Why scifi is awesome: Men in Black

. 2 min read

Taking a step away from the serious scifi movies towards the more comedy-like scifi flicks, let's talk about Men in Black (1997). Because let's face it, MIB isn't as philosophical as Interstellar or The Island or Minority Report. But it's funny. Especially the pug is funny. Among other things.

Men in Black is about a secret organization fighting aliens on Earth. Some aliens just want to live their lives in peace - those the agents of the organization leave alone - and some aliens want to rule Earth and expose their existence to blissfully ignorant humans - those the agents seek to fight, destroy, or deport from the planet. If a normal human sees an alien or anything else suspicious regarding the work of the organization, their memory will be wiped with a special device.

The movie is good entertainment not because it's intelligent or because it raises moral or philosophical questions - it's good entertainment because it's funny. The two main character agents, dressed in black and wearing sunglasses, are such badasses, fighting the aliens and using guns and devices and saving the Earth and then there's the cute talking pug. Not to mention the nice tension between the senior agent, played by Tommy Lee Jones, and the junior agent, played by Will Smith - their differences contribute nicely to the entertainment value of the movie.

But if we absolutely must find something philosophical about Men in Black - and let's face it, writing about the movie on WIP wouldn't make sense otherwise, there'a always the question of how can you know if someone is a person or an alien. And the idea of keeping secrets for the greater good. And alien rights versus human rights. And is killing an alien murder? And if you do something, do it with style - wear a black suit and sunglasses and carry a kickass gun.

How about that - suddenly the list begins to grow longer than I could have anticipated. Funny how you can find philosophical and psychological aspects of almost anything if you dig a little. Including funny movies.

So what do you think? Are the agents murderers? After all, the aliens they kill have a consciousness at least to some extent. And who are they to place human rights above alien rights? Should the common folk be told about the state of things instead of erasing their memories every time something goes wrong? And is the junior agent right when deciding not to erase the memory of his potential love interest and thus giving her special treatment against the organization's rules about civilians?

And what about the pug? Is it an animal or an alien? Is it fair that it should keep its mouth shut and so go against its nature?

And how can all these questions be generalized to apply to your own life?


P.S. I was always great at drawing, see picture above for proof.