a critiQal film review The Last Mimzy (2007)

  • DVD
  • Vudu

Plot: Two children discover a mysterious box that contains some strange devices they think are toys, including a toy rabbit named Mimzy. When the children reveal that Mimzy contains a most serious message from the future, a scientific scan shows that Mimzy is part extremely high level electronic, and part organic!

806 words (Est. Reading Time 4m 1s)

Heather and I had heard a bit about The Last Mimzy from her sister, who had taken her 7-year-old daughter to see it back when it was in theaters. While Heather’s sister enjoyed it, the 7-year-old hid behind her hands most of the time. While we knew our niece is easily frightened from our previous experience with her at Disney World’s “ride” Stitch’s Great Escape, we thought this film may be at least a little less kid-friendly than we had originally believed.

With this floating around in the back of our mind while we were at Blockbuster® the other day, we figured we might as well rent it and see if our niece’s fears of the film were as unjustified as the Disney World ride, or if there was a bit more of an edge to The Last Mimzy than we had expected.

The main characters in the film – namely, the kids – are relative newcomers to the movie biz. This works well for The Last Mimzy, as viewers are able to approach this novel storyline fresh, without any preconceived notions about them, and the viewer relates better to them as just average, everyday children then they would to, say, a Dakota Fanning or other recognizable child star.

With the children’s childish beliefs and innocence firmly established in the viewer’s mind almost before the end of the first scene then, the viewer is more enthralled by the children’s slow transformation to more advanced behaviors of grasping the concept of “the greater good” and other more adult concepts. The Last Mimzy leads the viewer through these two children’s fantastical experiences with otherworldly objects…and the viewer is right there every step of the way.

The adults of the film, noticeably Timothy Hutton, Joely Richardson, Rainn Wilson and Michael Clarke Duncan, are the naysayers of The Last Mimzy, unable to believe in what the kids’ grasp almost instantly about the new discoveries they’ve found. As the parents, Hutton and Richardson are more worried their children may be sick, rather than even trying to imagine what their kids are saying is anything but vivid imaginings. Michael Clarke Duncan, as the head of a government agency that ends up trying to track down these kids, is another naysayer, but as usual, seems a little more open to “new ideas” than his other adult counterparts. The most childlike adult of the film comes in the form of Rainn Wilson, whose slightly off-kilter science teacher is the first to grasp the bigger concept behind the children’s new toys.

While the actors do a good job of trying to keep viewers tuned in, the plot does shoot off in lots of different directions in The Last Mimzy. While sometimes this is good, as all those threads leave more scenes open to fill in the movie, in this case so many of the offshoots are never really explored. While they are mentioned briefly or shown in a short sequence, most of them are never really mentioned again. Then, as the children are able to do more and more abilities, some seem to appear only when they need them – showing more that the writer found an easy way out of a sticky situation than any real plot development angle. And, as in so many films, these abilities are shrugged off to the children’s sudden usage of much more than 10% of their brain.

However, many of those short sequences mentioned above let the special effects guys strut their stuff in The Last Mimzy, and strut it they do. Whether it’s a soda can disappearing and re-appearing, or spiders spinning a new kind of web, the special effects never betray that what the viewer is seeing isn’t real. Instead, they provide dazzling effects for the eyes, heightening the viewer’s sense of wonderment without ever letting them down.

All in all, The Last Mimzy, while providing a good storyline and actors committed to making the film work, at it’s heart it can’t decide what demographic of viewers it’s aiming for. Is it for kids? Yes, as some of the plot points drizzling off to nowhere won’t be noticed by the toddler generation, but at the same time, it’s a bit too frightening for that demographic. Teens? Probably not, since teens are more into “cool” than “wonder”, whereas this film is all about the “wonder”. How about adults? While the children’s journey will spark interest, and the effects are outstanding, those same plot points not noticed by the toddler generation may annoy the older viewers a bit.

Despite being unable to discover it’s own demographic, most adults should enjoy The Last Mimzy – and teens will put up with it on a family movie night. But, keep the youngsters away, or else, like my niece, they’ll spend the whole film peeking out from between their own hands.

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