Ralph Potts reviews the Limited Edition Collection of the Men in Black Trilogy, which is making its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year:Sony – 1997, 2002, 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 98/88/106 minutes
Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC @ 4000 NITS
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish DTS-HD 5.1, Czech, French, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Rip Torn, Vincent D’Onofrio, Linda Fiorentino, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shaloub, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alice Eve
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Music by: Danny Elfman
Written by: > (MiB) Ed Solomon, (MiB II) Robert Gordon & Barry Fanaro, (MiB 3) Etan Cohen based upon the Comic by Lowell Cunningham
Region Code: A,B,C
Release Date: December 5, 2017
I reviewed Men in Black’s three Blu-ray releases, and have included my comments from those reviews here. Ratings for films, and bonus content will be the same, as they are identical to the original releases. New comments and ratings for the Ultra HD video and Dolby Atmos sound are below.
Men in Black: Men in Black follows the exploits of Agents K (Jones), and J (Smith), members of a top-secret organization established to monitor alien activity on Earth. The two MiB find themselves in the middle of the deadly plot by an intergalactic terrorist (Vincent D’Onofrio) who has arrived on Earth to assassinate two ambassadors from opposing galaxies. K and J face a simple imperative: track down the interloper or the Earth will be destroyed.
Men in Black 2: Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are back in black as the scum-fighting super-agents Kay and Jay – regulators of all things alien on planet earth. Their latest mission: to save the world from a total intergalactic disaster! When a renegade Kylothian monster disguised as a lingerie model threatens the survival of the human race, the boys of the MIB get the call to step up and get busy. With their headquarters under siege and time running out, Agents Kay and Jay enlist the help of Frank the Pug and a posse of hard-living worms to help them kick some seriously sexy alien butt!
Men in Black 3: Agents J [Will Smith] and K [Tommy Lee Jones] are back… in time. J has seen some inexplicable things in his 15 years with the Men in Black, but nothing, not even aliens, perplexes him as much as his wry, reticent partner. But when K’s life and the fate of the planet are put at stake, Agent J will have to travel back in time to put things right. J discovers that there are secrets to the universe that K never told him – secrets that will reveal themselves as he teams up with the young Agent K [Josh Brolin] to save his partner, the agency and the future of humankind.
For me, Men in Black is one of those movies that has excellent replay value. Clever writing, creative visual design/special effects and the great casting all combine to make this film work. Vincent D’Onofrio is priceless as the easily irritated and vicious invading bug. I find Linda Fiorentino to be very attractive (even more so in high definition!) and enjoyed her role in MiB. Smith and Jones play perfectly off of one another. I think that Will Smith has strong on-screen appeal. He has some truly wonderful moments in this film. “In New York is just be raining black people,” “you need to ease up out my face before something bad happens to you”. Tommy Lee Jones is an actor that excels at playing a crusty, trustworthy, and extremely believable character. I can’t think of a film of his where I didn’t appreciate his performance. His straight forward and deliberate “just the facts” old school style worked perfectly in tandem with Will Smith’s wise cracking and street-smart approach. I won’t go into a long dissection of the story because at this point I think that most who are reading this have seen it. I would like to offer up a few of my favorite moments from MIB:
- Beatrice and Edgar/Bug “sugar”
- J explaining why he shot the little girl in the simulator
- J and K interviewing Beatrice
- J and K exchange regarding Dr. Weaver and her being “flashy thingied
- J and Dr. Weaver’s exchange as Edgar/Bug hides under the gurney
- Edgar/Bug car-jacking the cabbie and taking the time to throw out the beaded seat cushion and air freshener
- K and Frank the Pug (of course)
- J and the Bug “I’m sorry was that your Auntie? (crunch)”
These are just to name a few. I think that Men in Black is a wonderfully entertaining film that has earned its place among fans as a classic popcorn flick.
Men in Black II unfortunately eschews much of the witty dialogue and wonderfully infused banter of its predecessor in favor of overused slapstick, an unaffecting villain and repetitive action. The result is a middling sequel that fails to capture the freshness and charm of the original. Having said that I would like to point out that Men in Black II isn’t all bad especially if you enjoy its thematic appeal and core cast. I have owned it on Blu-ray since its release but will admit that it hasn’t seen the light of day in quite some time. I didn’t mind this revisit and found that watching MiB II on Ultra HD Blu-ray gave it a nice shot in the arm.
When I sat down and watched Men in Black 3 I was immediately reminded of what initially drew me to the first film, which is clever writing, creative visual design/special effects and great casting.
