Released in 1997 and based on “The Men in Black” comic book by Lowell Cunningham, the movie centers around an organization of agents tasked with monitoring extraterrestrial life inhabiting planet Earth. The film was extremely well received and gained an Academy Award for Best Makeup as well as several sequels. Stars of “The Men in Black” include: Will Smith as Agent J., Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K., Vincent D’Onofrio as Edgar, Linda Fiorentino as Dr. Laurel, and Rip Torn as Head Agent Zed, to name a few.
The Story: The movie opens on partners K. and D. tracking a truckload of illegal extraterrestrial immigrants across the U.S. border. When a Border Patrol officer witnesses one of the aliens free of human disguise, K. and D. must intervene and blast the alien to smithereens. To erase the memories of the spectators, K. uses a device called a neutralizer. Feeling it is time to retire, D. requests to be neutralized as well, meaning K. must now find a new partner. This scene gives the viewers insight into why an agency such as the MIB can exist without the rest of the population knowing.
Back in New York, an off-duty police officer, James Edwards, is pursuing an alien disguised as human on foot. James can tell this is no ordinary person as the chase involves jumping rooftops, but his suspicions are peaked when the fugitive blinks a second pair of eyelids and draws a strange weapon. Agent K. debriefs James on the incident, and then leads him to an alien-in-disguise pawn shop to identify the weapon. Once K. assesses the situation, he erases James’ memory but leaves him his card, beckoning James to apply for a job with the agency.
Because the majority of the aliens supervised by MIB reside in New York City, it’s only natural than their underground headquarters is stationed there as well. When James arrives to compete for the job, he is noticeable and comically out of place among the other applicants. At the end of the trials, James is not among the applicants that get “flashy-thinged” (neutralized), and becomes K.’s new partner, Agent J.
The MIB is investigating a sudden exodus of aliens from planet Earth when a tip leads them to Edgar’s farm where a UFO had crashed. After the crash, the alien bug disguises himself in Edgar’s skin. The fear conveyed is that the bug, a cockroach alien, is a member of a race at war with many other alien species. Among these species are the Arquillians who’s prince exists among the humans of NYC. When Edgar attacks the prince, his dying words tell J. that “the galaxy is on Orion’s belt.” Things begin to fall into place as it is suspected that the bug has come to Earth to steal a missing galaxy capable of providing incredible amounts of energy, but at this point only Edgar knows that the galaxy is hidden on the collar of the prince’s cat, Orion.
Dr. Laurel Weaver, a medical examiner, is performing an autopsy on the prince when she stumbles upon Orion who seems to be protecting the dead body. The bug steals the galaxy from Orion’s neck, kidnapping Laurel in the process. MIB is then caught in a crossfire when angered Arquillians threaten to obliterate Earth if the galaxy is not retrieved within the hour. In need of a ride home, Edgar takes Laurel to a monument which is actually a pair of UFOs in disguise. J. and K. manage to destroy one of the saucers, only to have the bug ingest their weapons.
Leave it to Will Smith to find a way to further irritate the bug into swallowing K. so that he might retrieve his gun and blow the bug from the inside. But the final blow comes from Laurel who locates J.’s gun and kills the wounded bug as he mounts his final attack. Back at MIB, K. makes the decision to retire. The movie comes full circle as J. neutralizes K.’s memory, and picks up a new lady partner, Agent L. The close of the film shows that our galaxy, the Milky Way, is also inside of another alien’s gem.