Men in Black II

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Men in Black II
Men in Black II Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Produced by Walter F. Parkes
Laurie MacDonald
Screenplay by Robert Gordon
Barry Fanaro
Story by Robert Gordon
Based on The Men in Black 
by Lowell Cunningham
Starring Tommy Lee Jones
Will Smith
Lara Flynn Boyle
Johnny Knoxville
Rosario Dawson
Tony Shalhoub
Rip Torn
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Greg Gardiner
Edited by Richard Pearson
Steven Weisberg
Amblin Entertainment
MacDonald/Parkes Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • July 3, 2002 (2002-07-03)
Running time
89 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $140 million[1]
Box office $441.8 million[1]

Men in Black II (MIIB) is a 2002 American science fiction action comedy film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. The film also stars Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shalhoub and Rip Torn. The film is a sequel to the 1997 film Men in Black and was followed by Men in Black 3, released in 2012. This series of films is based on the Malibu / Marvel comic book series The Men in Black by Lowell Cunningham. A video game partly based on the film was released in 2002 titled Men in Black II: Alien Escape.[2] Agent J must bring Agent K back from retirement when the evil Kylothian, Serleena comes to Earth looking for the Light of Zartha, a source of great power that will destroy the entire Earth if it doesn't leave the planet soon.


Five years after the retirement of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) from MIB, the New York City-based agency that secretly monitors and regulates extraterrestrials' activity on Earth, Agent J (Will Smith) is now a top operative for MIB. J's former partner, L, decided to return to work in a morgue, leaving J without a partner, and those he has recruited do not live up to his standards once in the agency; he neuralyzes them to erase their memories before returning them to their previous lives.

J is called to investigate the murder of an alien owner of a pizzeria. He interviews the waitress, Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson), learning that the murderers were two other aliens, Serleena, a shapeshifting Kylothian who has taken the form of a lingerie model (Lara Flynn Boyle), and Scrad (Johnny Knoxville), a two-headed alien working for Serleena. Laura states they were looking for the Light of Zartha. Though MIB rules state that he should neuralyze Laura, J has become infatuated with her, and lets her go.

J finds the Light of Zartha is a potent weapon, but the only trace of information is tied to K. J goes to Truro, Massachusetts to find K, now working as the postmaster of the town, and convinces him aliens exist by showing the other postal workers are aliens. K agrees to go back to New York City. As they start the deneuralyzing process at MIB headquarters, Serleena and Scrad launch an attack on MIB, causing the facility to go into lockdown. J and K are evacuated from headquarters before the process is complete. J takes K to Jack Jeebs (Tony Shalhoub) to use his illegal deneuralyzer. K regains his former MIB memories, but reveals that he has neuralyzed himself years before regarding the Light. He left himself a series of clues.

At the pizzeria, they find a locker key. While there, Laura expresses concern for her safety, and J takes her to stay with the worm guys. The key opens a locker in Grand Central Station occupied by a society of tiny aliens who worship K as their deity; the aliens give them a video store membership card. At the video store, they find a tape that fictionalizes the story of the Light of Zartha, but watching it causes K to recall the truth: in the past, he and other MIB met the Zarthan Queen Laurana when she arrived on Earth. She requested they keep the Light safe, but MIB was concerned about any retribution. Serleena suddenly arrived and killed Laurana; K activated Laurana's ship which lured Serleena away giving them time to hide the Light. Despite these memories K is unaware of what the Light actually is, but does know that if it is not returned to Zartha soon, it will explode and destroy Earth.

They return to the worm guys to find that Laura has been kidnapped by Serleena, believing a bracelet she wears is the Light. J, K, and the worm guys launch an attack on headquarters, enabling them to free Laura and the other agents; Serleena attempts to flee but is eaten by Jeff, a giant worm-like alien living in the New York Subway. Laura's bracelet leads them to a skyscraper where they find a ship ready to launch and return the Light to Zartha. J and K finally realize that Laura is the Light as the daughter of Laurana; K remains coy when J questions if he is her father. J and Laura are hesitant to let her go but K convinces them it is for the good of the planet. As the ship starts to take off, Serleena, now occupying the form of Jeff, attempts to snatch the ship, but J and K kill her in time, and the ship departs. Because of the publicity of their activities, K initiates a neuralyzer hidden in the torch of the Statue of Liberty to wipe memories across the city.

Later, K and MIB Chief Zed (Rip Torn) try to console J by moving the tiny locker-dwelling alien society—which now worships J—into J's MIB locker. When J suggests showing the miniature creatures that their world is bigger than a locker, K shows J that the human universe is itself a locker within an immense alien train station.