The storyline revolves around an alien threat which in this case will require Agent J to go back in time to 1969 to thwart. After encountering and failing to capture Boris the animal, a recent moon prison escapee, MIB partners, Agents J & K have a bit of a tiff over an undisclosed event from the past, sparked by Boris’ emergence that K refuses to share. The next morning Agent J awakens to find Agent K’s existence has been extinguished and that an impending alien invasion is threatening to wipe out humanity. A little investigating leads Agent J to his next mission locate, Boris, who has gone back in time with the intention of killing Agent K who in 1969 was responsible for capturing him and shooting off his arm in the process. The outcome would be dual purpose allowing him to keep his arm and prevent K from obtaining an earth protecting alien shield specifically designed to keep his kind from attacking our planet.
Agent J makes the time jump and encounter’s 1960’s MIB along with a noticeably younger and slightly “happier” Agent K. Agent J must make him understand what has occurred, enlist his help and ensure that the series of events that transpire restore balance to the present while saving the life of his partner. What Agent J doesn’t know is that the past holds a secret for him. Before he can make that discovery, he will need the help of a few important people, several of whom are closer to him than he knows.
This movie was lots of fun and successfully reinvigorates the MIB franchise. I liked the storyline and its interconnection to J & K both past and present. Josh Brolin’s interpretation of the younger K is spot on and hilarious. As usual, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones share excellent chemistry. Luckily this applied to interaction with Josh Brolin as well. The dialogue and situational gags is spot on and reminiscent of what made Men in Black fun. Emma Thompson adds an air of freshness to new character Agent O as does her younger counterpart played by the eye pleasing Alice Eve. All in all, Men in Black 3 is a good time and a complimentary addition to the franchise.
The rating is for sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content.
AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
UHD Presentation: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- HDR: Dark Highlights:
- HDR: Bright Highlights:
- HDR: Expanded Color:
- Visual Impact:
Dolby Atmos Rating: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Level of immersion:
- Soundstage integration:
- Audio object placement:
- Entertainment factor:
Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:
The Men in Black Trilogy comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.
According to the press documentation Sony remastered The Men in Black Trilogy from the original 35mm film elements, and I believe each presentation in Ultra HD is derived from the 4K Digital Intermediate.
It’s important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. The Men in Black films have an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that may not result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn’t a problem and shouldn’t be seen as such.
Looking at each of these films the benefits of not only the restoration, but the Ultra HD treatment, are blatantly obvious. From a cinematic perspective, these films were shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind, and that comes through in each presentation. These easily best the 1080p versions, offering imagery that lifts the vail. I wouldn’t describe either of the first two films as overtly colorful, however, there are elements, where the palate of autumn based hues, sepia tones and variants of blue/red/green benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut, appearing slightly warmer and pleasing to the eye. Men in Black 3’s color rich imagery gets a boost, delivering eye catching delineation that emboldens depth. Resolution gets a noticeable upgrade as well. Close-ups and mid-level shots offer improved refinement and deeper resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features when compared to the Blu-ray.
The addition of high dynamic range added a pleasing visual element that enriched both natural and artificial light. I also felt that the dark/low-level sequences benefited from the application of HDR which emboldened their blacks and shadow delineation, which were rendered with excellent dimension, especially when coupled with brighter visual elements. Hands down, these Ultra HD renderings reinvigorate each of these films, making for a marked improvement that easily worth it for fans.
In listening to the Dolby Atmos soundtracks, across the board, I was pleased with how active each mix is. The use of overhead sound objects elevates proportional correlation. When compared to the 5.1 channel mixes, the immersive sound offers a noticeable improvement by opening up the soundstage, elevating the perception of low level detail. During the various encounters/action/interior/exterior venues featured in each film, the tracks brim with atmospherics, off screen cues and discrete sound effects that when applied using the freedom of object based placement adds an enriching layer to the film’s soundtrack. This is noticeable right from the beginning, with noteworthy examples being found throughout.
When called for the Dolby Atmos mixes took a subtle or more active approach, and conveyed the spirit and overall feel of the original soundtracks while adding a complimentary element. I thoroughly enjoyed each and had a blast revisiting them.
- Disc 1: Men in Black Ultra HD Blu-ray
- Disc 2: Men in Black Blu-ray
- Disc 3: Men in Black II Ultra HD Blu-ray
- Disc 4: Men in Black II Blu-ray
- Disc 5: Men in Black 3 Ultra HD Blu-ray
- Disc 6: Men in Black 3 Blu-ray
- Previously Released Bonus Features
- Men in Black Trilogy Digital HD Copy
The Men in Black Trilogy is popcorn entertainment that is just plain fun, and worth revisiting from time to time (especially in the case of installments 1 and 3). They are making their Ultra HD debut in this Limited-Edition Collection from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring beautifully restored Ultra HD video, an entertaining and complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix, and legacy bonus supplements. If you’re a fan and are equipped to take advantage of the Ultra HD/Dolby Atmos upgrades this Ultra HD release is highly recommended.
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JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems