1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

Men in Black Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Archived Reviews' started by Richard Gallagher, May 3, 2012.

  1. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Messages:
    4,112
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Fishkill, NY
    Real Name:
    Rich Gallagher
    XenForo Template

    This is a repackaged release of the 2008 Blu-ray of Men in Black. There is new cover art and the ability to stream or download an UltraViolet copy, but otherwise it is identical to the 2008 Blu-ray. It also includes an offer for a free movie ticket to see the upcoming Men in Black 3. The 2008 release received nothing but favorable comments on Home Theater Forum, so anyone who does not own the previous Blu-ray and chooses to buy this version will not be disappointed.



    Men in Black

    Studio: Sony/Columbia
    Year: 1997
    Rated: PG-13
    Program Length: 98 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 1080p
    Languages: English, French, Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1; Spanish,  Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
    Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), Chinese (Mandarin Simplified) Thai, Bahasa, Arabic, Dutch

    The Program

    This is a repackaged release of the 2008 Blu-ray of Men in Black. There is new cover art and the ability to stream or download an UltraViolet copy, but otherwise it is identical to the 2008 Blu-ray. It also includes an offer for a free movie ticket to see the upcoming Men in Black 3. The 2008 release received nothing but favorable comments on Home Theater Forum, so anyone who does not own the previous Blu-ray and chooses to buy this version will not be disappointed.

    Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith are back, this time in a spectacular Blu-ray disc which every fan of Men in Black will want to have.

    I doubt that there are many readers of this review who are not already familiar with Men in Black, a sci-fi parody which manages to be both very funny and truly exciting. For the uninitiated, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith star as agents of a top-secret government agency which is responsible for monitoring the activities of extra-terrestrials on Earth. In addition, the agents create plausible cover stories to explain away encounters which human beings have with alien creatures.

    The plot involves an alien terrorist who has inhabited the body of a farmer (Vincent D’Onofrio) and has plans to start an intergalactic war by assassinating two representatives of other galaxies who are currently in New York City. The Men in Black, under the direction of their immediate superior, Chief Zed (Rip Torn) have to find the evil alien and stop him before he can carry out his plan. Along the way they team up with a coroner, Dr. Laurel Weaver (Linda Fiorentino) and a talking pug, Frank.

    The impressive action is interspersed with clever dialogue which is full of amusing cultural references. Viewers of the Blu-ray disc will enjoy having the opportunity to freeze-frame the picture to examine a chart of celebrities who are actually aliens (among them are Sylvester Stallone, Dionne Warwick, George Lucas, Al Roker, Newt Gingrich and self-help guru Tony Robbins). The acting is first-rate and there is wonderful technical support from Rick Baker, who is perhaps Hollywood’s finest make-up artist.

    The Video

    The 1080p Blu-ray widescreen transfer is superb. Sony’s approach to transferring older films has been to retain the original look as much as possible, so Men in Black retains a moderate level of grain and looks very film-like. The image is sharp, allowing the viewer to see every line in the faces of Tommie Lee Jones and Rip Torn. Color fidelity appears to be excellent and shadow detail is extremely good. I saw no evidence of excessive processing or digital artifacts. All in all, this is a wonderful Blu-ray transfer which will leave fans of the film feeling very happy indeed.

    The Audio

    The Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 audio is excellent and creates a very satisfying soundstage. There is considerable punch in the low ranges and the surround channels are used to good advantage, particularly during the action scenes when ray guns seem to be firing across the room from every direction. The dialogue is always clear and intelligible, and Danny Elfman’s score sounds terrific.

    The Supplements

    This Blu-ray release of Men in Black is packed with specials, a few of which are quite innovative.

    An interesting commentary by director Barry Sonnenfeld and Tommy Lee Jones can be played conventionally or with an optional “enhanced telestrator” feature. In “enhanced telestrator” mode, Sonnenfeld and Jones can be seen from behind in black silhouettes (if you have ever seen an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, you know what I am talking about). As they discuss the various things which are being shown on the screen, they occasionally circle or otherwise highlight things on the screen as if they are using a telestrator.

    A second commentary track features technical commentary from director Sonnenfeld, make-up artist Rick Baker, and members of Industrial Light & Magic.

    The disc also includes a trivia game called “Intergalatic Pursuit” which allows the viewer to take a rapid-fire test which ostensibly grades your suitability to be a “Men in Black” agent. It is a fun game and those who can utilize the BD-Live feature have the ability to play the game with up to seven other people.

    There is also an interactive game featuring Frank the Pug. The game is something like a Magic 8-Ball, as the viewer can ask Frank a question in one of several categories and Frank will randomly give an answer (sample answer: “Don’t count on it”).

    A 23-minute featurette entitled “Metamorphosis of Men in Black” previously appeared in the Deluxe Edition DVD which was released in 2002. There is also an untitled promotional featurette which runs for 6½ minutes and five extended and alternate scenes. On the technical side, viewers will find a scene editing workshop, a visual effects scenes deconstruction with commentary, character animation studies and storyboard comparisons.

    An “alien subtitle track” is a rather pointless gimmick which can be set to pop up alien subtitles whenever an alien character speaks.

    There is also a still photo gallery, a music video, original theatrical and teaser trailers, and trailers for the Blu-ray releases of Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, Vantage Point, First Sunday, and 21.

    The Packaging

    The single disc comes in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a cardboard outer sleeve.

    The Final Analysis

    Men in Black is a very entertaining film and there is much to like about this Blu-ray release. It looks and sounds superb and there are enough worthwhile extras to keep fans occupied late into the night. However, this is NOT an upgrade. If you already own the 2008 Blu-ray, there is no reason to get this release unless you need an UltraViolet copy.

    And remember: “We at the FBI do not have a sense of humor we’re aware of.”

    Equipment used for this review:

    Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player
    Panasonic Viera TC-P46G15 Plasma display, calibrated to THX specifications by Gregg Loewen
    Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
    BIC Acoustech speakers
    Interconnects: Monster Cable

    Release Date: May 1, 2012

     

Share This Page