In this edition of Trailer Thunderdome, we throw into the pit two sequels that nobody was really asking for. On one hand, Will Smith goes back to measuring the weird shit-o-meter. The other is trying to remind us that knowing is half the battle.
MEN IN BLACK 3: (2012. Directed by Barry Sonnerfeld.)
In the press release trumpeting the fact that Sony is using every streaming media asset it has (Including the PS3 in both direct download and streaming in their “Second Life” like “Playstation Home”.) to get this trailer in front of every possible eyeball, an adult man (Jeff Blake, Chairman of Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing and Distribution.) said the following with what I assume was a straight face.
Blake said, “We are always looking for new, innovative, and creative ways to reach moviegoers, and that is especially true with a title like Men in Black, one of our most important franchises.
If you just did a sudden internal double take, you’re not alone.
The first “Men in Black” movie was a perfectly enjoyable Sci-Fi comedy that took a halfway decent idea (A secret government agency that monitored extraterrestrial activity on earth.) and enlivened it with some sharp writing, deadpan direction by Sonnerfeld and and Tommy Lee Jones’ willingness to let Will Smith bounce his personality off of Jones’ stone faced visage.
The second one was made five years later and if memory served, it was like being hit in the face by a nerf bat for an hour and a half. It wasn’t painful but you felt your time could be better served doing something else.
And now you have this Blake guy saying about a sequel that’s coming TEN YEARS after the last one that it’s part on one of it’s most important franchises. And I get very confused.
The “Men in Black” movies are too low key and goofy to be considered events. If this was the forties, they’d be cranking out “Men in Black” movies with the same frequency as the Bowery Boys. And you know what? On that level they’d be perfectly enjoyable entertainments. Just swap out Will Smith for Huntz Hall and you’d be fine.
But because of the sheer expense of these things, they have to be hyped to reach the biggest possible audience. It’s like booking Bob Newhart into a stadium and expecting him to do Chris Rock numbers.
For what it’s worth, the trailer looks like it’s a piece with the other two. A couple of good gags. Some killer make up design. The big surprise is at the end when Josh Brolin show up as the young Kay. Seriously, he channels Jones so well, Jones should pay to have him digitally inserted into “The Betsy” so he can finally take that stinker off his CV.
I’m not getting a “Must See” vibe off of it. But I hope it does well if only for the slimmest possibility of a “Tick” movie.
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION: (2012. Directed by Jon M. Chu.)
So, Stephen Sommers makes a G.I. Movie that can best be described as gleeful in it’s ridiculousness. It does fair to middling business. (I’m guessing mostly due to prerelease photos of Rachel Nichols in form fitting body armor.) And has the distinction of being one of the earliest attempts to turn Canning Tatum into an action hero despite his total lack of personality.
(I keep trying to remember his performance but it’s getting drowned out by Christopher Eccleston in a purple suit.) And despite bad reviews and middling box office, they green lit a sequel. You may ask, “After seeing the first one, why would I bother with the second?”.
And they answer with, “This time, we’ve got THE MOTHERFUCKING ROCK!“.
The only proper response is “you have my attention.”.
So this time around, it’s still going to be action Kabuki but at least it’s anchored by someone who belongs at the center of an action movie.
Also, ninjas fighting on the side of a mountain.
So, GI Joe walks out of Trailer Thunderdome, it’s torso bloodied but head held high and with eight dollars in my money in it’s pocket.
But if there is no bad ass lovely dressed in skin tight kevlar, I will be disappointed.