Re-Watch: Men in Black (1997)

Men in Black
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer: Ed Solomon
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub

James (Will Smith) is a young and very talented police officer who catches the eye of the Men in Black – a secret government organization charged with dealing with alien life on earth – when he almost arrests an alien. One of the Men in Black, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) recruits James, now Agent J. And in just in time, too, so that the two of them can prevent the end of the world.

I don’t even know how many times I have seen this film. I watched it pretty regularly as a kid and then a little more irregularly as an adult. So of course there’s a whole lot of nostalgia and fond memories that I connect with this film. But even without that, it’s just an entertaining, creative and above all fun movie.

What Men in Black exudes most is this utter sense of play. It feels like everybody involved in this film just had fun – from the script writer to the people who designed the aliens to the actors. And this gets transferred to the audience.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones have good chemistry together and the way J’s incessant talking just bounces of K keeps both of them from getting annoying. Plus, there’s just some really funny dialogue.

It’s been a while since I last saw the film. And I was actually quite surprised by Laurel (Linda Fiorentino). I didn’t remember her being so feminist. I enjoyed that a whole lot. I mean, the film is not an amazing feminist manifesto, but at least it tries.

The plot is predictable, but you’re carried along from moment to moment and you enjoy yourself all the time.

Summarising: Honest to goodness fun.

10 thoughts on “Re-Watch: Men in Black (1997)

  1. Several things about this film are worth watching: (1) it’s fucking fun; (2) Jones’ deadpan performance; (3) its inventiveness and clever references. Thing I liked a lot about this film were the references to actual science and in-jokes referencing conspiracy theories. You’ve got the Men in Black, obviously, but also: the joke about the Great Attractor being a sentient being responsible for the 1977 blackout; or the fact that tabloid papers are the source for real news. Good stuff. More blockbusters should be like the first MIB.

  2. Pingback: Re-Watch: Men in Black II (2002) « Stuff

  3. Pingback: Men in Black III (2012) « Stuff

  4. Pingback: Men in Black: International (2019) | kalafudra's Stuff

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