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In Men in Black 3, Agent J (Will Smith) goes to see Jeffrey Price in the electronics store to obtain the time-travel device built by Price's father that J can then use to travel back to 1969 to avert K's murder.

However, in an earlier scene in the film, we see Boris the Animal (Jermaine Clement) visit Jeffrey Price in the same store to obtain the device in order to go back to commit the murder.

I understand that time-travel films open up a huge kettle of worms when it comes to inconsistencies and plot-holes, but this seems to be a glaring error.

As it is shown that the device stays with the user when they time-jump, are we to assume that there is more than one device (which does not seem to be the case when we are shown the holding container), or is this just a script error?

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I put your image in @studentprogramee answer –  DForck42 Jun 4 '12 at 20:57
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This is the same movie that has Boris speaking aloud in the vacuum of space after escaping from the moon prison. The film was badly written. –  Mathew Foscarini Nov 21 '12 at 14:51
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My biggest problem is the fact that J was still an agent in the new reality of K being killed 40 years ago.. K was the one who recruited J, therefore if he dies 40 years prior he would not have been around to recruit J.. No-one at headquarters should have known who J was! –  user5136 Jun 15 '13 at 21:03
    
Good point! Blimey! –  Nobby Jun 16 '13 at 2:50

4 Answers 4

up vote 15 down vote accepted

I've only seen the movie once, but when Jeffrey Price shows us the case with the single time travel device in it, there was an empty space next to it that suggested he had two devices.

box for the devices

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Now that you mention it- that does ring a bell - there was something else on the left hand of the box - but I thought it was part of the device - it looked like a strap. –  Nobby Jun 4 '12 at 20:29
    
However if it was indeed a space where another device had been, then why didn't Boris take both of them? –  Nobby Jun 4 '12 at 20:30
    
@DForck42 Thank you attaching the image. –  StudentProgramee Jun 5 '12 at 19:04
    
@StudentProgramee Nobby found the image, i just edited it in –  DForck42 Jun 5 '12 at 19:06
    
@Nobby, like DForck42 suggested, Boris was probably not the sharpest thinker and didn't think to remove the second device to prevent others from following him. Perhaps he thought he might need another one at a later date. –  StudentProgramee Jun 5 '12 at 19:06

There are 2 devices.

  1. Boris takes 1 device and travels back.
  2. J takes the second device and travels back.

The box had room for 2 devices. The log book shows Boris had not returned. Boris then gets fried under the rocket so he couldn't have returned anyway.

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I have another explanation (sorry, English is not my mother tongue).

I prefer this one, unfortunately it leads to a stronger inconsistency of the scenario:

One should notice that spacetime where Boris meets Jeffrey Price is different from spacetime where J meets Jeffrey. This happens not only a few days after! Actually universe split in two versions in 1969, exaclty when 2012-Boris (old Boris-1) arrived in 1969.

  1. In the first version, in 1969, K blasts Boris-1' arm and sends him to prison in 1969, and 40 years later, Boris-1 escapes from moon, and finally visits Jeffrey.

  2. But in the second version, in 1969, 2012's old Boris-1 kills K before installing the arcnet, so that the young Boris keeps his arms and doesn' go to prison: Boris-2 appears! Consequently, 40 years later, old Boris-2 doesn't need to visit Jeffrey since K is already dead 40 years ago! (Moreover absence of arcnet enables a boglodites' invasion). Actually, the old Boris-1 vanished in 1969 in this second spacetime just after having killed K: in the 2nd spacetime, there is NO Boris without arm who spent years in jail! For a given spacetime, and given age, there is only one Boris (although there may be at the same time two different versions of the same character at DIFFERENT ages, which happens in the movie.)

  3. The good point is that J transited in 2012 from 1st version to 2nd, due to his presence in 1969 (according to Jeffrey). This gives birth to a 3rd timespace version, the one depicted in the second part of the movie.

To sum up, in the 2nd version, Jeffrey should have not met Boris, but only J! Thus no problem if there in only one time device! Nevertheless, there is a big script error. Jeffrey-2 should have never met Boris in 2nd spacetime. Anyway, that inconsistency was necessary for the scenario (By the way, maybe you know that the storyline writing was a huge pain in the ass _ Griffin would have said ^^)

Boris-1 loses his arm in 1969, lives 40 years in prison, jumps in 1969, kills K and vanishes.

Young Boris-1 splits to Boris-2 at the time he keeps his arm (thanks to Boris-1), he doesn't go to prison, and coordinates boglodites' invasion in 2012, as one can watch before J travels to time.

Young Boris-1 also splits to Boris-3 (due to J's intervention upon Boris-1s'one), and is killed by K a few minutes after killing J's father, instead being stopped as B-1 was.

That's not all! Just before vanished, due to J's intervention too, old Boris-1 splits to Boris-4. He dies incinerated by the rocket.

Boris-1 and Boris-4 are not the same! Old B-1 killed young K, not B-4 (dont' forget K is alive at the end).

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Your explanation introduces new inconsistensies and is more complicated than the ones already posted... Not really an answer –  Origin Oct 24 '12 at 14:31

My assumption when watching the film was that, when Boris returned to the present, he gave the device back, thus enabling J to go back in time with the device. I believe that it's actually evidenced in Jeffery's log book.

Had Boris been smart he would have thought to not return the device, but as we have seen he's not the sharpest crayon in the box.

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You're certainly right about him not being the sharpest crayon in the box (although some of his schemes bordered on being smart), but I don't think he would have taken the time to return the device. In fact, I'm surprised he allowed Price to live. –  Nobby Jun 4 '12 at 20:32

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