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Men in Black Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French & Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish & Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Alien, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Dutch, French, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
  • Run Time: 98 Mins.
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 8, 2012
  • List Price: $19.99

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and their PR Firm have requested that NO SCREEN CAPTURES be posted with this title. Any website posting screen captures is in direct violation of the conditions involved with receiving pre-release materials or is entered into some other undisclosed agreement with the studio.

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Director Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1997 special effects extravaganza Men in Black may not have quite the same impact as it did fifteen-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 the galaxy and return it to their rightful owners, the planet will be destroyed.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

A generally strong transfer, this AVC/MPEG-4 encodement from Sony does a rather decent job presenting the 1997 vintage 35mm Eastman EXR 100T 5248 and EXR 200T 5293 source. While overall detail is strong with medium to high contrast and good foreground texture and detail, there are a few places where grain looks a bit rough and backgrounds are soft, particularly whites and clouds, that tend toward a little instability and grittiness.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Men in Black‘s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack is excellent. Explosions completely fill the soundfield while low frequency extension give them a hefty amount of “boom.” Panning across the front is aggressive and the entire mix has a wide dynamic range. Highs are clear and natural and dialogue is clean.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

While upon initial glance, MIB looks to be loaded with extras (and certainly three audio commentaries doesn’t hurt), much of the material is ported over and in standard definition, a definite thumbs down there. There are also a few features, also in SD, like the storyboard comparisons and galleries, that seem to unnecessarily use BD-Java for an “interactive” experience where something more straightforward would have worked just as well if not better.

The supplements:

  • 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 & Magic Team
  • Intergalactic Pursuit: The MIB Multi-Player Trivia Game – Test your knowledge to see if you have what it takes to become an MIB agent.
  • Ask Frank the Pug!
  • Extended and Alternate Scenes (1.33:1; SD):
    • Outside Leschko’s Diner
    • Jay’s MIB Audition
    • Mrs. Edelson
    • Chinese Restaurant
    • Bouncing Ball (Without Special Effects)
  • Metamorphosis of Men in Black (1.33:1; SD; 00:23:12) – Barry Sonnenfeld, Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, and others discuss the evolution of bringing Men in Black to the big screen.
  • Original Featurette (1.33:1; SD; 00:06:38) – A promotional look at Men in Black.
  • Visual Effects Scene Deconstruction – An interactive look into two scenes, the “Tunnel Scene” and “Edgar Bug Fight Scene” with optional technical commentary, allows viewers to see the scene unfold through storyboards, the bluescreen shoot, bluescreen composite, lighting and animation, and the final cut.
  • Character Animation Studies – As above, this is an interactive feature that explores various levels of the character development for Mikey, Jeebs, and the Worm Guys.
  • Creatures: Concept to Completion – Interactive progressive looks at the character designs of Edgar Bug, Jeebs, Mikey, Mr. Gentle and Farmer Edgar.
  • Galleries:
    • Storyboards Gallery
    • Conceptual Art
    • Production Photos
  • Storyboard Comparisons:
    • Edgar Becomes a Bug
    • Saucer Crashes in Queens
    • Birthing the Baby Alien
  • Scene Editing Workshop – You are the filmmaker, Choose from various shots to create your own sequence and then compare it to the director’s choice.:
    • The Farmhouse
    • Jay’s Tryout for the MIB
    • The Morgue
  • Music Video: “Men in Black” (1.33:1; SD)
  • Men in Black Trailers:
    • Original Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
    • Teaser (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • BD-Live
  • UltraViolet Digital Copy
  • On offer for a ticket to MIB III

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Deadpan humor and allusions to 1950s and 60s creature features make Men in Black an appealing, special effects action flick powered by the likability of lead Will Smith counteracted by the straight-laced Tommy Lee Jones. The Blu-ray is a good but not perfect effort from Sony.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and their PR Firm have requested that NO SCREEN CAPTURES be posted with this title. Any website posting screen captures is in direct violation of the conditions involved with receiving pre-release materials or is entered into some other undisclosed agreement with the studio.



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