Last Mimzy (The)
R1 - America - New Line - Infinifilm Edition
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (23rd July 2007).
The Film

"The Last Mimzy" is based on a children's short story entitled "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett (the pseudonym of husband and wife writing team Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore), written in 1943 the science-fiction fantasy story has been in development for several years at New Line when CEO Bob Shaye decided to take the reins and direct the film. Shaye, a fan of the original source material was able to craft a children's sci-fi fantasy film that borrows a lot from its predecessors such as "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial" (1982).
"The Last Mimzy" tells the story of brother and sister, Noah (Chris O'Neil) and Emma Wilder (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn), who discover a strange box in the ocean. Inside the box are a rabbit toy and some various other strange toys. The toys are in fact devices sent back from the future and have an effect on Noah and Emma. Noah's effects are increased intelligence (far beyond his years) and Emma gains the ability to levitate among other weirdness. Keeping these toys and their effects a secret from their parents, Jo (Joely Richardson) and David (Timothy Hutton) the Mimzy (the stuffed rabbit) communicates to Emma that they can help save the world and learns to operate the devices. The future has become an ecological disaster and Mimzy has to sent back her time with a piece of uncorrupted DNA that will help reverse the effects of the disintegrating planet of the future. Their efforts however are hindered by non-believing parents as well as Federal Government Agents who believe something else is going on.
The trailer for this film is awesome; I was intrigued from the start and was excited to see this film. I've never read the short story in which this film is adapted from so I only really had the trailer to go by. For the most part "The Last Mimzy" is a competent film that features displays of solid child acting, fairly decent special effects and a child-like perspective of wonder and fantasy that I certainly enjoyed. I'm a big kid at heart and "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial" pretty much sets the standard for these types of films, it's a big standard so anything that comes close is a welcome addition to the genre and "The Last Mimzy" certainly comes close. It featured some fairly convincing you talent, by way of Chris O'Neil and Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, who makes quite a remarkable impression in only her second ever feature film role and at only 7 years-old has a potentially long and fruitful acting career ahead of her (unless her parents turn into one of those controlling showbiz parents and steal all her money...). The most important element in regards to child actors is their annoyance factor; on the whole a vast majority are in fact annoying as hell. These two are far from it which only adds to this film watch ability.
The film itself is also a very effect fantasy adventure, I love the fact that nothing is ever fully explained, it really does take things from a child's perspective and leaves a lot open to interpretation as to the mechanics or how-to of the devices. Things fall into piece gradually with some experimentation nothing is fully accidental and nothing seems convoluted. The effects are simple, there's nothing that'll win awards but the overall feel and tone of the film is set by the effects. The devices feel organic and the effects emit a organic-like aesthetic which lends itself well to the story and can also engage and totally capture a child's imagination. It's exactly what you'd want from a film such as this.
"The Last Mimzy" isn't a perfect film; it does have its flaws. The first of which is the predictability of the film, you can virtually telegraph the events as the film progresses. Right down to keeping Mimzy secret from parents and authority figures. As mentioned before it also bears a lot of similarities to films such as "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial" in one particular case the Federal Government is brought in by way of Agent Nathanial Broadman (Michael Clarke Duncan, in a ridiculous attempt at casting against type that has horribly back-fired) of Homeland security who is investigating the family as their house was the source of a shock wave that eliminated the entire Seattle electricity grid. What ensues are the kids escaping the custody of the agents in order to return Mimzy back to her home. While we're on the Homeland Security thing, I found that element of the film completely unnecessary and felt that the film should have instead focused on the wonder of Mimzy from the kids' perspective.
"The Last Mimzy" is however worth checking out, it didn't make much coin at the box office but like a lot of films perhaps it will find its audience on DVD.

Video

Presented in the film's original widescreen ratio of 2.35:1 this anamorphic transfer. This image is brilliant, continuing with some excellent quality transfers New Line has presented this film in sharp detail. The image is solid with finely tuned colors, natural skin tones and deep rich blacks. Shadow detail remains consistent throughout the print and I found no compression related flaws. Grain is nowhere to be seen, dirt and other imperfection are also absent. Considering this is a recent film the expectations are generally high for the transfer and this one passes on all counts.

Audio

Two audio tracks are included on this disc, they are in English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX as well as English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. For the purposes of this review I chose to view the film with it's 5.1 EX encoded track. As much as the image is a treat for the eyes, the soundtrack is a treat for the ears. The dialogue is clear and distortion free but the true brilliance of this mix is in its ambient and special effects surrounds mix as well as the film's score. The subtle sounds make use of the space effectively adding layers and depth to the film, matched with the score which adds an immersive quality you have the makings of a fantastic sound mix that is well balanced and finely presented.
Unfortunately this DVD does not feature any optional subtitles.

Extras

First up we have a feature-length audio commentary by the film's director Robert Shaye. Shaye provides an interesting and informative track that covers the production process, he is a CEO of a major studio and has a general understanding of what film fans want out of their films and DVD features and delivers here. No stone is left unturned as he comments on the development process and wanting to direct this film himself to the script stage. Production trivia id dished out about the shooting of the film and he comments on his cast and locations as well as special effects and music among other things. It's a well rounded and generally thorough track that won't disappoint.

This DVD includes a series of 12 featurettes which include:

"The Last Mimzy: Adapting The Story" which runs for 13 minutes 52 seconds, this clip takes a closer look at the process in getting this film to the big screen. It looks at the development process and the writing of the screenplay with the involvement of Oscar winning screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin.

