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Men in Black I and II [Blu-ray]
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Men in Black
A sci-fi adventure comedy about two top secret agents (Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith) with the everyday mission of policing alien activities on planet Earth. The Men in Black's current assignment: to stop an intergalactic terrorist from making Earth his next victim.
Offers Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovakian and Slovene subtitles.
Men in Black II
Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are back in black as the scum-fighting super-agents Kay and Jay--regulators of all things alien on planet earth. Their latest mission: to save the world from a total intergalactic disaster.
Offers Dutch, French, Italian and Spanish subtitles.
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MEN IN BLACK  Follows the exploits of Agent Kay [Tommy Lee Jones] and Agent Jay [Will Smith], members of the top secret organisation established to monitor alien activity on Earth. The MIB find themselves in the middle of a deadly plot by an intergalactic terrorist [Vincent D’Onofrio] who has arrived on Earth to assassinate two ambassadors from opposing galaxies. Agents Kay and Jay face a simple imperative: track down the interloper or the Earth will be destroyed. It’s all in a day’s work for the ‘Men in Black.’
MEN IN BLACK II  Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are back as the scum-fighting super-agents Kay and Jay, regulators of all things alien on planet Earth. Their latest mission: to save the world from a total intergalactic disaster! When a renegade Kylothian monster disguised as a lingerie model threatens the survival of the human race, the boys of the MIB get the call to step up and get busy. With their headquarters under siege and time is running out, Agents Kay and Jay enlist the help of Frank the Pug and a posse of hard-living worms to help then kick some seriously sexy alien butt!
MEN IN BLACK Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Mike Nussbaum, Jon Gries, Sergio Calderón, Carel Struycken, Fredric Lehne, Richard Hamilton, Kent Faulcon, John Alexander, Keith Campbell, Patrick Breen, Becky Ann Baker, Sean Whalen, David Cross and Tim Blaney (voice of Frank the Pug)
MEN IN BLACK II Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Rip Torn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shalhoub, Patrick Warburton, Jack Kehler, David Cross, Colombe Jacobsen, John Alexander, Michael Jackson (Agent M cameo), Peter Graves and Tim Blaney (voice of Frank the Pug)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Producers: Laurie MacDonald, Steven Spielberg and Walter F. Parkes
Screenplay: Ed Solomon, Barry Fanaro and Robert Gordon
Composer: Danny Elfman
Cinematography: Donald Peterman and Greg Gardiner
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital, German: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, German: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Hungarian: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish: 5.1 Dolby Digital [Voice Original] and Russian: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Arabic and Bulgarian
Running Time: 98 minutes and 88 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘MEN IN BLACK’  This is a playfully hip and hilarious comedy about an unofficial government agency of the same name that protects the Earth from the scum of the universe, teams Smith with the formidable Tommy Lee Jones. This is Tommy Lee Jones at his best in being terse, coiled, and fiercely funny. Instead of competing, Tommy Lee Jones complements Will Smith's endearing quality with his own distinctively witty growl. Barry Sonnenfeld deftly orchestrates the intricate two-part harmony, and with Smith and Jones, you definitely have a powerhouse a dynamic comic pair, that makes it all look very easy.
You'll marvel at the creature effects devised by Industrial Light and Magic and makeup whiz Rick Baker. The wallop would be far less, of course, if Barry Sonnenfeld and screenwriter Ed Solomon hadn't adapted the Lowell Cunningham comic-book series, The Men in Black, with an eye to keeping the flights of fancy grounded in character. Smith's cop is as cynical as we are when Jones' Agent Kay, a veteran at MIB and tells him that there are thousands of aliens walking around on our planet. "Luckily," says Agent Kay, "most of them are concentrated in Manhattan." The Big Apple is the location of MIB's secret headquarters, run by a boss man played with gleeful bluster by Rip Torn. It is inside this Ellis Island for ETs that visiting species are processed for entry. A crafty joke involves aliens in human form being monitored for mischief on a giant video screen. I caught TV weatherman Al Roker and Steven Spielberg, MIB's executive producer, among the suspects. At least I think I did. Stay alert. At 90 minutes and $90 million (a million a minute!), ‘Men in Black’ keeps its jokes, sly and silly and coming at hyper speed!
Inventively photographed by Don Peterman, the film takes on the aura of a live-action cartoon. Men in Black is not out to change your life, but in a time of shoddily made clone jobs, escapism crafted this artfully deserves a "bravo." It's unlikely that a livelier display of comic fireworks and star power will be blazing your way this summer. To quote the film's wisest alien, who just happens to be occupying the body of an ugly-ass pug dog, "You don't like it, you can kiss my furry little butt."
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: MEN IN BLACK II  "Same planet. New scum" smirks the tagline for the return of Barry Sonnenfeld's alien-busting crime fighters. Catchy, eh? But the marketeers might as well have added "Same movie," for ‘Men in Black II’ sticks true to the timeworn studio mandate for blockbuster sequels: Remake the first one. But not as good.
