Men in Black II: Collector's Edition (2002)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Ghostbusters; Stuart Little 2; The Chubb Chubbs; CE3K
Music Video-Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Trailer-Infogrames: Alien Escape; MIIB: Crossfire Game
Audio-Visual Commentary-Barry Sonnenfeld (Director)
Featurette-Men In Black Training Video; MIIB Orb (9)
Active Subtitle Track-Alien Broadcast
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Featurette-Serleena Animatic Sequence
Multiple Angles-Scene Deconstructions (5 x 4)
Featurette-Creature Featurettes (7)
Featurette-Barry Sonnenfeld's Guide To Intergalactic Comedy
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Barry Sonnenfeld|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Tommy Lee Jones
Lara Flynn Boyle
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
Active Subtitle Track
English for the Hearing Impaired
English AV Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I first saw the trailer for Men In Black (you might also want to read our reviews of the Men In Black: Deluxe Collector's Edition and the Men In Black: Limited Edition) about six months before it was released theatrically, and based on this it went straight to the top of my mental "must see" list. Here was a film that looked like fun and hopefully offered more than a few laughs as well as an opportunity to put your brain in neutral, sit back, and relax. I have to admit that on actually viewing the movie shortly after it was released I was slightly disappointed. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy it, and it's not that it wasn't fun, it's just that I had built up excessively high expectations. In the case of Men In Black II, my expectations were set at more reasonable level and as a result I think they were fully met. In any case, I think the sequel is actually a slightly better movie overall. Its humour level is more consistent and I think its overall fun factor is set one or two notches higher than the first film. One thing is certain and that is if you enjoyed the first instalment then there is no doubt that you'll enjoy this movie.
The plot for Men In Black II is fairly simple and can be summed up as follows: While investigating the murder of an alien, Agent Jay (Will Smith) encounters Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson) who is a witness to the crime. On hearing her story he learns that the murderer is looking for something called "The Light of Zartha". It turns out that 25 years previously, the Zarthans came to Earth looking to hide the light from Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), a rather nasty Kylothian, who is now back on Earth disguised as a underwear model, and still looking for the light as it will give her power over the Zarthans. Zed (Rip Torn) informs Jay that when the Zarthans came to Earth he assigned his best agent to the case with instructions that the light could not be hidden on Earth. Who was this agent? Why Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) of course! As you'll remember, Kay retired from the Men In Black at the end of the first movie, was neuralyzed by Jay, and is now the Postmaster at some little out-of-the-way Post Office. Jay sets out to get Kay and bring him back to the Men In Black headquarters so that he can be de-neuralysed and thus have his memory restored. Unfortunately, before this can be carried out, Serleena infiltrates the headquarters and neutralises all the agents. This leaves Agents Jay and Kay in a race against Serleena to find the light and to prevent the destruction of Earth.
There's a couple of interesting cameo appearances in this movie, including Michael Jackson who is trying to join the Men In Black as well as Director Barry Sonnenfeld who appears as the neuralyzed father who now lives in Agent Kay's old apartment. Tony Shalhoub reprises his role from the first movie as Jack Jeebs (and manages to get his head blown up several times) and Patrick Warburton (you'll probably remember him as the straight-laced NASA guy from The Dish) puts in an appearance as Agent Tee. The stand-out performance in this movie belongs to Tommy Lee Jones who plays his part with the right degrees of both pathos and seriousness as demanded by the story.
Until the hinted-at Men In Black III is shot and released, at least we can sit back and enjoy our DVDs of Men In Black and Men In Black II.
This is an excellent video transfer and not far away from being reference quality in my view. I guess I should point that I'm very fussy about video quality and I expect most of you will consider this transfer to indeed be of reference quality. For me, it loses a few points due some noticeable edge enhancement and aliasing.
The transfer is presented in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.
Shadow detail is perfect. Blacks are solid and completely free of any low level noise. This is one incredibly sharp transfer and consequently a very finely detailed image is on display. You can see every wrinkle in Zed's face or count all the hairs in Agent Jay's moustache if you are so inclined. On the negative side, some slight edge enhancement is visible on occasion although it is a long way from as bad as this can be and is not particularly distracting in this transfer.
This movie utilises a full colour palette and I'm very happy to report that despite the wide variations in light levels from dimly lit night scenes to bright daytime ones, the colours are always fully saturated and vividly and accurately rendered on the screen. Similarly, skin tones are completely realistic. There's not a hint of colour bleeding.
I didn't see a single film artefact, which is just the way it should be for such a recent movie. There were also no MPEG artefacts to speak of. Film-to-video artefacts were limited to some aliasing that occurred on a few occasions, for example, on the train at 9:50, the chair at 17:57 and the car grille at 23:36.
