lots of cartoonish violence and a death scene, we believe even young, well balanced children would be unlikely to be upset over the movie. The film is rated PG-13, presumably because of the violence.
Question for Students (and others): What is your favorite alien themed movie? Let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Belcher, RS. Men In Black International: The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books, 2019.
Fitzpatrick, Lisa, and Sharon Gosling. Men In Black: The Extraordinary Visual Companion to the Films. Titan Books, 2019.
The featured image in this article, a theatrical film poster of Men in Black: International, serves as the primary means of visual identification of the subject, illustrating a single educational article. This image is of a poster, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher or the creator of the work depicted. It is believed that the use of scaled-down, low-resolution images of posters to provide critical commentary on the film in question qualifies as fair use under the copyright law of the United States.