Extra-terrestrial busters Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones will be back in black suits and Ray-bans when Men in Black III arrives in theaters May 25. This time, Agent Jay (Smith) time travels to the 1960s to stop an alien from assassinating his partner, Agent Kay (Jones) and thus altering the future.
Anyone needing their memories refreshed about the previous comedic adventures of these operatives from Division 6, the unofficial federal agency that monitors Earth's strange visitors from other planets, can catch up with the re-releases of Men In Black (1997, Sony, PG-13, $20) and Men in Black II (2002, Sony, PG-13, $20) on Blu-ray. It's MIBII's first time in high definition and special features include commentary with director Barry Sonnenfeld, five behind-the-scenes featurettes, an alternate ending, blooper reel, Sonnenfeld's "Intergalactic Guide to Comedy," Smith's Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head) music video and a demo of a new Men in Black video game. The original film's Blu-ray exclusive trivia game, an alien subtitle track and the feature "Ask Frank the Pug!" also are part of the package.
Men In Black, which was based on a Marvel comic book series by Lowell Cunningham, first paired the ultra-stoic veteran Kay and wisecracking rookie Jay. They spend much of their time keeping track of alien refugees who have been granted asylum on Earth and are disguised as humans.
A fleet of the space-faring Arquillians arrives in the planet's orbit and gives Division 6 one hour (a standard galactic week) to avoid obliteration by keeping a cockroach-like terrorist (Vincent D'Onofrio) from obtaining a powerful artifact. Kay takes it all in stride, telling the nervous Jay: "There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they do not know about it!"
That kind of tongue-in-cheek dialogue, along with cheeky cultural references and outlandish high-tech weapons (including the memory-erasing neuralyzer), helped the movie gross more than $250 million domestically, and led to the sequel five years later.
In MIB II, Jay is teamed with a talkative pug named Frank (voiced by Tim Blaney) after going through a bunch of new partners. Kay, who used the neuralyzer on himself when he decided to retire, has information in his head that Jay needs in order to stop Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), a Kylothian shape-shifter posing as a lingerie model who is bent on world destruction .
The film retained enough of the snarkiness of original that it pulled in $190 million at the U.S. box office.
When Jay goes to restore his former partner's memories so that they can save the planet, he finds him working in a rural post office under the name Kevin Brown. They renew their partnership and Jay has to remind the veteran that he's not a newbie anymore: "While you were off licking stamps I saved the world from the Crelon invasion."
Kay, unimpressed, responds: "The Crelons are the Backstreet Boys of the universe. What did they do? Throw snowballs at you?"