Sipping on my morning cup of tea with two lumps of procrastination, I stumbled across this interesting analysis of the film Men In Black by Chez Lindsay/Nostalgia Chick. It’s an interesting watch that delves into the storytelling that made the film such a hit, and then goes on to look at why the sequel ruined everything (as they usually do).
Seemless World Building
Men In Black sets up its universe and conveys to the audience what’s going on enjoyably and effectively. The opening scene is a great example, as Lindsay points out in the video – the viewer finds out what the Men In Black’s job entails, how difficult and lonely that job is, and how the seemingly insane events that take place are actually a pretty standard day for them. And all of this with no lazy ‘Maid and Butler‘ dialogue going on – the characters aren’t doling out information to each other that they both already know, purely for the benefit of the viewer.
Dynamic, Flawed Characters
The characters are well done too. The chemistry between Agent J, the ‘idealistic common man,’ and Agent K, the ‘likeable old curmudgeon’ is a great dynamic that sets up endless possibilities. Also, the female mortician Laurel is not just a traditional love interest, nor is she a mary sue which seems to be such a popular trend in film lately (unfortunately, mentioning this gets you labelled a misogynist faster than slamming your wife’s head in the fridge). There’s a great middle ground where Laurel gets kidnapped, but she also rescues herself and saves J and K in the end. She’s capable but still flawed. In other words, a balanced and believable character.
There are loads of other storytelling concepts to delve into, but I would just be repeating what Lindsay already mentions. It’s a fun video, have a watch if you get fifteen minutes spare.