Men in Black
Men in Black is a 1997 science fiction comedy action film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith and Vincent D’Onofrio. The film was based on the Men in Black comic book series by Lowell Cunningham, originally published by Aircel Comics. The film featured the creature effects and makeup of Rick Baker. The film was released on July 2, 1997 by Columbia Pictures and grossed over USD $587 million worldwide against a $90 million budget. It was followed by a sequel, Men in Black II, in 2002, and an animated series, simply titled Men in Black: The Series, which aired on the Kids’ WB channel from 1997 through 2001Men in Black is a 1997 science fiction comedy action film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith and Vincent D’Onofrio. The film was based on the Men in Black comic book series by Lowell Cunningham, originally published by Aircel Comics. The film featured the creature effects and makeup of Rick Baker. The film was released on July 2, 1997 by Columbia Pictures and grossed over USD $587 million worldwide against a $90 million budget. It was followed by a sequel, Men in Black II, in 2002, and an animated series, simply titled Men in Black: The Series, which aired on the Kids’ WB channel from 1997 through 2001.
The MIB, a top-secret agency that polices, monitors and directs alien activity on Earth, has established the Earth as an apolitical “neutral zone” for alien refugees (as Agent K explains, like Casablanca with no Nazis). MIB agents have no identity or any public record of existence, and the MIB agency answers to no government. The funding for their agency comes from the patents they own on technology confiscated from aliens, such as velcro, microwave ovens, and liposuction. Any memory of MIB activity upon “mustering out” of the MIB is erased and a new identity is created for the departing agent. Into this strange world is ushered the initially skeptical Det/Sgt James Edwards (Will Smith), an NYPD officer, as he becomes Agent J, one of the newest MIB personnel. Tommy Lee Jones plays K, a senior MIB agent who recruits and guides J as he learns the ropes.
MIB agents wear sunglasses and dark suits, and appear at UFO landing sites, similar to paranormal reports of real-world Men in Black. Instead of intimidating or threatening witnesses, the MIB use devices known as “Neuralyzers” to wipe witnesses’ memories of what they have seen, and replace the memories with more mundane explanations, such as swamp gas or weather balloons. Neuralyzers are also used on agents who leave the organization for any
reason. The MIB’s sunglasses protect them from the effects of the Neuralyzer.
The main plot of the movie revolves around a “Bug” (code word for a member of an alien species that is similar in many ways to a very large cockroach) searching for a miniature galaxy which is also a vast energy source. Upon landing on Earth, the Bug kills a farmer named Edgar (Vincent D’Onofrio) and uses his skin as a disguise to aid in the hunt. A member of an alien royal family, masquerading as a diamond merchant, has concealed the galaxy on his cat’s collar. When he is killed by the Bug, his government prepares to destroy the Earth rather than let the galaxy fall into the Bugs’ hands. During their mission, J and K investigate a morgue where they meet Dr. Laurel Weaver (Linda Fiorentino), a cynical deputy medical examiner. Eventually, the agents kill the Bug (with Laurel’s help) and recover the galaxy. K then has J erase his memory so he can retire, and Laurel joins the MIB and becomes Agent L, J’s new partner.
In the final scene of the film, the camera pulls back into the sky through space past our solar system, past millions of stars, ultimately revealing that our galaxy is contained within a circular container resembling a marble. The container is then picked up by an alien hand which throws it, hitting another ‘marble’ which also contains a galaxy. Both marbles are then picked up by the hand and placed into a bag full of galaxy-containing marbles.
Men in Black II
Men in Black II (also known as MIIB) is a 2002 science fiction comedy action film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. The movie also stars Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson and Rip Torn. It is the sequel to Men in Black, based on the Malibu comic book series The Men in Black by Lowell Cunningham.
Five years after the events of the earlier film, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) has assumed civilian life as a small town’s postmaster while Agent J (Will Smith) continues to work for the Men in Black, the self-funded New York City-based agency that secretly monitors and regulates extraterrestrials’ activity on Earth. J is largely without a partner, his former partner Agent L having returned to her former task as a deputy medical examiner and her successors having been expelled from the agency by J himself. While investigating a seemingly routine crime, J uncovers a diabolical plot by Serleena, a sadistic, shapeshifting Kylothian queen who disguises herself as a lingerie model, but resembles a Lernean hydra in her own form. To circumvent her plans, J must convince K – who has no memory of his time spent with the agency, but is the only person alive who knows what is needed to defeat Serleena – to reunite with the MIB before Earth is destroyed.
A large part of the plot centers on Agent J’s relationship with a woman called Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson), a waitress at a SoHo pizzeria who witnesses Serleena’s killing of the pizzeria’s owner. Rather than erase her memory according to MIB rules, J allows her to retain it. As Laura becomes increasingly involved in the battle between Serleena and the MIB, she comes to view Agent J as her protector, while he simultaneously falls in love with her. When J tries to deneuralyze K, MIB is put into lockdown and they are ejected from the building. He then takes K to Jack Jeebs (Tony Shalhoub), who built an unofficial deneuralyzer. Although K regains his memory, he reveals that he still has no memory of the “Light of Zartha” but left himself a series of clues in case he needed to remember.
Ultimately, Laura’s true identity is revealed as an extraterrestrial princess and power-source styled the “Light of Zartha”. This revelation requires her to return to Zartha, her ancestral homeworld. Serleena, who has been seeking all along to find and possess the Light of Zartha, is killed just as Laura is transported away. Agent K is said to have had a romantic attachment to Laura’s mother Laurana, after whom she is named,who was killed by Serleena twenty-five years before the film’s story began; as a result, there is an implication that Agent K may be Laura’s father, although this is never made explicit. When Laura has gone, K and Agent Zed (the head of MIB) attempt to console J for his loss, only to have him answer that he needs no consolation, having accepted her departure without much sorrow. Since people all over New York City have witnessed these events, an emergency neuralizer built into the Statue of Liberty is used to erase everyone’s memory.
Two other plot threads relate the interaction of J with Frank the Pug (an extraterrestrial refugee posing as a pug dog, who becomes J’s partner early in the film) and the revelation that K keeps a race of minuscule extraterrestrials inside a storage locker at Grand Central Terminal, the locker encasing their whole world. At the end of the film, K knocks open a forbidden door to reveal that a much larger locker located in a larger version of Grand Central Station contains the human world.