There are a number of subtitle tracks provided and I sampled all of them with the exception of the Dutch subtitles. Ten minute samples of both the English and English For The Hearing Impaired subtitles, which are referred to as English Captions in the subtitle menu, showed these to be reasonably accurate, but certainly not word perfect, with a number of additional or missing words as well as some substituted phases. While the English subtitles are displayed at the bottom of the screen, the English Captions have the additional feature of placing the text next to the character who is speaking. All the subtitles utilise sufficiently large white text and are well synchronised to the dialogue. The only negative comment about the subtitles is that they can't be changed on-the-fly as the movie plays but only via the subtitle menu.
This disc is RSDL-formatted, with the layer change occurring during Chapter 20, at 58:00. It is very well placed, and while noticeable, it is not particularly disruptive to the movie.
You can sum up the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio in this transfer in two simple words: reference quality. This track has it all and I'm sure many of you will be using this to show off the quality of your home theatre audio system to assorted friends/relatives/neighbours.
Two audio tracks are present, these being the aforementioned English Dolby Digital 5.1 track as well as a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded commentary track. I listened to both of these tracks in their entirety.
The dialogue level was always properly balanced against the sound effects and consequently you won't have any problem understanding every spoken word. There didn't appear to be any problems with the audio sync.
If you've seen Men In Black you will be familiar with the music, as the main theme has been recycled from the original movie. I enjoyed the musical score by Danny Elfman which nicely enhanced the fun atmosphere created by this movie. Several interesting and probably familiar tunes pop up in the movie as well, including I Will Survive and Who Let The Dogs Out, not to mention Will Smith performing Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head) over the closing credits.
The surround channels are used aggressively at every opportunity (and there are many opportunities) in this movie. The result is a completely enveloping soundfield which puts the viewer right in the middle of the on-screen action and there's more than enough of this to satisfy the most action hungry of viewers. This is a very energetic audio track which will give all your speakers a thorough work-out.
The subwoofer had three things to say in this movie: bang, crash, boom, and it relayed this message with appropriate authority and power in all the right places. There's no shortage of right places either. Hang on to your seats, folks!
|Surround Channel Use|
There's more than enough quality extras on this two disc set to satisfy the most extra-hungry viewer.
Now why aren't all DVD menus like this? Not only do we have a 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced animated menu, but also an animated introduction as well as animated sequences that appear when switching menus. The scene selection and Director's Commentary menus are also animated. And it doesn't stop there. The menus have Dolby Digital 5.1 audio which is nicely utilised and includes split surround effects. Very, very nice! This is what you could call a reference quality menu! Can we have more menus like this, please?
You know the one. Can't we have one of the newer trailers please?
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 this trailer is 16x9 enhanced and features Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Subtitles are provided but only in Dutch.
Slightly longer than the teaser, this trailer includes quite a few of the best bits of the movie. It's presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The audio is once again Dolby Digital 5.1. Subtitles are provided but only in Dutch.
The trailers are selected from the "Franks Favourite" icon on the main menu. These are all typical trailers that are presented in various aspect ratios and audio encoding. Subtitles are provided for each trailer but only in Dutch.
The nicest looking and one of the best sounding is The Chubb Chubbs trailer which is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
The Stuart Little trailer has quite noticeable pixelization. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with 16x9 enhancement. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1.
The Ghost Busters trailer is for the 15th anniversary digitally remastered video and DVD and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital surround encoded audio.
Close Encounters of The Third Kind is a trailer for the collector's edition video and is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.20:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is once again Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.
What we have here are two trailers for games themed around the movie. Both are displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio. Alien Escape is a Play Station game, while MIIB Crossfire is a PC game. The Crossfire trailer implies there is a demo of the game on the DVD but after a careful search of the disc I was not able to locate this.
I viewed this feature with the "Telestrator" feature turned on which means that the director can actually draw on the screen in order to clearly highlight the features, characters and so forth that he is talking about. If you prefer to only listen to the commentary you can turn this feature off via the Director's Commentary menu.
The commentary provides lots of technical information on topics such as how the special effects were created, the various locations used for the shoot and so forth. There were plenty of interesting titbits such as how at one point during the making of the movie he thought he was having a heart attack and was admitted to hospital. Fortunately, it turned out to only be a stress attack brought on by the pressure and stress levels he experienced during the shoot. Apparently Will Smith also did a lot of ad-libbing as well as many of his own stunts and Michael Jackson wanted to be in Men In Black but there was no suitable role for him until this movie. As commentaries go, Barry Sonnenfeld manages to provide a huge amount of detail on the making of the movie, however his delivery is a bit too dry to really engross the listener.
Access to this is located via an Easter Egg which is selected by highlighting the newspaper being read by one of the worm guys on the main menu. As you will already know, many celebrities are actually aliens in disguise. In this training video Eddie McGuire, Sarah O'Hare and Kieren Perkins are interviewed to determine if they are human or in fact aliens. This feature is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and therefore not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded. No subtitles are available. This featurette is being marketed as a Region 4 exclusive feature, but should be accessible on Region 2 versions of this DVD by setting your player manually to Region 4 and selecting Title 25 (the Region 2 version of this DVD is, we believe, dual coded Region 2 and Region 4, whereas the disc released in Region 4 is coded Region 4 only).
