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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Men in Black II
Men in Black II
Columbia/Tri-Star // PG-13 // November 26, 2002
List Price: $28.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Siechen | posted December 19, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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Men in Black based on the comic book characters is another semi-fun adventure with our world being inhabited by aliens who live as citizens and disguise themselves as humans.

This films holds with the same tradition of distinct stylings of the first Men in Black film - musical talents of Danny Elfman, Barry Sonnenfeld directing and starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. This time around we have a very similar story unfortunately that doesn't engage as much as the first but still is full of interesting characters, comical situations, and the men in black attitude none-the-less. This time Agent J (Will Smith) is on the job for MIB and must recruit his old partner Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) after time has passed with Agent K working in a post due to him being Neuralized years earlier. By this time Agent J is sick of his job as it just seems all too routine to him. The evil bad-boy (or girl) alien Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle) has landed on earth to find another secret mysterious object that will give it loads of power to dominate the universe.

The production design and effects work is still stunning and inspiring, but the fundamentals of the screenplay don't give them much to stand on. There just isnt much creativity here in the plot as much of it seems like outtakes from the first film. The biggest success in this film is Danny Elfmans musical score and Rick Baker's fantastic alien designs. Another nice addition is Frank the Pug who gets a lot more to do in this film and plays a fairly significant role in its outcome.

VIDEO: "Men in Black II" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This transfer is great but not without flaws. Sharpness and detail are present with no real noticeable artifacts.

SOUND: "Men in Black" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Danny Elfman's wonderful score is presented with plenty of depth and punchy rhythms, not to mention deep reinforcement from the surrounds. The rear speakers kick in for many sound effects but there's several stretches where nothing very significant going on the rears. The LFE channel kicks nicely when needed and enhances the action nicely.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: By director Barry Sonnenfeld, who often discusses what's currently happening in the film but more often talks about technical aspects of the production like effects, production design and editing details. If the option is turned on - viewers can see Sonnenfeld illustrating things on-screen as they happen.

Frank's Favorites: This section includes the absolutely brilliant "ChubbChubbs" animated short by Sony Pictures Imageworks that played before "MIB2" in some theaters last summer but not in the one I saw it in. It's extremely hilarious and a hidden jewel in the DVD. Also in this section are teaser and theatrical trailers for "MIB2", along with trailers for "Spider-Man", "Ghostbusters" and "The Mask of Zorro".

Alien Encounters: Feature where the viewer clicks a logo to see the related featurette. These featurettes offer a nice look into the production to see how some of the scenes were produced.

Special Delivery: MIB Orb: 9 featurettes where the viewers get the ability to choose which order they want to view the featurettes in. These pieces cover topics from Rick Baker's creature make-up effects to the visual FX to the ADR and the characters. I think the ability to choose the featurette you want to see is fine but I didnt like unnecessary feature of prioritizing them into a specific order.

Creature Featurettes: This section provides several short featurettes on Rick Bakers development of some of the creatures in the picture. Also in this section is a bonus featurette, "Barry Sonnenfeld's Intergalatic Guide To Comedy", which provides a few minutes of joking around about how director Barry Sonnenfeld's dry comedy style works.

Also: Scene Deconstructions, Animatics, Blooper Reel, Alternate Ending, Filmographies, Theatrical one-sheet posters, Will Smith music video and DVD-ROM features, including an interactive game, screensaver, web-links and more.

Summary: "Men in Black II" comes in second place to the first film, but can still entertain if you are truly a fan of the franchise. Columbia/Tristar have offered a very nice DVD of the film here and with the Chubb Chubbs short especially, it makes the DVD really worth while.
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