A little while ago Sony announced a Men in Black- Jump Street cross over film was going to go ahead and this instantly and dramatically polarised opinion among our writers. Here is the result-
FOR- Phil Gorski
There are some combinations that don’t make sense until they’ve been experienced. These combinations, at a glance, seem strange. Perhaps even appalling. However, as those who dare to sample the unexpected know, pleasant surprises are out there waiting. The Jump Street- Men in Black crossover movie promises to be one of those.
Instead of looking at the two styles of humour as polar opposites, it’s important to look at them as a powerful one-two punch combo.
“What on Earth would possibly possess anyone to think this is a good idea?” someone might ask, and understandably. Men in Black and Jump Street are such opposite ends of the comedic spectrum. One is subtle with some over-the-top elements, while the other depends on a constant barrage of in-your-face, overt gags. It’s easy to judge Jump Street as being unworthy of sharing a movie with Men in Black, and that’s a tremendous mistake. This crossover event has plenty of potential to be exceptional.
Instead of looking at the two styles of humour as polar opposites, it’s important to look at them as a powerful one-two punch combo. Men in Black brings a certain precision- a fine-tuned nature in its jokes. There are genre-based nuances to each punchline, and this franchise will undoubtedly bring plenty of great sci-fi wackiness to the mix. Jump Street is the blunt force instrument to MiB’s surgical precision- with the more overt humour that should complement Men in Black’s subtleties. Such a combination will prove to be far more accessible to a broader audience than either franchise could reach on their own. Imagine the raw potential and ridiculous amount of potential gags that could come out of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum interacting with worm aliens, or how much trouble they’ll get into with MiB headquarters.
These are two worlds that no one could have expected to see together outside of fan-fiction.
Another way this movie is naturally destined for success, is the interesting tension between styles. These are two worlds that no one could have expected to see together outside of fan-fiction, and yet the world will experience an inevitable blending of Men in Black’s alien curiosities and Jump Street’s capacity to elevate homophobic commentary into some sort of perverse art. These two styles will clash, and seeing how they come together is going to be fascinating.
Critics and naysayers will prematurely speak ill of this combination, which is just as well as they probably wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate such a tongue-in-cheek blend of comedy. It’s new, it’s not a sequel or remake, and it’s different, and it’s natural for people to try tearing the idea down before it sees the light of day. That said: Men in Black and Jump Street will certainly go together just like the booze and mixers that could well be needed to fully appreciate this title.
AGAINST- George Storr
Sony’s announcement that a Men in Black-Jump Street ‘cross-over’ will be released is yet another heart-breaking nail in the coffin of cinematic originality. While 22 Jump Street tried itself to make a mockery of un-necessary film sequels, it was a half-hearted attempt and ultimately, the height of hypocrisy.
Look at the listings for your nearest large cinema and ask yourself ‘how many of those films are sequels, spin-offs and re-boots?’
While films like the Jump Street titles are not without credit, their proliferation seems to be getting out of control- look at the listings for your nearest large cinema and ask yourself ‘how many of those films are sequels, spin-offs and re-boots?’ Essentially audiences are being fed more and more films purely on the basis that they have proven they can make money- why take a risk on funding a new, risky, unique project when you can fund something like, Jurassic World, Fast and Furious 7, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Taken 3, or perhaps Terminator Genysis? (I could go on… and on.) The issue with this trend is not always the films themselves, (even a cash cow sometimes has a good calf, Mad Max Fury Road springs to mind,) but what we’re missing out on. Some of our greatest writers and directors have come from small beginnings because of great new ideas, a passion for their craft, persistence and some luck. This trend in funding whatever films are guaranteed to yield a large profit and filling cinemas, almost exclusively with them, has dangerous potential to deny up-and-coming writers and directors their ‘big breaks’ in the industry.
Neither series is without merit, but both are far from classics and essentially- have had their day.
Budding creatives have to be trusted and supported more unless audiences are prepared to sacrifice original, inspiring cinema for films that are essentially an exercise in marketing. Arguably most of our best films now come from older writers and directors, (a recent, and prime, example: Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper,) who are proven to the extent that they’re allowed some degree of freedom, but where will their replacements come from if the film’s that are funded are revivals of things like Men in Black and the Jump Street Franchise? Again, neither series is without merit, but both are far from classics and essentially- have had their day. While the ‘cross-over’ film may be enjoyable in its own right its complete lack of originality, twinned with its seemingly un-stoppable money making potential, (on a related note- the amount of money Fast and Furious Seven made was heart-breaking for fans of original cinema,) makes it a pretty heartless, un-memorable affair. To recommend one final comparison which damns the revival and union of these two franchises- have a quick scan over the big-budget-sequel littered filmography of Michael Bay and then give Tarantino’s filmography, that of a real creative, the same look over. As clear an example as you could wish to find- films made purely for financial gain vs. films made with a genuine, creative, passion for cinema.
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