I was trying to decide what to write about today. As I was surfing through Tumblr I saw posts for two intros I really enjoy. One of them I like for the music and not as much the visuals. This isn’t My Favorite Theme Songs, this is My Favorite Intros, so that one was out. The other is the intro we’ll be looking at today for the animated version of Men In Black. This has a decent theme but really cool intros that the theme does match up with. So it’s the one I went with.
The idea of Men In Black comes from UFO culture and conspiracy. Some people who claim to have seen unidentified flying objects also claimed that men dressed in black and wearing shades came to them claiming to be from the government and tried to make them shut up about what they have seen. Some of the conspiracy theorists even suggest they’re actually space aliens. Whether this inspired the entertainment franchise or not I couldn’t tell you.
The Men In Black was a set of two three-issue miniseries created by Lowell Cunningham about a government organization who polices all kinds of paranormal activity from space aliens to demons and other such things. A new recruit learns the MIB is really trying to control the order of life on Earth. The movie Men In Black dropped the “the”, the paranormal aspects, and the evil shadow government subplot and was about a group protecting Earth from evil aliens while taking in good ones, hiding them because Earthlings as a whole aren’t ready to accept alien life. Also the movie and comics based on the movie’s universe were more comical than the original comic. We can debate the questionable aspects of both versions of MIB another time. The movie was popular enough that an animated series aired on Saturday mornings on Kids WB, and it’s intro is just as creepy and silly as the show itself.
The series had to make a modification from the movie, since they decided they wanted to keep the theme up with rookie agent J and senior agent K. Remember that the cartoon began after the first movie and ended well before the sequel, where they could have continued J and L from the end of the first movie, but decided on a stupid way to bring K back. (Men In Black II was okay but as time has gone on I would have been satisfied without it. I haven’t seen the third movie but I hear good things about it. The premise doesn’t interest me and the series kind of did the storyline already.) I kind of understand it but you can’t really place it anyway in the movie. I don’t want to spoil the ending because I really like it but all I’ll say is K leaves, and events in the series says it took place after the first movie. Maybe the second gives this a new place to put it in the timeline, except that the sequel shoved L aside off-screen to bring K back, which I wasn’t a fan of.
Enough about the show itself, let’s talk the intro. There are hints of the humorous elements of the show. You have the alien who decides to show off at the police lineup and J bringing out the “noisy cricket”, the handgun from the movie (more like finger gun) that has enough kickback to send J flying. The rest is more serious and creepy. You have the main agents getting ready for their next case, the aforementioned lineup, and the scenes around MIB headquarters that could be any other story about government agents tracking down dangerous criminals…just with space aliens popping up, including the trailed suspect that turns into a monster.
Interestingly the sci-fi elements are a bit toned down outside of the aliens. You do have the car that has a superspeed mode, and the eye piece that sees through the perp’s disguise, and then the guns that you don’t even see being used. Even the aliens (outside of the shapeshifter) act like normal human criminals, even the show-off. Outside of the way the logo for the MIB is displayed there isn’t anything spacey in this intro about space aliens being policed, which I think serves the whole undercover operation part of the franchise’s story. Nothing to see here, people, just your average crime drama.
The music really sets the tone. Like the intro there is little sci-fi to it, but it’s very serious in tone. It’s the kind of theme song I would expect from a nineties crime drama. There’s also that lineup again where the aliens turn in step with the rhythm in both of their forms, which looks neat, as well as that part in MIB HQ where the people walking around look like they were filmed frame by frame with frames missing. That’s pretty much what webcams could do back then, although it may be intended to be security camera footage. The music does work perfectly with that scene which makes me think that the composers and animation director worked together to make it work.
When so many 90s intros were about being EXTREEEEEMEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!111 this intro is so much better. It sets the tone of the show (or at least the serious elements, which makes the humor a surprise but hinted at) and is just nice to look at. I also recommend checking out the show, but last I heard there was no full series release. I hope that changes because it’s a good show.