A sleeper hit in 1997, ‘Men in Black’ was a slick blend of James Bond cool, 50s monster movies, and X-Files paranoia. Plus it boasted the improbably successful double act of street-smart Philly rapper Will Smith and professional Texan grump Tommy Lee Jones as Agents J and K, the wisecracking, shade-sporting, smart-suited, protectors of the Earth from the scum of the universe. This was sci-fi it was OK to like: geek chic.
Second spin and the roles, Will Smith the rookie, Tommy Lee Jones the veteran are reversed, as Will Smith must retrieve his ex-partner from the mind-wiped obscurity where part one left him. Turns out that, just as in the original there's a planet-threatening MacGuffin which they must get off the earth and its location is buried deep in Tommy Lee Jones's memory banks.
So far, so so good. We want aliens! We want jokes! We want action! And we get it all that but it just lacks some spark. Despite a five year break between movies, ‘Men in Black II’ was rushed into production ahead of last year's threatened actors' strike and it shows. Smith and Jones gamely try and work with a script that was being written as they filmed, but while the publicity for the movie has trumpeted the return of the whole original team, one man is missing: writer Ed Solomon.
With the plot misfiring and the stars struggling, it's left to small mercies to save the movie: a beefed up role for smart-mouthed dog-shaped alien Frank the Pug; Rosario Dawson's love interest; Lara Flynn Boyle's breasts. ‘Men in Black’ fans prepare to be whelmed: this is effective button-pushing sci-fi entertainment, but you won't need to be neutralized to forget it. Although the film easily made its money back, it was considered by many critics and moviegoers as a mediocre sequel at best, the real highlight being not the comedy nor the performances, but Industrial Light & Magic‘s effects and Rick Baker‘s makeup.
‘Men in Black II’ is a fine follow up to the original. It never quite lives up to the outstanding beginning, and the final third again feels rushed, but nonetheless it is a very entertaining movie. Will Smith steals the show and demonstrates Tommy Lee Jones obsolescence in terms of the narrative. Many of the laughs come from the supporting characters and many of the best of them are the alien monsters. There are minor casting quibbles but they don't derail the film, as the laughs and effects laden action rolls on at a breakneck speed. It is a pleasure to say that ‘Men in Black II’ is as good as the original and is a cracking slice of sci-fi comedy.
Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘Men in Black’ and ‘Men in Black II’ makes its brilliant Blu-ray debut with a nice 1.85:1 aspect ratio and an even more stunning 1080p transfer from Sony. This is a big, bright image with plenty of detail in both close-ups and wide shots. The interior of the MIB headquarters sparkles and every wrinkle is visible on Tommy Lee Jones's face. The detail is so good that some of the effects appear worse for the wear. Colours are perfectly saturated, but skin tones are slightly anaemic. Blacks are deep and do not crush and the image retain a light layer of grain. I did notice some light edge enhancement and some minor shimmering, but this is another nice catalogue effort from Sony.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio and the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on both Blu-ray discs are very strong, and it provides an immersive action environment for viewers. Dialogue is crisp and audible, and clarity is excellent in both soft and loud exchanges. Ambient effects fill the sound field and the bustle of MIB headquarters and the busy city streets envelop the viewer and action effects bring the subwoofer and rear speakers to life. The mix is not quite as active as those for more recent releases, but Men in Black II sounds even greater.
MEN IN BLACK  Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary by Director Barry Sonnenfeld: Director Barry Sonnenfeld delivers a fast-paced and enthusiastic commentary, and also a fairly straightforward commentary in terms of information shared. He speaks on the construction of the opening television moment, visual effects work, the performances and greater bodies of work of the cast, shooting locales, the ups and downs of the shoot, and more. This isn't a must-listen, but hard-core fans will want to try it out.
Special Feature: Interlactic Pursuit: The MIB Multi-Player Trivia Game  [1080p] [1.77:1] Dubbed "Intergalactic Pursuit: The MIB Multi-Player Trivia Game," up to four people can participate in answering all sorts of MIB factoids. The game is pretty straightforward, though the graphics are spiffy and the disc response time is excellent. Note that "Intergalactic Pursuit" requires a Profile 2.0 player; otherwise the feature is simply unplayable.
Special Feature: Ask Frank The Pug!  [1080p] [1.77:1] You choose a question to ask, and select from one of five categories career, health, money, romance, and everything else, that best fits the question you had in mind. Frank then provides a completely random response.
Special Feature: Extended and Alternative Scenes  [480i] [4:3] [6:00] Five scenes are included, and some are in rough form, particularly one called "Bouncing Ball" that is sans any CGI or effects. As most of the other scenes are just extensions, it's not all that substantial.
Special Feature: Metamorphosis of Men in Black  [480i] [4:3] [23:10] Created for the previous inferior NTSC DVD, this straight forward mini-doc includes interviews with Barry Sonnenfeld, Jones, Will Smith and Baker, amongst a few other crew. It's a fairly decent overview of the basics of the shoot, with a particularly emphasis on the special effects. It's far too slim to really count as a great, thorough making-of.
Special Original Feature: Men in Black Documentary  [480i] [4:3] [6:38] A Look behind-the-scene of ‘Men in Black.’ This is a most basic overview of the film that provides no information we cannot find elsewhere in the film or the other supplements.
