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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Men in Black (25th Anniversary) (4K SteelBook Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


A talented young police officer discovers and joins the clandestine world of the Men in Black who monitor and police aliens living among us in this action/comedy hit starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Director Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1997 special effects extravaganza Men in Black may not have quite the same impact as it did 25-years-ago, but it is still an enjoyable comedy actioner. Based on the comic book series, the film acts as a vehicle for Will Smith (I, Robot; Hancock) and Tommy Lee Jones (The Sunset Limited; The Company Men) telling the story of an NYPD officer (Smith) who gets pulled into the covert group, MIB after chasing down a suspect who turns out to be an alien. Recruited by the group who helps keep the existence of aliens on Earth a secret and partnered with the gruff veteran, Kay (Jones), the officer is given a whole new identity and codenamed Jay. The two uneasy partners quickly find themselves in an intergalactic incident and rushing to save Earth.

A deadly alien bug (Vincent D’Onofrio) has come to Earth and killed a member of royalty from another planet in his search for a powerful energy search known as “the galaxy.” If Kay and Jay don’t find the galaxy and return it to their rightful owners, the planet will be destroyed.

The Video

Men in Black was shot in 35mm with numerous Panavision cameras. Out of the original trilogy it always looked the grittiest and softest to my eyes, but still very good, especially in 4K. This ‘new’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray steelbook release from Sony offers up what appears to be the same 4K restoration of the film, but now newly graded in Dolby Vision versus the previous 4K releases HDR10-only. The details film grain are about the same, but the Dolby Vision as played back on my LG CX OLED do seem to bring a little more of a natural appearance to the picture and frankly it looks a little better than I recall it looking. A comparison to the disc from the 4K trilogy box shows only an incremental difference in certain spots and barely any in others. It still looks great, however, as a standalone if not comparing it to the other films in the series.

The Audio

This is a robust and immersive Dolby Atmos audio mix (compatible with TrueHD 7.1). The film really benefits from the object-oriented sound format and the additional overhead channels, spreading lots of atmospherics, solid sound effects, and music through the overheads and surround channels. Dynamic range is superb, and dialogue is crystal clear. We also get an abundance of low end to handle the booms, blurps, and other sundries in the mix.

The Supplements

There are two new featurettes on the 4K disc with the director worth watching. Other than that, the features on the Blu-ray Disc remain the same as previously released. Of course, you also get the dazzling new artwork of the steelbook packaging.

  • Movies Anywhere Digital Copy Code
  • NEW Notes from the Director’s Chair (1080p; 00:11:54)
  • NEW Designing Men in Black (1080p; 00:20:08)

The Following are all the same previously available bonus features that remain on the included Blu-ray Disc:

  • Commentaries:
    • Telestrator commentary with director Barry Sonnenfeld and Tommy Lee Jones
    • Audio commentary with director Barry Sonnenfeld and Tommy Lee Jones
    • Technical commentary with Barry Sonnenfeld, Rick Baker, and Industrial Light and Magic Team
  • Intergalactic Pursuit: The MIB Multi-Player Trivia Game
  • Ask Frank the Pug!
  • Extended and Alternate Scenes (1.33:1; window-boxed; SD; 00:04:21)
  • Metamorphosis of Men in Black (1.33:1; window-boxed; SD; 00:23:12)
  • Original Featurette (1.33:1; window-boxed; SD; 00:06:38)
  • Visual Effects Scene Deconstruction – Interactive scene deconstruction of Tunnel Scene and Edgar Bug Fight Scene with optional technical commentary.
  • Character Animation Studies – An interactive character animation study of Mikey, Jeebs, and the Worm Guys with director’s introduction.
  • Creatures: Concept to Completion
  • Galleries
  • Storyboard Comparisons
    • Edgar Becomes a Bug
    • Saucer Crashes in Queens
    • Birthing the Baby Alien
  • Scene Editing Workshop w/ director’s introduction:
    • The Farmhouse
    • Jay’s Tryout for the MIB
    • The Morgue
  • Music Video: “Men in Black”
  • Men in Black Trailers

The Final Assessment

This fun popcorn sci-fi classic still holds up thanks to the chemistry between Jones and Smith and the awesome visual and sound effects. This is one of those reference titles like The Fifth Element that all home theater enthusiasts should own.

Men in Black (25th Anniversary) is out on 4K SteelBook July 19th, 2022 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

  • Rating Certificate: PG-13 for language and sci-fi violence
  • Studios & Distributors: Columbia Pictures | Amblin Entertainment | Parkes/MacDonald Image Nation | Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Written By: Lowell Cunningham (comic) | Ed Solomon (screen story)
  • Run Time: 98 Mins.
  • Street Date: 19 July 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible)
  • Subtitles: English | English SDH | Arabic | Chinese Simplified | Chinese Traditional | Czech | Danish | Dutch | Finnish | French | German | Greek | Hungarian | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Norwegian | Polish | Portuguese (Brazilian) | Portuguese | Romanian | Slovak | Spanish (Castilian) | Spanish (Latin American) | Swedish | Thai | Turkish

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A talented young police officer discovers and joins the clandestine world of the Men in Black who monitor and police aliens living among us in this action/comedy hit starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.Men in Black (25th Anniversary) (4K SteelBook Review)