Despite some initial involvement from David Koepp (who left to work on Spider-Man),[3] the script was written by Robert Gordon and later revised by Barry Fanaro (who added pop culture references, something which Gordon had deliberately avoided).[4] Sonnenfeld took issue with the producers' focus on the love story between Will Smith's and Rosario Dawson's characters, saying that "I learned on Wild Wild West that audiences didn't want to see Will as the straight man. And until Tommy comes back into the movie, by definition Will's the straight man." Fanaro condensed the first part of the film and brought Agent K in earlier.[3] The climax of the film was originally to have taken place at New York City's World Trade Center. However, this had to be changed following the destruction of the buildings in the September 11 attacks.[5] The day after the attacks of September 11, a spokesperson for the studio said that the ending would be refilmed.[6]

Supervising sound editor Skip Lievsay used a Synclavier to recreate and improve the original recording of the neuralyzer sound effect from the first film (which was the sound of a strobe flash as it recycles) by removing some distortion.[7] For some of the scenes with the Serleena creature, the sound crew "took tree branches, put them inside a rubber membrane and pushed that around and added some water."[7] For the special effects scene where the subway train is attacked by Jeff the Worm, a specially designed vise was used to crush a subway car and make it look as if it had been bitten in half.[4]


The motion picture soundtrack to Men In Black II was released on June 25, 2002 by Columbia Records.[8]

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Worms Lounge 1 (Worms in Black)"   Danny Elfman 5:20
2. "Logo"   Danny Elfman 0:22
3. "Titles"   Danny Elfman 5:01
4. "Big Jeff"   Danny Elfman 2:25
5. "Headquarters"   Danny Elfman 1:52
6. "Chop-Chop"   Danny Elfman 2:00
7. "Heart Thump"   Danny Elfman 1:51
8. "Customs"   Danny Elfman 0:51
9. "Hunting For K"   Danny Elfman 1:41
10. "J Nabbed / K's Back"   Danny Elfman 2:20
11. "The Real Story"   Danny Elfman 1:41
12. "Sleuthing"   Danny Elfman 2:21
13. "The Defense Begins"   Danny Elfman 2:47
14. "The Chase"   Danny Elfman 3:22
15. "The Light"   Danny Elfman 5:44
16. "The Finale"   Danny Elfman 0:18
17. "Worm Lounge 2"   Danny Elfman 3:09
18. "Titles Revisited"   Danny Elfman 2:57
19. "I Will Survive"   Tim Blaney 3:03
20. "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)"   Will Smith featuring Trā-Knox 4:20
Total length:


Critical reception[edit]

Men in Black II was met with mixed to negative reviews from critics. It received a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 193 reviews and a Metacritic score of 49.[9][10] A. O. Scott of The New York Times said that, "Within the trivial, ingratiating scope of its ambition, though, the sequel is pleasant enough," and, noting the huge array of aliens designed by Rick Baker, said that the film "really belongs to Mr. Baker."[11] A review in The Hindu called the film "worth viewing once."[12] Another review from Digital Media FX magazine praised the spaceships as looking very realistic, but criticized many of the simpler visual effects such as the moving backgrounds composited behind the car windows using blue-screen (which it called a throwback to the special effects of earlier decades).[13] In August 2002, Entertainment Weekly placed the Worm Guys among their list of the best CG characters, and said that the enlarged roles of both Frank the Pug and the Worm Guys in Men in Black II was beneficial for the "tiring franchise".[14] The film earned a Razzie Award nomination for Lara Flynn Boyle as Worst Supporting Actress, but she lost the award to Madonna for her cameo in Die Another Day.[15]

Box office[edit]

Men in Black II was a commercial success, although not to the extent of the original. Released theatrically on July 3, 2002, Men in Black II was number one on its opening weekend with revenue of $52,148,751.[16] The film held the number one position in its second week with revenue of $24,410,311, a 53.2% decrease from the previous week. The third week saw a 40.4% decrease with the revenue of $14,552,335, coming in at number three.[17]

After the first month the film remained at fourth place, with revenue of $8,477,202.[17] Men in Black II fell out of the top ten after six weeks.[17] After sixty two days of release in North America, Men in Black II grossed $190,418,803.[1] 43.1% of the film's worldwide revenue of $441,818,803 came from North America.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Men In Black II". Retrieved February 3, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Men in Black II: Alien Escape - GameSpot". Retrieved 2014-08-06. 
  3. ^ a b Karger, Dave (July 12, 2002). "Aliens, Smith, And Jones". Entertainment Weekly. p. 2. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Munson, Brad (2002). Inside Men in Black II. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 16. ISBN 0-345-45065-5. 
  5. ^ Karger, Dave (July 12, 2002). "Aliens, Smith, And Jones". Entertainment Weekly. p. 4. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Digital Media FX News Archives: Men In Black 2 Ending to be Refilmed After Disaster". Digital Media FX. September 14, 2001. Retrieved December 22, 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Jackson, Blair (July 2, 2002). "Men In Black 2". Mix. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Men In Black II Soundtrack at AllMusic
  9. ^ "Men in Black II (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Men in Black II Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 1, 2009. 
  11. ^ Scott, A.O. (July 3, 2002). "Men in Black II (2002) FILM REVIEW; Defending Earth, With Worms and a Talking Pug". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  12. ^ Mahesh, Chitra (August 2, 2002). "Men in Black-II". The Hindu. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  13. ^ Evans, Noell Wolfgreen. "Digital Media FX Review of Men In Black 2". Digital Media FX. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Movie Commentary: The Worm Guys made our list of best CG characters". Entertainment Weekly. August 27, 2002. Retrieved December 22, 2008. 
  15. ^ "23rd annual Razzie Award nominees". UPI. 10 February 2003. Archived from the original on 1 January 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "Same weekend. New record. 'Men in Black 2' Bags $87 Million Over Fourth of July Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c "Men In Black II: 2002". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 

External links[edit]