Men in Black is a 1997 American comedy science fiction spy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, produced by Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald and starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The film is a loose adaptation of Lowell Cunningham’s The Men in Black comic book series, originally published by Marvel and Malibu Comics, with a plot following two agents of a secret organization called Men in Black who supervise extraterrestrial lifeforms who live on Earth and hide their existence from ordinary humans. The film featured the creature effects and makeup of Rick Baker and visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic. The film was released on July 2, 1997, by Columbia Pictures, and grossed $589,390,539 worldwide against a $90 million budget. At the 70th Academy Awards, it won the award for Best Makeup, and was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Original Score for music composer Danny Elfman.
An animated series based on the film, titled Men in Black: The Series, ran from 1997 to 2002 on The WB. A live-action sequel, Men in Black II, was released in 2002. This was followed by Men in Black 3 in 2012.
Agent K and his partner Agent D intercept a truck smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States. Inside they discover an alien disguised as a human. When he runs, they shoot him and use neuralyzers to wipe the memories of the border patrol witnesses. D decides to retire and asks K to wipe his memory too.
NYPD officer James Darrell Edwards III pursues a supernaturally fast and agile suspect. Before the suspect jumps to his death, Edwards sees his irises blink horizontally. In upstate New York, an alien crash-lands and kills a farmer named Edgar to use his skin as a disguise.
K interviews J about his encounter, then neuralyzes him and leaves him a business card with an address. Edwards goes to the address and undergoes a series of tests, for which he finds unusual solutions. While the other candidates are neuralyzed, K offers Edwards a position with the Men in Black (M.I.B.), a secret non-government agency that polices extraterrestrial activity on Earth. Edwards accepts and his identity is erased, becoming Agent J, the newest M.I.B. recruit.
The alien in Edgar’s skin goes into a New York restaurant and kills two aliens disguised as humans. He steals from them a container, searching for something, but finds only diamonds inside. After investigating the crash landing at the farm, K concludes that Edgar’s skin was taken by a “bug”, a species of aggressive cockroach-like aliens. He and J head to a morgue to examine the human bodies the bug killed. Inside one body they discover a dying Arquillian alien, who says that “the galaxy is on Orion’s belt”. The alien, who used the name Rosenberg, was a member of the Arquillian royal family and his death may spark war.
M.I.B. informant Frank the Pug, an alien disguised as a dog, explains that the missing galaxy is a massive source of energy housed in a small jewel. The bug and J separately deduce that the galaxy is hanging on the collar of Rosenberg’s cat Orion, which refuses to leave the body at the morgue. J and K arrive just as the bug takes the galaxy and kidnaps the coroner, Laurel Weaver. The Arquillians deliver an ultimatum to M.I.B: return the galaxy within an hour or they will destroy Earth.
The bug arrives at the site of two disguised flying saucers, the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion at Flushing Meadows, and abandons Laurel. The bug escapes on one saucer, but K and J shoot it down. It sheds Edgar’s skin and swallows J and K’s guns. K provokes it until he too is swallowed. The bug tries to escape on the other ship, but J slows it down by taunting it and crushing cockroaches, angering it. K blows it apart from the inside, having found his gun inside its stomach. They recover the galaxy and are about to be attacked by the bug again but Laurel shoots it with J’s gun.
At M.I.B. headquarters, K tells J that he has not been training him as a partner but a replacement. At K’s request, J neuralyzes him; K returns to his civilian life and Laurel becomes J’s new partner, L.
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