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Friday, 20 June 2008

The Last Mimzy, 2007. DVD Review

Director: Bob Shaye
Starring: Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, Chris O'Neil, Timothy Hutton, Joely Richardson, Rainn Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Patrick Gilmore
Running Time: 96 minutes

Score: 7/10

I watched this the other week with my wife (C) and son (D) during one of our semi-regular family movie nights. The popcorn was popped and we sat down to watch the film that none of us knew much about (not sure if that last sentence makes much sense, but I hope you know what I mean).

It starts off in the distant future where a teacher tells her class the story of how the World was saved. Turns out mankind's DNA had been dangerously effected by pollution resulting in the possible extinction of the race. Therefore, they sent Mimzy's (nanotechnology disguised as toys) back in time to get some pure DNA so they could rewrite the sequence and get rid of the bad mutations. We then skip back to the present day and the effects the last Mimzy has on the children who find it.

The kids in question Noah (Chris O'Neil) and Emma (Rhiannon Leigh) discover a box on the beach containing some weird rocks and a cuddly rabbit called Mimzy. The toy rabbit apparantly speaks to Emma telling her how to use the rocks and other items they find. Through the use of them the kids intelligence increases and they develop powers of telekinesis, teleportation, levitation, controlling spiders and other psychic abilities. Needless to say this rocks their world and disturbs their parents, David and Jo (Timothy Hutton and Joely Richardson), who aren't sure what to do with them. One of the toys that Noah builds results in a city wide black-out that brings in the FBI led by the hulking figure of Michael Clarke Duncan.

The family are brought in for questioning and tests and then the race is on to escape and get the Mimzy back to the future.

As this brief synopsis shows this is a family film that deals with some big grown up ideas (nanotech, time travel, psychic abilities, diamond bridges spanning galaxies, etc) and it does it rather well. D is 9 years old and he understood everything that was going on and all the concepts involved (mind you he did explain to me the time discrepency experienced when travelling at light speed while we were watching Forbidden Planet so he has that kind of viewpoint for science fiction movies - yes I am immensely proud of him). Plus it has some good levels of suspense once the FBI get involved and the kids try to get away. Regarding Michael Clarke Duncan's character as the FBI Special Agent Nathaniel Broadman is all seriousness and threats when with the kids but we are shown him previously with his wife being all nervous and joking when he realised the enourmity of the situation before him. A nice touch which brought some humanity to what could have been a standard government bad guy.

The child actors are pretty good and don't have any of that cloying all American get up and go that kid actors often have. Instead you go along with their journey as they develop their new powers and abilities. At one point both me and C wondered what way the story was going to take as it could have easily switched to a tale of the kids being totally taken over by the future tech and have become a bit of a Sci-Fi chiller. Being a kids movie it didn't go that way but the slightly ambiguous development of the powers added a bit more depth to the proceedings.

The visual effects were well done and fitted in nicely with the story. The teleportation grid or web that Noah sees was particularly good and well implemented.

The general feel of the movie was kind of a cross between War Games and ET (spookily enough, when the movie finished War Games was just finishing on Film 4) and was enjoyed by all of us. Recommended to anyone who wants a good film that will appeal to child and adult alike.