The Last Mimzy ***
Directed by Robert Shaye
Written by Bruce Joel Rubin and Toby Emmerich, based on the short story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" written by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore
Chris O'Neil as Noah Wilder
Rhiannon Leigh Wryn as Emma Wilder
Joely Richardson as Jo Wilder
Timothy Hutton as David Wilder
Rainn Wilson as Larry White
Kathryn Hahn as Naomi Schwartz
Michael Clarke Duncan as Nathanial Broadman
93 Minutes(Rated PG for some thematic elements, mild peril and language.)
"The Last Mimzy" is one creepy, strange, psyched out little movie that is being advertised to kids as if its the next "ET." And at times it does think its "ET," and during the credits I was surprised that I didn't see Steven Spielberg's name anyway on the producers list. But it's also one entertaining, intriguing film that is as fun as it is strange, and as inventive as it is sweet. For the first hour I was completely sucked into the brilliance that it had to offer, and then towards the end it does fall apart a little bit-turns a little too much like "ET." But it offers some quality messages-two of them, I counted. One of them not so subtle and the other one just floating on the top of the script, waiting to be plucked out and developed more. I do have a feeling that, like the story, both messages will go way over the children's head. If they could have found a way to market this to the adults as well, this could have been more of a success, because it really is very good.
"The Last Mimzy" tells the story of Noah and Emma, two ordinary brother and sister couple. Noah tries to fit in a lot at school, and even though he is the shorter, more puny kid complete with glasses, he has his friends and does decent in school. His sister Emma is younger, more naive and innocent. And then there are their parents, Jo and David. David is the type of father that works far more than he should, and Jo is the type of mother that worries far more than she should, but they end up being a little happy family. On spring vacation, Noah and Emma are on the beach when they discover some small box in the water. When they open it they find a pile of rocks, a large rectangle with green shapes in it, and a little stuffed bunny rabbit. Emma instantly clutches onto the rabbit who reveals that its name is Mimzy, but Noah is more interested in the mystery of the rocks-especially when they form this strange white vortex which dissolves Emma's fingers whenever she puts them inside. Suddenly strange things begin to happy to the both of them. Noah begins to make strange drawings which catch the attention of his science teacher, Larry White, as well as his New Age girlfriend Naomi Schwartz. Emma begins to float in the air, do the finger dissolving trick in front of the babysitter, while Noah ends up becoming a genius, designing a science experiment that some scientists are not able to create. They also catch the attention of the government when Noah causes a blackout that blacks out the entire state of Seattle, and agent Nathanial Broadman calls in his team to capture the family, bring them into a lab, and figure out exactly what is going on, as Noah and Emma try to uncover the secrets that Mimzy brought with her.
"The Last Mimzy" is very complex, so it wouldn't be advisable to bring the young ones. It does add a message at the end relating to keeping the environment clean, but there is also a message all about the war in Iraq. At least I was able to find something going on. It started during the very first scene. It's a school scene, and the kids have to go through a metal detector. One of the little girls keeps going off because she has new braces, and her line is, verbatim "It must be my new braces. I'm not a terrorist." I found that pretty interesting for one of the first lines. And then later on when Homeland Security comes around, captures the family because they think they might be terrorists, it is clear that Homeland Security is keeping Emma and Noah from allowing Mimzy to return home. It's almost like George Bush's plans with the terrorists are allowing global warming to take place because its not his main focus. It's a bit sketchy, but there were some strong anti-war lines that were very subtle, but clearly there. And they would have obviously not been in the original story from years ago, but it was still clever nonetheless. And it does have its "ET" moments, and towards the end it became a little irritating when the family is captued and the two kids have to sneak around to save Mimzy, but the first hour is intriguing enough to make the whole thing worthwhile.
The acting is fair all around, especially by the grownups. The kids are decent, and at times they ended up being a little hammy. Especially the little girl and her connection to the Mimzy doll. The parts where she wants to show her babysitting the trick with the dissolving fingers is almost creepy, and it isn't the innocent and sweet fun thing that the girl makes it out to be. The two best performances come from Timothy Hutton who is always great to watch, and Rainn Wilson. It was actually more fascinating to see Rainn Wilson in something like this. Wilson is known to being Dwight from TV's "The Office," a role that requires a lot of strong seriousness, suits, and almost little to no connection to women at all. here he openly kisses a girl, wears a Pink Floyd shirt, and wears panther skin boxer shorts. Quite a change. All in all, "The Last Mimzy" is a very enjoyable film. It's a thinking children's movie, for once. It's an odd one, and one that you have to seriously consider before bringing certain certain, but it is worth a watch at some point.