Special Feature: Visual Effects Scene Deconstruction  [1080p] [1.77:1] Three scenes are included. Each deconstruction gives a look at the blue screen version of the scene (it's particularly funny seeing Smith reacting to nothing), then the final composite.
Special Feature: Character Animation Studios  [480i] [4:3] Similar to the above and again Java controlled with the same interface this allows you to examine Mikey, Jeebs and the Worm Guys as they progressed from their preliminary wire frame models through the texture added the lighting and animation and again how it all finally looked on screen.
Special Feature: Creatures: Concept to Completion  [480i] [4:3] Examination of 5 creatures from the film. This again is Java controlled and presents a gallery of sorts where the initial drawings for the characters are presented. On pressing your enter key you see the next drawing and the picture actually morphs from one stage to another so you can see the development of the creatures on show.
Special Feature: Galleries: Storyboard Gallery; Conceptual Art and Production Photos  [480i] [4:3] Storyboards, conceptual art and production photos are available in these three galleries, again Java controlled. There's a mass of photos to wade through here and something for everyone from make-up to cast and crew on set photos.
Special Feature: Storyboard Comparison  [480i] [4:3] 3 scenes where the storyboards and live action from the film on screen at the same time. The majority of the screen though is made up of backgrounds and the actual storyboards and video appear in small windows. A good excuse to move up to a good large projection system.
Special Feature: Scene Editing Workshop  [480i] [4:3] An unusual one this and something that once you've looked at it once you'll quickly disregard it as you know the odds are against you ever achieving something which is remotely interesting. It allows you to chop and change a number of scenes together given the basic building blocks. It's not that great actually and rather frustrating.
Special Feature: Music Video: "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)" by Will Smith  [480i] [4:3] [4:19] This is the second helping of the music video Will Smith and his crew doing their 'thang' with this hit single.
Theatrical Trailers: Men in Black Original Trailer [480i] [1.77:1] [2:28] and Men in Black Teaser Trailer [1080p] [1.77:1] [1:41]
Trailers: Blu-ray Disc Is High Definition [1080p] [1.77:1] [0:30]; Hancock [1080p] [1.77:1] [1:38]; Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition [1080p] [1.77:1] [1:34] and Surf’s Up [1080p] [1.77:1] [2:30]
MEN IN BLACK II  Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary by Director Barry Sonnenfeld: Director Barry Sonnenfeld delivers a fast-paced and enthusiastic commentary, but also a fairly straightforward commentary in terms of information shared. He speaks on the construction of the opening television moment, visual effects work, the performances and greater bodies of work of the cast, shooting locales, the ups and downs of the shoot, and more. This isn't a must-listen, but hard-core fans will want to try it out.
Special Feature: Alternative Ending  [480i] [4:3] [2:12] You know how both 'Men In Black' films have closed with playful universe-shattering reveals? This is simply an alternate one of those that ties in with a tiny sub-plot of 'MIB II.' Truthfully, it's not very good.
Special Feature: Blooper Reel  [408i] [4:3] [5:08] Here are the usual flubbed takes and on-set laughter, only the majority of this one features footage from one long botched shot of take after take.
Special Feature: MIIB: ADR  [480i] [4:3] [9:24] This is very uninteresting feature shows a whole lot of footage of cast members looping their dialogue.
Special Feature: Design in Motion: The Look of Men in Black II  [480i] [4:3] [10:00] Legendary production designer Bo Welch walks you through the visuals of this sequel.
Special Feature: Rick Baker: Alien Maker  [480i] [4:3] [10:45] The Alien Designer discusses his work on the film.
Special Feature: Squish, Splat, Spoosh: The Stellar Sounds of MIB II  [480i] [8:04]: A look into the process of creating the film's many unique sound effects.
Special Feature: Sounds of Men in Black II  [480i] [4:3] [8:03] "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)" by Will Smith.
Special Feature: Cosmic Symphonies: Elfman in Space  [480i] [4:3] [8:03] A glimpse into the world and work of the film's famed composer.
Finally, ‘Men in Black’ is a film that works well thanks in large part to its ensemble cast. Along with a fantastic concept, an interesting cast of alien characters, and plenty of humour, Men in Black's popularity as a sci-fi/comedy favourite is easily justifiable. Equally so is the place this Blu-ray disc deserves in your budding collection. It offers a wonderful video transfer, an equally wonderful lossless soundtrack, and enough supplements to keep the most ardent ‘Men in Black’ fans busy for the better part of a day. ‘Men in Black II’ sadly, suffers from classic sequel syndrome. It slightly pales in comparison to the fun and novelty of the original, but despite this I thoroughly enjoyed it. The special effects are definitely the highlight of ‘Men in Black II.’ Sony's Blu-ray release of ‘Men in Black II’ features a good fine video, great audio, and a ton of extras. If you're a fan of this particular franchise, you're going to love the fully loaded special features section. All in all, this is a very strong Blu-ray release and fans can't go wrong with purchasing ‘MEN IN BLACK’ and ‘MEN IN BLACK II’ DOUBLE PACK. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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