Move over Virgin, get out of the way Delta — now there’s a new tongue-in-cheek airline safety video that has travelers everywhere actually putting down their in-flight magazines for a moment and paying attention. It’s from Air New Zealand, and although there’s no Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones in the clip, the “Men in Black” spoof has plenty of funny stuff the Fresh Prince would undoubtedly be happy to get jiggy with.
The video features the All Blacks, which for those who aren’t up on their New Zealand rugby is basically the Yankees of that country’s national sport. It begins with Richie McCaw — current captain and the most capped test rugby player of all time, which we’ll assume is impressive — walking through what is supposed to be MIB headquarters, past all sorts of assembled aliens, eccentricities and CG eye-poppers. In short, this clip is a long way from the days when a flight attendant would stand in the aisle and recite a speech with a floatation device around her neck.
McCaw is accompanied by Stan Walker, a New Zealand recording artist and winner of their seventh season of “American Idol.” The sunglasses-wearing duo walk into a briefing room and see the inimitable Rip Torn reprising his franchise role as MIB chief and senior agent Zed, as well as Frank the Pug (or at least, another dog who looks like him — hey, it’s been nearly 20 years since the first movie came out); Frank only appears briefly, but it’s still more screentime than he got in “Men in Black III.”
Zed introduces Agent I (McCaw) and “Agent S” (Walker). Then he says “Air New Zealand has asked us to help keep their passengers safe while on board. I think we can do that.”
What follows is a beats-laden spoof of Will Smith’s classic “Men in Black” song, featuring the two rugby players stepping in for Smith and Jones. Hey, even if the harmonizing isn’t always impressive, the budget is.
“This right here’s a seatbelt sign/so buckle up if it should shine” are among the concept-stretching lyrics. “Belts sit, low across your hips/You’ll know it fits, man when it clips.”
With the 2015 Rugby World Cup coming up next month, the timing couldn’t be better for Air New Zealand and the All Blacks. Sharp-eyed rugby fans will find lots of legends of the sport appearing in the background as various aliens.
“Here come the Men in Black/Great try line defenders,” goes the chorus, and while we can only assume the video has all sorts of rugby references that soar over the head of an American audience like a missed kick, it’s still fun to watch.