- Review by Kaya Savas - July 2, 2019
After years of waiting for Sony to decide what they were going to do with the Men In Black franchise, we are delivered this half-baked excuse to suck out a few extra dollars from people who remember watching the original. But hey, it could be worse. At least that original plan of the 21 Jump Street/Men In Black crossover died. Anyway, there isn’t much to be said here. The score is just a rehashing of Danny Elfman’s original material.
Danny Elfman’s score to the first Men In Black was just perfect. It embraced his style yet created something unique for this Barry Sonnenfeld created world, and it was a mega success. Unfortunately, the two sequels were not enough to convince Sony that some things should remain dead. While Men In Black 3 strangely had its moments, the second film was an abysmal misfire. Men In Black: International follows suit.
Danny Elfman used this film pretty much as an opportunity to get Chris Bacon’s name some attention. Chris Bacon is an extremely talented composer, and he used to work a lot with James Newton Howard until recently he started doing additional music for Danny. His solo work is fantastic and his scores for The Tick, Bates Motel, and Source Code are all worth your attention. However, here Chris is put in an odd position. He needs to take Danny’s well-established material (3 films of established material) and find a way to breath new life into it.
Now, there are plenty of franchises with strong musical identities that have gone on way longer than Men In Black. Yet for some reason this score seems tired and out of breath. There’s no energy behind it, it lacks oomph. It literally feels like, “okay, can we reprise the theme here?”. And it doesn’t help that the score comes in 1 to 2-minute bursts. The short track times show that the score is not really being used to structure the narrative. Instead, music is being used more like a seasoning.
By the time we reach the end, Men In Black: International almost feels like an SNL skit that ran 2 hours too long. There’s a lot of talent here, but it’s all wasted on a bad script and poor direction. Elfman handing the reigns to Chris is almost like driving a car till it reaches 250,000 miles and handing the keys over. This franchise needs to be put to bed as there is nothing left to explore or add from a storytelling standpoint.