Mon July 8, 2002
Men in Black II
Give the movie a "B" because Smith and Jones are too good to be too bad...
By Clay Lowe, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wildflower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake, "Auguries of Innocence"
The ozone layer's thinner, the sun's hotter, and the air's
already too humid as waves of summer blockbusters continue to sweep teeners, and their younger siblings, off from the steamy streets and into the frigid-air conditioned movie theatres in Columbus, Ohio.
Surfing in on the crest of the latest new wave of hopeful money makers is Barry Sonnenfeld's "Men in Black II."
Featuring Will Smith and Tommie Lee Jones, who have been re-cast in their original roles, the only thing MiB2 really has going for it is this too, too kool salt and pepper duo.
The original themes in this everything-morphs-into-something-else movie ran their course the first time around. By now, anyone who's ever read William Blake knows there's a universe in a grain of sand. And anybody's whose seen "Mulholland Drive" knows that what appears to be real, probably isn't.
But who cares about stuff like that? The kids have come to see the movie's great special effects. And they've come to watch government agents Smith and Jones blast away at the bad guys with those nifty space guns cradled in their arms on the movie's slick and glossy poster.
On these counts, no one should be disappointed. The movie's crawling with serpentine-like creatures and unspeakably ugly critters that keep coming at you in all shapes and sizes.
And even the fans who got off on the firepower unleashed in "Black Hawk Down" will not be disappointed when agents Smith and Jones finally start unloading on the evil space invaders. Life is a video game, folks.
Audiences who grew up in the days when movies were straight and linear quite likely will prefer "Spider Man." But kids attached to video game monitors, TV screens and movies like "The Matrix," will have no trouble dealing with the multilayered plots and themes of "Men and Black II."
Give the movie a "B" because Smith and Jones are too good to be too bad - even though Tommie Lee appears to be sleepwalking throughout most of the film.
Note: Of special interest to Columbus watchers,John Berton, the visual effects supervisor for "Men in Black II," was in my video production class at OSU in 1981, and was my graduate teaching associate in 1982. Kudos to another OSU grad who's making movies, not selling shoes.
Clay Lowe co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time" and programs the film series at the Columbus Musuem of Art.