"Bob Shaye: Director Profile" runs for 8 minutes 56 seconds and takes a look at the director, almost a vanity piece this clip provides a brief insight into his career and the passion to direct this film and get it off the ground.

"Casting the Kids" runs for 7 minutes 10 seconds, this clip takes a look at the difficult casting process in finding the right kids to play these leads, from the process in finding to their audition tapes and also to what they brought to the film is covered.

"Production Design and Concept Art" runs for 4 minutes 6 seconds, a series of concept art images and production photographs are shown with comments by the director and production designer Barry Chusid as they take viewers through the various stages of design.

"Real Is Good: The Visual Effects" runs for 8 minutes 12 seconds and delves into the naturalistic special effects created for the film which includes the various wormhole effects among other things.

"Editing and Music" runs for 13 minutes 10 seconds and examines the piecing together of the film in the editing studio as well as the composition and recording of the film's score as we are given an understanding of the overall feel for the film and what the music adds to it.

Furthermore we also have "The Mandala: Imaginary Places" which runs for 5 minutes 49 seconds, this provides more information to viewers as to the symbolism of mandalas and the complexity of their design. It delves into the spiritual side of things of the Buddhist faith and also how each mandala is unique to its creator among other things.

"The Looking Glass: Emma and Alice" runs for 2 minutes 37 seconds, this clip briefly compares the characters Alice from "Jabberwocky" the epic poem by Lewis Carroll to Emma from this film, mainly focusing on how imaginative they both are and the influences the character Alice had on Emma.

"Soundwaves: Listening to the Universe" runs for 6 minutes 20 seconds, this clip focuses on the organic design of the sound for the Mimzy, the mandala and the penumbra. This clip also delves into the scientific effects of what sounds have on the natural world.

"DNA: The Human Blueprint" runs for 4 minutes 6 seconds, this clip provides a very brief understanding of the chemical building blocks that make up the human genetic code as well as how understanding the human genome was a breakthrough for science, and also what the Genographic Project's research is about.

"Nanotechnology: The Human Revolution" runs for 3 minutes 12 seconds, in its most simplistic terms this clip takes a look at nanotechnology as portrayed in the film and what products specifically incorporate nanotechnology today as well as debunking a few myths.

"Wormholes: Fantasy of Science" runs for 4 minutes 20 seconds, this takes a look at whether traveling through wormholes can take one from one space in time to another and provides a basic scientific explanation as to why time travel is currently not possible through a wormhole.

A text trivia fact track is also available, it plays as a subtitle stream while the movie is playing and displays information such as history, science-related trivia, production information on various topics ranging from pre-production issues to cast information among other things. This can be viewed as a sort of subtitle-based production notes.

A series of 11 deleted/alternate scenes are next and feature optional audio commentary by the film's director Robert Shaye. In the track the director comments on the scenes and gives reasons why they were ultimately cut from the film, the scenes included are:

- "Director's Introduction" which runs for 30 seconds, before you watch the scenes view this short intro from the director welcoming you to this section of the DVD.
- "Science Test" runs for 59 seconds, is a scene that shows a kid cheating on a test by using his cell phone.
- "Noah's Crush" runs for 13 seconds, Noah admires a girl on the bus ride home.
- "Alternative Meditation Scene" runs for 3 minutes 59 seconds, a more racy, adult version of the scene.
- "David Calls The Beach House" runs for 57 seconds, David tries to explain why he can't make it to the beach house.
- "Whidbey Fight" runs for 2 minutes 30 seconds, David and Jo bicker about being apart from each other and how David has to prioritize work.
- "Emma's Birthday" runs for 1 minute 43 seconds, Jo is concerned that the kids won't need her anymore when they grow up.
- "Noah's Crush Part Two" runs for 37 seconds, the girl that Noah likes asks a question after his science fair presentation.
- "Alternate Naomi Introduction" runs for 24 seconds, Naomi (Katheryn Hahn) is introduced as 'friend' rather than 'fiancee' by Larry (Rainn Wilson).
- "Naomi is Shocked" runs for 36 seconds, Naomi is shocked after seeing Emma levitate.
- "Mandala Drawing Left Behind" runs for 32 seconds, Noah drops the drawing while stealing the van.
- "Extended Boardman Ending" runs for 43 seconds, Agent Boardman tells his crew to forget what they've seen.

A music video is included entitled "Hello (I Love You)" and is performed by legendary musician Roger Waters. The song appears on the soundtrack the clip is fairly basic with footage from the film edited together with performance.

Next up are 3 interactive games for the kids:

- "Spider Bridge" Use the navigation keys on the remote to direct your spider to build the web bridge, complete the pattern without mistakes to win.
- "Memory Match" Memorize shapes and their locations then match the shape to the location.
- "Mandalas Mix-Up" a puzzle to piece together a mandala pattern

These games are quite fun but get tiresome after a few minutes, kids will likely get into them a bit more since they aren't challenging enough for adults.

Also included on the disc is the film's original theatrical trailer which runs for 2 minutes 30 seconds.

Rounding out the extras are a collection of bonus trailers for:

- "Hairspray" which runs for 2 minutes 25 seconds.
- "TMNT" which runs for 32 seconds.
- "Hoot" which runs for 32 seconds.
- "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy" which runs for 31 seconds.
- "How to Eat Fried Worms" which runs for 35 seconds.
- "Superman: Doomsday" which runs for 59 seconds.

Also this DVD features DVD-ROM content with access to web links to the New Line web site.

Packaging

This DVD is packaged in an amaray case that is housed in a cardboard slip-cover.

Overall

The Film: B- Video: A Audio: A Extras: A Overall: A-

 


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