Reviews are reprinted with permission from Judy Thorburn of The Flick Chicks.com.
LET ME PREFACE this review by mentioning that I had the pleasure of meeting screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin in Las Vegas at the recent annual movie industry convention, ShoWest. He was present to receive the best screenwriter award for his work on The Last Mimzy, which he co-wrote with Toby Emmerich (Frequency). In responding to questions fired at him during the press conference, he said that all of his work is injected with a spiritual element. No kidding! His Academy Award winning script of Ghost or the darker journey into another realm, Jacob’s Ladder can attest to that. While many movies attempt to grab the audience with a sci fi or fantasy hook, often times we are left hanging or given an ending that is disappointing or to put it plainly, a cop out. On the contrary that’s not what you get with the way Rubin tells his stories. I am one of his biggest fans, because he always draws me in and at the end I am left with a payoff that is both thought provoking and satisfying.
Consistent with that formula is The Last Mimzy, a film I am recommending to everyone. I know that it is targeted for children because of the toys and young stars but the concepts delivered might be a little lofty for those who haven’t reached their teens. I would advise parents to bring their kids, but then give them an education that goes beyond the whimsical into a theme that is spiritually uplifting.
The Last Mimzy loosely based on Lewis Padgett’s 1943 short story Mimsy of the Borogroves, tells the story of two siblings, 10 year old Noah (Chris O’Neil) and his younger sister Emma (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn) who find a strange oddly shaped box floating in the waters of the beach outside their family’s vacation home in Seattle. Upon taking it home and opening it up, they discover it contains several objects that include some rocks, a crystal slab, an ornate seashell and a blue jelly-like snail they think are toys, but possess some extraordinary powers that will have an equally remarkable effect on the youngsters. Emma finds herself bonding to an old stuffed rabbit, which makes cooing sounds, calls itself Mimzy, can communicate telepathically with her and begins to "teach her things". Before you know it Emma is able to levitate and spin the rocks in mid air with her mind. After handling his "educational tools", the seashell and crystal, Noah starts to excel as a science genius, which draws the attention of his teacher, Larry (Rainn Wilson, of TV’s The Office). Meanwhile Larry’s, New Age, mystically minded girlfriend, Naomi (Kathryn Haun) also gets swept into the fascinating scenario by wanting to get to the root of all this and figure out why Noah’s drawings of intricate Mandalas are so similar to the Tibetan representations of the Universe. Parents Jo (Joely Richardson) and David (Timothy Hutton) find all this alarming and don’t have a clue as to what is happening, but with the help of Larry and Naomi, it soon becomes clear that Mimzy was sent from the future to guide these special children into fulfilling a mission that will ultimately save the world.
Undoubtedly, there are elements of E.T. that run through the film. As the government caught wind of the friendly, but homesick alien among us, once again the FBI comes into play. Here, led by Homeland Security expert (Michael Clarke Duncun) they are sent to the source of a major power blackout caused by an electrical surge from the crystal inside the Wilder home. Also, it is interesting to note that child actor, Chris O’Neil, looks just like actor Henry Thomas at the age he starred in E.T.
What I love about this movie is the sense of wonder I felt while watching the smart and engrossing storyline evolve, including a tie in to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Mimzy’s child stars are a natural and very convincing without being too cutesy or given ridiculous dialogue. These are children who react and say just as you would expect, at first hiding a found treasure they think their parents would want to take away.
The movie is also visually appealing with impressive CGI effects and a perfectly suited music soundtrack that enhance the story. I will repeat, I love this movie even more than the aforementioned, ET of which many will compare it to. Mimzy lacks the syrupy, emotionally manipulated nature of ET and it also sends a very important message about our responsibility in saving this planet and the human race.
The title may be the Last Mimzy, but so far it is the first smart, imaginative and worthwhile sci fi fantasy this year. Don’t miss it. On a personal note, from one who doesn’t eat meat, it might even inspire you to become a vegetarian.
You can read all my movie reviews at www.theflickchicks.com.