This option is selected from an icon on the main menu. When turned on, at various points during the movie an icon appears on-screen. When it does, you can press the Enter button on your remote in order to select a short clip which provides information about some aspect of the movie at this point. For example, two of these provide background information on the special effects and on the design of the MIB weapons. The information is provided by various behind-the-scenes crew such as the director and producers as well as various cast members.
Just like Disc 1 we have a 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced animated menu, with an animated introduction as well as animated sequences that appear when switching menus. The audio is once again Dolby Digital 5.1.
This options gives you access to the 9 featurettes which are described below. You can play them all or select which ones you want to play and in what order you want to see them. They are all displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio. There are also subtitles but for some reason these are only available in Dutch.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld describes what looping is and why it's sometimes necessary. There's plenty of footage of Will Smith, Lara Flynn Boyle, Tim Blaney (who's the voice of Frank the Pug) and Johnny Knoxville recording dialogue and generally having plenty of fun doing it.
Barry Sonnenfeld and Production Designer Bo Welch describe what a production designer does, his importance to the movie and where the inspirations for the design concepts come from.
Rick Baker describes what he was trying to achieve with his various alien designs and describes the process he uses to develop the designs.
Details of the various techniques used to create these creatures. For example, Frank The Pug is actually a marriage of footage of an actual dog and animation that is used to create the facial expressions.
The various Foley artists involved in the production show us how they created some of the sound effects.
Danny Elfman talks about how he became interested in composing film music, where his inspiration comes from and the process he uses to compose and record a film score.
Blooper Reel (5:06)
Displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio. There are Dutch subtitles. It seems like the actors often had trouble delivering their lines with straight faces. Hard to understand, that!
Displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio. A combination of story boards and simple animation, this shows Serleena's arrival and first few minutes on Earth.
Here you can use the DVD player's angle function to navigate through the various layers used in the production process to create various special effects sequences from the film. Five sequences are included: Opening Sequence (1:54), Jay & Jeff (0:59), Car Chase (3:16), Jarra Fight Scene Part 1 (0:41), and the Jarra Fight Scene Part II (1:02). Each of these provide from two to five different layers. All are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio. Once again, there's Dutch subtitles if you need them.
Just like the title says. While different from the theatrical ending, it's really not that different. A Director's commentary would have been interesting in order to explain why this ending was not used. This is also displayed at 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio. Oh, and there's Dutch subtitles.
There's seven of these, each one focusing on a different alien: Scrad/Charlie (2:02), The Worms (2:52), Serleena (3:07), Alien Esoterica (4:29), Jeebs (2:33) and Jarra (3:24). Various behind-the-scenes people talk about the characters and how they were created, interspersed with relevant clips from the movie. The Alien Esoterica and Serleena featurettes are the same as those accessed via the Special Delivery MIB Orb. They are all displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and the audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded. Naturally. there are also Dutch subtitles.
Featurettes - Bonus Barry Sonnenfeld's Intergalactic Guide To Comedy (6:00)
This is selected via the Creature Featurettes menu. Here we have the Director and a selection of behind the scenes people talking about what they think is funny and the director's sense of humour. Once again 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital surround encoded audio and Dutch subtitles.
Images of 4 posters for the movie displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement. There's no audio accompaniment.
Will Smith performs the movie's theme song: Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head). The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded and the picture is displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
An extensive collection of quite nice looking selected filmographies which are displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement. There are filmographies for Barry Sonnenfeld (Director), Walter F. Parkes (Producer), Laurie MacDonald (Producer), Robert Gordon (Writer), Barry Finaro (Writer), Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Larra Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Rip Torn, and Tony Shaloub.
Here you can buy and download the MIIB Crossfire game or you can play the free on-line demo. There are links to various web sites including the MIIB Official Site. You can also enter the Men In Black Headquarters and access additional information on the movie and featurettes.
There are two versions of this DVD available in Region 1: a widescreen edition and a full screen edition. As far as content is concerned they are virtually identical to our Region 4 disc. The only real difference seems to be the inclusion of a French Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track on the Region 1 version and the "exclusive to Region 4" Men In Black Training Video (see the Extras section for more information on this).
Like its predecessor Men In Black II is a lot of fun. Once again this movie will provide you a perfect opportunity to turn off your brain, sit back, relax and enjoy an action packed ride. When the movie's over, if you're so inclined, you can spend several more hours exploring all this two disc set's special features.
The video quality is excellent and only just short of being reference quality.
The audio quality is superb, and is reference quality.
The extras are more than satisfactory, in both the categories of quality and quantity.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300|