In 2016, Guillermo del Toro selected seven movies that he considers perfect, and among them was one of the best science fiction movies of all time – Men in Black. Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1997 action comedy blockbuster has an ingenious script written by Ed Solomon. It stars Will Smith as a cop who has his world upended by Tommy Lee Jones’ Kay, when he recruits him to a secret organisation who police aliens on earth.
As del Toro says in the Entertainment Weekly article, “Everybody on the movie was in a sort of state of grace: [special makeup effects artist] Rick Baker, Barry Sonnenfeld, the actors, [score composer] Danny Elfman, everybody.” One of the actors who gives the performance of his life is Vincent D’Onofrio, as an alien in a man’s skin suit. His physicality is incredible, and it’s one of the best comedy movie performances of all time.
Supporting cast members in the action movie include Linda Fiorentino, Rip Torn, and Tony Shalhoub – but the central duo of Smith and Jones have amazing chemistry as the mismatched buddy cops in a very messed-up world.
“The first Men in Black movie is a perfect movie,” praises del Toro – who won as Oscar for his animated movie Pinocchio a few days ago. “The way it introduces you to that secret world and the inner workings and the inner sanctum of that secret world is perfect from every aspect of it.” GDT is absolutely right, as usual, that Men in Black establishes its hidden alien world behind our human one extremely well.
Unfortunately the sequels haven’t quite lived up to the lightning-in-a-bottle that was the first Men in Black. We got Men in Black 2 in 2002, Men in Black 3 ten years later in 2012, and the ill-advised Men in Black International in 2019 – which is definitely not one of the best Chris Hemsworth movies.
If you love Guillermo del Toro’s films as much as us, check out our guide to the best fantasy movies.