It’s been ten years since we last visited with Agent J and Agent K. Presumably, during that time, they’ve been busy protecting the Earth from the scum of the universe. The thing is that there really is no real reason for Men in Black 3 other than to be a blatant cash grab.
In this latest installment, the character played by Will Smith has to travel back in time to visit a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones (played quite accurately by Josh Brolin). He has to change the course of history or else our little blue planet is doomed.
As can be expected, there are some fun sight gags at the expense of the agents and the aliens. We see them getting smacked around for some cheap slapstick humor, but MIB3 has lost the originality of, well, the original. Smith is still likeable and there are some cheesy “aww” moments toward the end, but there is just something lacking from the formula.
After visiting the Ancient Mayan ruins in real life last month, I felt compelled to watch Mel Gibson’s take on the area and the end of the world. Interestingly, this movie really has nothing to do with 2012 at all.
Instead, Apocalypto takes place during the Spanish invasion of what is now Latin America. We see the warring tribes in the area, fighting one another for survival. We witness utterly gruesome human sacrifice and we see the pain in the eyes of the characters as they watch their brothers and sisters fall victim. It’s all quite brutal, but it lacks a sense of human connection with the individual characters.
For my part, the overall narrative lacked enough depth to make the tale particularly compelling. It really is the setting and atmosphere that take center stage, rather than the individual characters. Much is left unexplained, but somehow we’re not motivated enough to care.
The Grey (2011)
This is a very different role for Liam Neeson than playing Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins. Instead, he’s a man that someone finds himself stranded in the Arctic after a tragic plane crash. Many of his cohorts are killed and the survivors are left to fend for themselves, realizing that waiting for a rescue team is essentially suicide.
As if battling through the biting cold and the lack of rations wasn’t enough, the characters in The Grey have to deal with what appears to be a pack of very aggressive and intelligent wolves. And these wolves don’t appear to be hunting them for food.
Naturally, we find personalities that clash and some less than wise decisions are made. The action proceeds at a slow and methodical pace, not unlike the strategy that Neeson’s character takes to survive. It’s bleak and it’s chilling, but such is life in the desolate north.