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 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. Agent J must bring Agent K back from retirement to deal with an alien menace.
Five years after the retirement of Agent K (Jones) from MIB, the secret New York City-based agency that monitors and regulates extraterrestrials residing on Earth, Agent J (Smith)—K's former partner and hand-picked replacement—is called to investigate the murder of an alien at his pizzeria. The waitress, Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson), tells him that the murderers were Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), a shapeshifting Kylothian who has taken the form of a lingerie model, and her two-headed servant Scrad (Johnny Knoxville). Laura says they were looking for something called the Light of Zartha. J is strongly attracted to Laura, and in violation of MIB rules, does not neuralyze her to erase her memories of the aliens—and of him.
J finds that little is known about the Light of Zartha, except that it is immensely powerful. As he investigates the crime, every lead points to his mentor, Agent K—who was neuralyzed when he retired, and remembers nothing of his MIB service. In Truro, Massachusetts, where K is now the town's postmaster, J explains this, and convinces him by proving that all of his fellow postal workers are aliens. Back in New York City, Serleena and Scrad launch an attack on MIB headquarters before K's neuralyzation can be reversed; fortunately, Jack Jeebs (Tony Shalhoub) has an illegal deneuralyzer in his basement. K regains his memories, but it's not enough: Years before, he neuralyzed himself, specifically to erase what he knew of the Light of Zartha, and those memories have not returned—but as a precaution, he left himself a series of clues.
At the pizzeria, they find a locker key. J hides Laura, who fears for her safety, with the worm aliens from the first movie. The key opens a locker in Grand Central Station where a society of tiny aliens, who worship K as their deity, guard their most sacred relics: K's wristwatch and video store membership card. K recovers both, to the aliens' horror, but J gives them his watch as a replacement, and becomes their new deity. At the video store, as J and K watch a fictionalized story of the Light of Zartha, K remembers: The Zarthan Queen Laurana long ago entrusted MIB with safeguarding the Light from her nemesis, Serleena, who followed Laurana to Earth and killed her. After hiding the Light, K neuralyzed himself to ensure that he would never reveal its hiding place. K still cannot remember where he hid it, nor what the Light actually looks like; he does remember that it must return to Zartha soon, or both Earth and Zartha will be destroyed.
At the worms' apartment, they find that Laura has been kidnapped by Serleena, who believes that Laura's bracelet is the Light. J, K, and the worms counterattack MIB headquarters, freeing Laura and the other agents. Serleena attempts to retaliate but is eaten by Jeff, a gigantic worm alien living in the New York Subway. Laura's bracelet leads J and K to the roof of a skyscraper where a ship stands ready to transport the Light back to Zartha. At last, they realize why it rains whenever Laura is sad: she is the daughter of Laurana—and is herself the Light. K convinces J and Laura that she must go to Zartha, to save both her planet and Earth from destruction. Serleena, who has assimilated Jeff and taken his form, attempts to snatch the ship carrying Laura as it lifts off, but J and K blast her out of the sky. Since all of New York City has just witnessed this battle in the skies over the metropolis, K initiates a giant neuralyzer in the torch of the Statue of Liberty.
Back at headquarters, K and MIB Chief Zed (Rip Torn), hoping to cheer up a heartbroken J, have relocated the tiny locker-dwelling aliens who worship him to his MIB locker. When J suggests showing the miniature creatures that their universe is bigger than a locker, K shows J that the human universe is itself a locker within an immense alien train 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
- Nick Cannon as MIB Autopsy Agent
- Tim Blaney as Frank the Pug
- Brad Abrell as Worm Guy
- Greg Ballora as Worm Guy
- Thom Fountain as Worm Guy
- Carl J. Johnson as Worm Guy
- Richard Pearson as Gordy
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.
|1.||"Worms Lounge 1 (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 Trā-Knox||4:20|
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. 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.
- Karger, Dave (July 12, 2002). "Aliens, Smith, And Jones". Entertainment Weekly. p. 4. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
- "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.
- Jackson, Blair (July 2, 2002). "Men In Black 2". Mix. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
- Men In Black II Soundtrack at AllMusic
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- "Movie Commentary: The Worm Guys made our list of best CG characters". Entertainment Weekly. August 27, 2002. Retrieved December 22, 2008.
- "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.
- "Men In Black II: 2002". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
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