It is warm, about to turn HOT. When we left the house today at 3:30pm, it was around 77°F -- as I handwrite this in Holland, it's around 81°F. Sunday it is supposed to be in the 90s and very humid, also hot on Monday -- but Tuesday through Thursday has highs forecast in the 60s. And did I see on the weather map that near the Indiana border it'll be 98°F?
It's been so warm for so long this year, that it's hard to remember that May is NOT summer. And I'm not talking about the technical start of summer nearly a month from now. But until you get to Memorial Day weekend, it's really not summer in America.
The air is filled with cottonwood fluff. Not quite the same as the pulsing flowers of Avatar, but close. The parking lot at the Holland 7 was sealed recently, so there's still some puddles from earlier, which now have become fluffy with fluff. The pictures don't quite show off the 3D nature of the effect:
Cottonwood fluff on puddle. (Click on photo for larger.)
A closer view. (Click on photo for larger.)
We were in Holland on a mission. It's been ten years since we saw Men in Black II. There's been a lot of talk about how bad MIB 2 was, but we didn't think so -- the post office scene alone was worth it -- and we quite enjoyed it. Sure, it follows the emotional and quality letdown that follows Dr. Phil's Rule of Sequels, but so what? So far, the one comment I'd heard about MIB 3 was "better than 2".
Men in Black 3 3D [PG-13]
Holland 7 Theatre 5, 4:30pm, $18.50
Well, we thoroughly enjoyed MIB 3, which we saw in 3D, but not IMAX 3D, and overall the 3D was nicely done. Certainly didn't detract from the movie. As for the movie itself, it is useful to note that Mrs. Dr. Phil and I are old enough that we watched all the Apollo 11 coverage from July 1969 live. And in stirring Black & White. But in November 1968, I'd moved to White Plains NY, 27 miles north of New York City, so I watched the Mets become the Amazing Mets and pull off their miracle. Mrs. Dr. Phil was a loyal Cubs fan living in Chicago during the swoon. So perhaps this movie will always be a little more special to us than to the young whippersnappers of the Summer Blockbuster Ideal Demographic.
It's been some time since we've had a Will Smith "I own the 4th of July" summer blockbuster, so this year we get one on the official Memorial Day kickoff to summer. Considering that Spiderman is coming and how strong some of the spring movies were, it's still a pretty big weekend. Because with good popcorn and a suitable summer mindset, MIB 3 doesn't disappoint.
Our villain is pretty villainous. Reminds me of Mickey Rourke's villain in Iron Man 2, but, you know, alien. Good lord, how meta is it to be comparing sequels to sequels? Of course my big question in the opening shot is this -- I understand why high heeled boots have zippers, but why does the zipper go all the way down the stiletto heel to the floor? (grin) And it's no spoiler secret to know that we have a time travel adventure to deal with or that Josh Brolin has managed to channel an excellent young Tommy Lee Jones. Meanwhile Emma Thompson is flawless -- no one can deliver lines like she can (snicker) -- and the Andy Warhol bit is great fun.
But this isn't just about "the usual" time travel issues of what to reveal about the future to anyone in the past. Or even the small nods to recognizing Will Smith's special problems in dealing with 1969. No, where this movie becomes a joy for us is Griffin -- a (mostly) joyous alien who has a rather special relationship with time. Or his appreciation for the significance of temporal and cultural events. Even when the setups are obvious -- think Cracker Jacks -- he's still a fun romp of a character.
Unlike Battleship, which intends to use real world technology to battle the invincible aliens, there's no point in trying to worry about the Physics in a MIB movie. This is a special effects fest, delivered in a big tub of summer popcorn, emphasis on the corn.
What the time travel plot does -- besides inventing yet another novel AND ridiculous method of jumping in time -- is to put a fresh spin on what would be just the same old retread of the Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones J & K schtick. And the puzzles and clues aren't too devious to figure out with or ahead of the characters. Although I have to say that the final two reveals, one in 1969 and one in 2012, are unexpected.
I'd really hoped for a Dr. Phil Special at the end of all the credits, but alas, producer Steven Spielberg is too cheap for that. (grin) Still, MIB 3 follows Dr. Phil's Rule of Sequels in that it doesn't have the innocence of the first, but knowing how this series goes, the third installment really delivered for us. Mrs. Dr. Phil opined that this was her favorite. And I think that'll suffice to leave this review there.
BTW, methinks that the Wikipedia entry is in error, referring right now to liquid nitrogen, when it makes perfectly more good sense that it should be liquid oxygen. I'm sure it'll shortly be changed. (double-entry-grin)
Trailers: Finding Nemo in 3D. Sure it's a Disney re-release, but it's been years since this one has been on the big screen and frankly the colors and the 3D animation are really great looking. And in November we get a new James Bond film with Daniel Craig. Still fence sitting on the new The Amazing Spiderman movie.
Added: 5-27-2012: First trailer I've seen of the new Total Recall. No Ah-nold. No Mars. No decision yet.