Men in Black II [Blu-Ray] Barry Sonnenfeld

Men in Black II [Blu-Ray] Barry Sonnenfeld
Blu-Ray is definitely the best format in which to view Barry Sonnenfeld's silly, colourful and largely pointless comedy caper sequel to the odd-couple policing Earth's alien population blockbuster, Men in Black. In this suspiciously brief follow-up, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return as Agents J and K, battling a plant creature, in the form of a gluttonous underwear model, played by Laura Flynn Boyle. The excuse to play Smith's cocky quips and Jones's beyond-deadpan against a bunch of wacky space creatures and a talking pug is something called the Light of Zartha, a world saving, or destroying, power. Plant lady wants it and only K knows where, or what, it is. The only trouble? He was neuralyzed (memory-wiped) at the end of the last film in order to return to a regular life. So, between the prop-based gags, interchangeable one-liners, celebrity cameos and slapstick action, the plot is driven almost solely by the need to recover K's memory, giving the filmmakers an excuse to revisit popular characters from the first instalment. There is an underdeveloped sub-plot about putting duty before love, but ultimately narrative takes a back seat to the wildly inventive creature and production design. The glut of bonus content committed to giving these craftsmen their due proves to be more engaging than the movie itself. "Design in Motion" looks at the heavy impact of production designer Bo Welsh on the overall presentation of the Men in Back universe. He discusses his ideas with an infectious exuberance that's reflected in the finished product. Even more engaging is a talk with legendary movie monster designer Rick Baker, in "Alien Maker." The lengthy feature touches on Baker's professional history, his approach to, and process of, designing prosthetics, CGI and animatronics for MIB II's real stars, and gives a nod to the crew members tasked to less glamorous jobs like mould making. Production features on ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement), sound effects, individual creature designs of major players like Frank the Pug and Johnny Knoxville's two-headed dufus henchman, and Danny Elfman's propulsive and playful score, are no less detailed, illuminating both the mundane and exciting elements of jobs that are often overlooked or marginalized in bonus content. Elfman fans and critics alike should find "Cosmic Symphonies" to be of particular interest, with the man himself discussing the perception that he doesn't arrange his pieces, explaining the role of an orchestrator in translating his dense scores into something playable by an orchestra, openly pointing out some of his key influences and talking to Sonnenfeld about using the absence of sound for comedic effect. Sonnenfeld's dry, acerbic sense of humour comes across throughout the features, save in his matter-of-fact commentary track, but especially in his "Intergalactic Guide to Comedy," in which he reveals his rules of comedy: shoot low and wide; actors should speak flat and fast; don't try to be funny; and do it faster. Apparently Will Smith is exempt from the second and third rules; he mugs his way through the entire movie. Also included: a prop-based alternate ending that avoids even the slight character development of the ending used, a blooper reel featuring the many different takes that resulted in the naming of the "ball-chinian" (I like gonada-neck), an animatic of the opening scene, a multi-angle scene deconstruction and a crappy video for the even crappier, tired-sounding, obligatory Will Smith song. (Sony)