The Last Mimzy


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The Last Mimzy
"Unnecessary plot layers descend from a great height, crushing any spark of adventure."

Some commentators have likened this film to ET. If I were Spielberg, I’d be calling my lawyers. If ET was chalk, this is - in, oh so many senses of the word - cheese.

The only reason I can see for this eminent candidate for straight-to-DVD children’s entertainment making a splash on the big screen is the presence of New Line Cinema’s co-chairman Robert Shaye at the directorial helm. He may be a powerful broker in Hollywood but he fails to spread any magic here.

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The overcomplicated story involves a couple of moppets fresh from central casting - Noah (Chris O’Neil) and Emma (Rhiannon Leigh Wright). While at their family’s beach home, they come across an extraordinary box containing all sorts of pretty, futuristic-type stuff, seashells that make a special sound and a stuffed bunny rabbit (the Mimzy of the title). What ensues is a 'save the world' mission.

This should be a pretty good jumping off point for a kids' romp, but from then on, the unnecessary plot layers descend from a great height, crushing any spark of adventure.

There’s lots of references to genetic coding, Tibetan mandala and aliens, but the exposition plods. We want more of Emma being taught by Mimzy until she becomes a child genius and Noah’s new found ability to talk to spiders. What we get is lots of "I love you, darling, but I’m worried about the kids" and a hippie schoolteacher (Rainn Wilson) with dodgy dreams. It's hard to get a handle on exactly what it is that the people from the future want and, when the solution finally becomes apparent, it is squished in, meaning that only the sharpest kids - and those that haven't wandered off to find something more interesting to do - will get it.

All the segments feel bolted together - perhaps that's down to the the number of writers? Two on the screenplay and two for the "screen story". And there is no flow, so amid scenes with the children discovering new-found powers and trying to work out what's going on, there are pointless bits of bonding with dad and a bundled on piece about the horrors of the Patriot Act - later, laughably resolved - an awful beginning segment involving a children’s story and futuristic scenes which look as though they were made for TV.

There isn’t nearly enough menace and the "mission" of the children too complicated. Plus there’s the most ridiculous piece of product placement since Evolution came over all Head & Shoulders. Not only does it lack a real sense of verve, any message about being kind to the planet – I think that’s the aim, but Mimzy’s voice isn’t coming through too clearly right now – is lost amid all the other stuff going on.

Perhaps the most irritating thing about the film is that it doesn’t stick to its own rules – surely one of the most important aspects of a children’s story? Initially, the adults can’t see anything special about the kids’ futuristic toys, yet the babysitter can and so can Mom (Joely Richardson) and Dad (Timothy Hutton) later on. Is this supposed to be adults coming to see things from a child’s perspective? If so, it's way off beam, since by the end, everyone is seeing the "magic".

After sitting through 94 minutes of turgid twaddle, all I can say is be thankful that this Mimzy is the last.

Reviewed on: 27 Mar 2007
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The Last Mimzy packshot
A brother and sister find a futuristic box and race to save humanity.
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Director: Robert Shaye

Writer: Bruce Joel Rubin, Toby Emmerich, James V. Hart (screen story), Carol Skilken (screen story) based on the short story by Lewis Padgett.

Starring: Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, Chris O'Neil, Joely Richardson, Timothy Hutton, Rainn Wilson, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Clarke Duncan

Year: 2007

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: USA


Sundance 2007

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