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MEN IN BLACK

BACK IN BLACK 20 YEARS ON

RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW
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By Brent Davidson
30th June 2017

Do any of these film anniversaries make anyone else feel anxiously old? These things that were memories of a childhood that seemed like only a couple of years ago are now relegated to the halls of nostalgia. Oh what a time to be alive: Tamagochi, Tazos and Will Smith still being relevant - 20 years later how does it all compare?

We all know the conspiracies about the American government agency who arrive on the scene for anything potentially extraterrestrial. What would happen if this agency was, in fact, real and had been working with quirky on-world aliens all along?

Remember that funny time where Will Smith wasn't quite sure if he was a "rapper" or an actor? Yes, before you have a go at me, it is okay to be both. But... clearly Will made a decision. That said, starring in a film and singing the theme tune to said film, It's almost a Kevin Costner level of involvement with a single project - but we aren't dancing with wolves here, we are dancing with aliens.

'MEN IN BLACK' TRAILER

Speaking of dancing, I distinctly remember learning the dance to Will Smith's 'Men in Black' when I was in a Year 4 dance class... Much more niche and impressive than being able to whip out 'The Macarena', I can tell you that much. *cue clapping twice and the head bob*

Coming off the huge success of 'Independence Day' (one of my grandfather's favourite films of all time), this is what I would describe as the beginning of the Golden Age of Will Smith. The same can not be said for his co-star Tommy Lee Jones, who was coming to the tail end of his, but that's okay - he had 'Space Cowboys' and the MIB sequels to look forward to. I mean, grossing $589.3 million dollars against a comparatively small $90 million budget is no mean feat; the third highest grossing film of 1997, to be precise.

I have to admit though that child Brent longed to belong to a secret organisation like this, going on cool adventures and meeting wacky aliens while using cool technology.

Sequels! Oh, the sequels. Look, 'MIIB' wasn't too bad and still felt pretty relevant, but by the third one, the format was tired. Also, 12 years is a long gap in between sequels. So long a gap really, it starts to feel like a nostalgia money grab. But hey, it's happening a lot now so what can I say? That's the industry we are in.

I have to admit though that child Brent longed to belong to a secret organisation like this, going on cool adventures and meeting wacky aliens while using cool technology. It's no wonder that this film did so well at the time and spurred follow-up films - and really was the death of Will Smith's music career and the blossoming of the acting career we all have come to love.

(I'm pretty sure I just heard a dog bark in the distance with all that silence.)

Say what you will about 'Men In Black', it fulfils the alien action/adventure/comedy so well that it is as iconic as the agency (or lack of agency) that there is. Also thanks to this article and my research, I will have the theme tune stuck in my head till 'MIB 4'... you're welcome everybody.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 02/07/1997
RUN TIME: 1h 38m
CAST: Tommy Lee Jones
Will Smith
Linda Fiorentino
Vincent D'onofrio
Rip Torn
Tony Shalhoub
Mike Nussbaum
Jon Gries
Sergio Calderón
Carel Struycken
DIRECTOR: Barry Sonnenfeld
PRODUCERS: Laurie Macdonald
Walter F. Parkes
www.meninblack.com
MenInBlack
MenInBlack
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