Of thrice and men

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - E Guide Movies -

Q. CAN you ran­domly se­lect 10 words to make a sen­tence that has never been spo­ken, nor writ­ten, in the his­tory of all mankind?

A. I Wish There Was A Third Men In Black Movie.

Yes, here by a to­tal lack of public de­mand is Men in Black 3.

This messy, over­bear­ingly loud and barely di­vert­ing ac­tion com­edy hap­pens right in front of you – then high- tails it out of your mem­ory for good.

You won’t be need­ing a Neu­r­a­lyzer to be for­get­ting this in a hurry.

( That’s a joke from the first two Men in Blacks. If you don’t get it, you’ve al­ready been Neu­r­a­lyzed. As a re­sult, read no fur­ther. Men in Black 3 may just be the movie for you.)

Re­lat­ing a sat­is­fac­tory synop­sis is dif­fi­cult. That’s not just be­cause Men in Black 3 is dif­fi­cult to re­late to and rarely sat­is­fies.

Agent J ( Will Smith) must jour­ney back to the 1960s to save the life of his part­ner, Agent K ( Tommy Lee Jones).

A one- armed alien named Boris the An­i­mal ( Flight of the Con­chords’ Je­maine Clement) has mag­i­cally re- writ­ten his­tory so that K dies at the launch of Apollo 11 in 1969.

J must buddy up with the younger, groovier K ( played by Josh Brolin) and keep him alive so that ev­ery­thing can re­turn to as it should be.

While there is some high- con­cept stuff go­ing on about dis­obey­ing the laws of time, the view­ers’ care fac­tor is guar­an­teed to re­main quite low.

Per­for­mances are ever so slightly stilted. Brolin does an un­canny im­pres­sion of a youth­ful Tommy Lee Jones, but leaves no im­pres­sion oth­er­wise. Jones him­self can barely feign in­ter­est in his sec­tions of the movie.

Clement earns a pass mark as the vil­lain, but doesn’t get to do any­thing funny. Given his re­pute as a co­me­dian – and a gifted one at that – the Con­chord is de­nied all chance of lift- off.

Even Will Smith is nowhere near the top of his game. This is per­haps un­der­stand­able. It has been four years since he last starred in a movie. Dude is rusty.

Are there any pos­i­tives? Just the vi­su­als. Not so much the spe­cial ef­fects, mind you, but the com­po­si­tion go­ing on within the frame.

To the naked eye – or the fully- dressed one, for that mat­ter – Men in Black 3 is a beau­ti­fully ar­ranged picture. Ev­ery per­son, prop and pixel has been placed to per­fec­tion be­fore the cam­era.

Switch off the sound and cut out all the bits where peo­ple yap or mon­sters go splat, and you’ve got the most strik­ing screen- saver ever made.

So let’s in­scribe the Men in Black fran­chise tomb­stone as fol­lows: Hit film 1997. Hacky se­quel 2002. Hardly mat­ters 2012. LEIGH PAATSCH Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

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