Men in Black II
|Men in Black II|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Barry Sonnenfeld|
|Produced by||Walter F. Parkes
|Screenplay by||Robert Gordon
|Story by||Robert Gordon|
|Based on||The Men in Black
by Lowell Cunningham
|Starring||Tommy Lee Jones
Lara Flynn Boyle
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Edited by||Richard Pearson
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$441.8 million|
Men in Black II (MIIB) is a 2002 American comedy science fiction action spy 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. 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 Agent K's retirement, Agent J (Will Smith) is now a top operative for the MIB, the New York City-based agency that secretly monitors and regulates extraterrestrials' activity on Earth. J has no permanent partner since K resigned and Agent L returned to work in a morgue. Subsequent partners have not lived up to J's standards, so he neuralyzes them back to civilian status.
While investigating an alien-on-alien murder at a SoHo pizzeria and questioning the waitress Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson), J uncovers a plot by Serleena, the shapeshifting Kylothian Queen. After destroying several planets, she sneaks onto Earth, and disguises herself as a lingerie model (Lara Flynn Boyle). In her own form, she resembles a plant-like hydra. J discovers Serleena's ship and learns more about the Light of Zartha, which was spoken of at the murder. J then learns that the one who previously worked on the case 25 years ago, when it was assumed closed, was none other than his mentor and old partner, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), who J neuralyzed at K's request when he retired. To stop Serleena, J must bring in and deneuralyze K, as he is the only living operative who knows how to find the Light of Zartha. To bring him in, J travels to Truro, Massachusetts, where K has resumed civilian life as Kevin Brown and works as USPS postmaster - and unbeknownst to him, the post office workers are all aliens.
While J brings Brown back to New York and prepares to deneuralyze him, Serleena takes over MIB HQ, which locks down, causing the deneuralyzer to go into a standby mode and flushes them out on Times Square. After J searches for the deneuralyzer on the internet, he takes Brown to Jack Jeebs (Tony Shalhoub), who owns an illegal deneuralyzer. Brown slowly but surely eventually starts to regain his MIB memories and becomes K again, but he cannot recall the "Light of Zartha" as he neuralyzed himself earlier in his career in order to keep the information safe. In case he needed to find the light, he left behind clues, and while J and K follow these they take Laura to the "worm guys" so she could be kept safe.
After this, they return to the SoHo pizzeria and finds a key for the Grand Central Terminal, where they find a locker full of micro aliens that live in the locker with their own city. K looks for the clues and takes the watch, which is actually counting the time until midnight, and they have an hour to figure out the meaning of it, with J leaving his own watch on the top.
They next stop at a video store, where they watch a fictionalized tape of the story behind the Light of Zartha. K, upon seeing it, remembers all the details of the real story, and it shifts into a brief flashback sequence: 25 years ago, the Zarthan Queen Laurana arrived on Earth to hide the Light of Zartha, but K and the rest of the Men in Black were reluctant to help for fear of endagering Earth. Serleena arrived to steal the Light, but K activated the Zarthan ship and sent it away. Believing the Light was aboard, she chased the ship after killing Laurana. J realizes - and K confirms - that the ship was a decoy; the Light remains hidden on Earth for safekeeping, but Serleena realized this.
Meanwhile, Serleena frees MIB's worst high-security prisoners and recruits them as her henchmen, including Jarra, J's old nemesis who tried to steal Earth's ozone layer. Believing the Light is in the bracelet worn by Laura, Serleena kidnaps her and prepares to send Laura back to Kyloth. K and J, helped by the worm guys, assault MIB headquarters, defeating Serleena's henchmen and rescuing Laura from being launched, with J defeating Jarra. However, K warns them that if the Light is not sent to Zartha, it will explode and destroy the planet.
Serleena is eaten by Jeff, a giant alien worm living in the New York City Subway system. At the departure point atop a skyscraper, K reveals that Laura is Laurana's daughter and also the Light of Zartha. Many clues are given that Laura is possibly K's daughter as well, hence his risky decision to leave her on Earth. To save Earth and Zartha, Laura leaves Earth. She and J are both reluctant, since they have fallen for each other. Serleena, having assimilated Jeff, returns to capture Laura again. K and J are finally able to destroy her and Laura escapes to Zartha.
To cover up the events caused by Serleena's rampage, K activates a giant neuralyzer hidden in the Statue of Liberty's torch. K and Chief Zed (Rip Torn), the head of MIB, try to console J for the loss of his love. For comfort, K puts the tiny city of aliens into J's locker. When J suggests showing the miniatures their world is bigger than a locker, K shows J that they themselves are in a locker of a huge alien station.
- Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K / Kevin Brown
- Will Smith as Agent J / James Darrell Edwards III
- Rip Torn as Chief Zed
- Lara Flynn Boyle as Serleena
- Johnny Knoxville as Scrad & Charlie, Scrad's second head
- Rosario Dawson as Laura Vasquez
- Tony Shalhoub as Jack Jeebs
- Patrick Warburton as Agent T
- Jack Kehler as Ben
- David Cross as Newton
- Colombe Jacobsen as Hailey
- John Alexander as Jarra
- Michael Jackson as Agent M (cameo)
- Peter Graves as Himself
- Tim Blaney as Frank the Pug
- Nick Cannon as MIB Autopsy Agent
Despite some initial involvement from David Koepp (who left to work on Spider-Man), the script was written by Robert Gordon and later revised by Barry Fanaro (who added pop culture references, something which Gordon had deliberately avoided). 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. 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. The day after the attacks of September 11, a spokesperson for the studio said that the ending would be refilmed.
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. 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." 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.
The soundtrack to Men In Black II was released on July 2, 2002.
|1.||"Worms Lounge (Worms in Black)"||Danny Elfman||5:20|
|4.||"Big Jeff"||Danny Elfman||2:25|
|7.||"Heart Thump"||Danny Elfman||1:51|
|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|
|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 Trâ-Knox||1:42|
Men in Black II received mixed reviews. It received a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 193 reviews and a Metacritic score of 49. 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." A review in The Hindu called the film "worth viewing once." 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). 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". 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.
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. 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.
After the first month the film remained at fourth place, with revenue of $8,477,202. Men in Black II fell out of the top ten after six weeks. After sixty two days of release in North America, Men in Black II grossed $190,418,803. 43.1% of the film's worldwide revenue of $441,818,803 came from North America.
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- Munson, Brad (2002). Inside Men in Black II. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 16. ISBN 0-345-45065-5.
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- "23rd annual Razzie Award nominees". UPI. 10 February 2003. Archived from the original on 1 January 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "Same weekend. New record. 'Men in Black 2' Bags $87 Million Over Fourth of July Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
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