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The Last Mimzy
DVD disk
07.19.2007 By: Quigles
The Last Mimzy order
Bob Shaye

Joely Richardson
Timothy Hutton
Rainn Wilson


star Printer-Friendly version
After a box containing anomalous toy-like items is sent into the past, two children must unlock its secrets in order to stop global warning. Err, or something like that.
There are a lot of points to be made in THE LAST MIMZY, a bizarre but intriguing science fiction children's adventure story, and it probably would've been heavy-handed had the film actually taken any time to breathe before constantly hopping onward to the next idea. With its environmental liberal-based messages, dealings with social ecology, and mixing up of advanced technology with hippy philosophies and spirituality, it may be a bit too left-wing for some people to enjoy. It's also a bit of a mess, but at least it's a fun one.

For those that can see past (or better yet, embrace) the political agenda, there's a compelling story here about two children who happen upon a box that grants them with divine gifts. Teleportation, levitation, super hearing, the ability to talk to insects... the powers themselves aren't necessarily foreign to cinema, but the way they're executed is certainly fresh and interesting. This is one aspect of the film I would've loved to see more of, and I'm sure kids would've as well.

Instead, the picture switches gears and focuses on the involvement of Homeland Security in a ridiculous subplot that has the family being held for questioning after one of the kids causes a citywide blackout (very cool!). Michael Clark Duncan pops up here in a thankless role as the head of his department, and from there the film rushes towards its expectedly exciting climax where every plot point in the semi-convoluted story just happens to be perfectly resolved (even ones that have no logical place being there, such as the running gag about the lottery numbers).

Post-climax annoyances aside (and there are others too, like with the wholly unsubtle alien suits), there's enough entertainment value here to keep both kids and adults on their toes. And thanks to some very strong performances from many of the adult actors (specifically the parents and the always hilarious Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight on TV's "The Office") as well as the children stars, what easily could've come across as laughably ridiculous mumbo jumbo (think LADY IN THE WATER, but worse) instead feels almost believable.

As newcomers, the kids' performances aren't flawless, and the editing tends to reveal that (as there are a lot of cuts in between their dialogue). That's not to see they aren't capable leads though. They're basically being asked to carry a movie here, and all things considered, they do a damn fine job.
THE LAST MIMZY is another addition to New Line's infinifilm DVD series, which means it has a slightly different special features set-up than usual. For the sake of avoiding confusion, I'll address each extra as if they were all bundled together in a single menu section (which they actually should be).

Audio Commentary (with director Bob Shaye): Shaye, the co-founder and current co-CEO of New Line, speaks professionally and with plenty of detail regarding the ins and outs of making the movie. It's especially interesting to hear him discuss the test screening process, where he talks about the changes that were made and what he decided to keep intact. Seeing as how he's both a director and a studio executive, there's a nice contrast on his mindset when making decisions.

Deleted Scenes (13:22 - with optional commentary): There are 11 scenes, none of which are particularly great by themselves, but become much more interesting with the commentary turned on. For example, it turns out that in the gag where Rainn Wilson goes to the fridge and bends over, they actually had to digitally add leopard underwear because audiences reacted poorly to his bare butt showing.

The Mandala: Imaginary Palace (5:48): This is the first of six featurettes focusing on the science and spirituality behind the film. As the title suggests, this one deals with mandalas, with university professors, psychologists, etc. explaining the meaning behind the symbols.

The Looking Glass: Emma and Alice (2:35): A comparison piece between Alice Lidell, Lewis Carroll's real life inspiration for the famous heroine in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", and the girl in the THE LAST MIMZY.

Sound Waves: Listening to the Universe (6:20): Sound designer Dane Davis discusses the acoustic qualities of the film, while university professors chime in to explain how spiders hear, etc.

DNA: The Human Blueprint (4:05): Another science-based featurette, with information that any student over the age of 13 would probably already know.

Nanotechnology: The Human Revolution (3:10): An overview of nanotechnology being used in the present-day in things like sunscreen, car tires, etc.

Wormholes: Fantasy or Science? (4:18): An interesting discussion on wormholes, and the problems faced when attempting to study them.

The Last Mimzy: Adapting the Story (13:50): Now with the science/spiritual featurettes out of the way, we move on to the more standard stuff. This one discusses the origins of the film, based on the 64-year-old short story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves".

Bob Shaye: Director Profile (8:55): This piece is pretty much a collection of comments praising the director/New Line head honcho, with the occasional clip of him working on set.

Casting the Kids (7:08): I bet you ten bucks you can't guess what this featurettes about. There are interview clips with the two young stars (as well as the co-stars and crew) and audition footage.

Production Design and Concept Art (4:05): Director Bob Shaye narrates alongside production designer Barry Johnson concept art and other film-related imagery.

Real is Good: The Visual Effects (8:10): A breakdown of the movie's special effects, and a discussion about how they differ from those seen in other films.

Editing and Music (13:08): An overview of the editing and music recording process.

Fact Track: This allows you to access various information throughout the film, with pop-ups appearing and the infinifilm track turning on (allowing you to access deleted scenes and featurettes during the actual film). Team this up with the audio commentary, and it may be worth your time.

Interactive Challenge: There are three DVD games featured here, called "Spider Bridge", "Memory Match", and "Mandala Mix-Up". The first one involves mimicking a design by pointing lines in various directions, while the last two deal with memory.

Also included are a Music Video by Roger Waters entitled "Hello (I Love You)", the Theatrical Trailer, and a few Previews.
THE LAST MIMZY desires to be a grandiose eye-opening tale combining new-age sensibilities with advancements toward the future. It doesn't entirely succeed, but it's cool to see a kid's movie striving to be more than just a series of gross-out gags and one-note messages. And with what the movie gets right with its thematic Rubik's Cube constantly turning, it also manages to be highly entertaining. Most of MIMZY will probably go over the little ones' heads, but hopefully it will at least inspire discussion. If that much is done, then the movie can be considered a success.
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