The Last Mimzy (2007)

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Released 2-Oct-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Audio Commentary-Bob Shaye (Director)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Adapting the Story
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Bob Shaye: Director's Profile
Featurette-Making Of-Casting the Kids
Featurette-Making Of-Production Design and Concept
Featurette-Making Of-"Real is Good": The Visual Effects
Featurette-Making Of-Editing and Music
Featurette-The Mandala: Imaginary Palace
Featurette-The Looking Glass: Emma and Alice
Featurette-Sound Waves: Listening to the Universe
Featurette-DNA: The Human Blueprint
Featurette-The Human Revolution
Featurette-Nanotechnology: The Human Revolution
Featurette-Wormholes: Fantasy or Science
Music Video-Roger Waters- Hello (I Love You)
Theatrical Trailer
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 92:19
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Shaye
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Chris O'Neil
Rhiannon Leigh Wryn
Joely Richardson
Timothy Hutton
Rainn Wilson
Kathryn Hahn
Michael Clarke Duncan
Kirsten Williamson
Irene Snow
Marc Musso
Nicole Muņoz
Scott E. Miller
Megan McKinnon
Case ?
RPI ? Music Howard Shore


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Audio Commentary
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    The Last Mimzy was a labour of love for co-CEO of New Line Cinema, Robert Shaye, who folded out his directors chair for only the second time in a long career. It is just as well that New Line is still riding on the success of Lord of the Rings as The Last Mimzy hit the ground with a resounding thud. It's a pity, because this children's film is at the very least an interesting watch and a definite purchase for those who like the idea of a bit of new age wisdom finding its way into the minds of the younger set.

    The Last Mimzy is based on the 1943 short story Mimsy Were the Borogoves which keen readers will know as a line from The Jabberwock poem from Alice Through the Looking Glass. In fact, the Alice link is barely there in the film (it was a feature of the original story) and the film may have benefited from scrapping the link altogether.

    In the future a group of children gather round a their teacher who will "show" them the story of the last mimzy and how the future came to be saved. Noah and his sister Emma (newcomers Chris O'Neil and Rhiannon Leigh Wryn) are as typical a brother and sister as you could get. He is a troubled ten year old and she an annoying six year old and they fight like the proverbial cats and dogs. Their mum (Joely Richardson) tries to keep the peace, but Dad (Timothy Hutton) spends far too much time at work and not enough time with the family at the dinner table. Noah is not doing too well at school and especially sucks at science despite the positivity beamed by his zen-like teacher (Rainn Wilson - from the US Office and Six Feet Under). After yet another poor science test result Noah is despondent not only at his failings but also at the thought of spending the Easter weekend at his family's beach house.

    Things start to change when the kids find an odd-looking box in the water. Opening it produces some strange objects, including a green tablet that glows for Noah and a stuffed rabbit which Emma names Mimzy. In fact, things couldn't get much weirder. Mimzy starts to talk to Emma (in a somewhat creepy disembodied electronic voice) and Noah finds that a conch shell in the box enables him to control insects. Meanwhile the green tablet lets him see wormholes in the fabric of space and allows him to move objects telepathically! Noah starts to excel at science at Emma gets an all-knowing quality which starts to spook her parents. After accidentally blacking out all of Seattle the "Government" becomes involved (through Michael Clarke Duncan), seeing the family as potential terrorists. The race is on to save the future.

    If it wasn't already apparent from the opening scene, Mimzy and friends are sophisticated devices from the future sent back into the past to get the missing DNA which is needed to save the world. But this isn't all futuristic stuff. Thrown into the mix is a strong blend of New Age thought and an ecological theme that elevates this above some of the other kids films out there but does make it, at times, a confusing watch. There are Buddhist mandalas, palm readings, nanotechnology, DNA and wormholes. The kids are well cast and give great little performances and the adults do the job they are required to do as adults in a kids flick - look helpless and a bit silly while the kids save the day. Wilson is the spiritual guide of sorts, introducing the kids to some Buddhist philosophy. If this all sounds a bit heavy, don't despair.

    It has some definite replay value. My ten year old initially found the idea of the children's toys somehow controlling the kids to be a bit frightening at first but the DVD has found its way into the player again. It is a compliment to the film that it does invite reconsideration.

    The film had a blink or you'll miss it release here and I only heard of it due to a news story from the US that a cinema in Florida accidentally swapped the opening reel with a mutant birth reel from the remake of The Hills Have Eyes. Apparently the kids are still in therapy!

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Transfer Quality

Video

   The Last Mimzy is presented in its cinematic aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image quality is pretty good notwithstanding that the rumoured $18m budget is miserly by today's standards. I found the opening a little overbright but then they were trying to represent a glorious flower-filled future. The image quality is generally crisp and the contrast level is right.

    There is a touch of grain at times but nothing too distracting.

    The effects are pretty good given the limited budget and I was interested in how the effects technicians were at pains to inject some wonder into the films scarier moments so as not to frighten the kids too much.

    There are subtitles including English for the Hearing Impaired which gave a good account of on-screen action. Skin tones were accurate.

    There are no compression problems I could see. The print is clean and clear.

    On the whole this was everything you could expect from a recent Hollywood movie.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sound for The Last Mimzy is English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX running at 384Kb/s.

    Although the soundscape is pretty broad, the surrounds were used only occasionally. There was a tremendous increase in sound level during a few key effects and the sub-woofer really kicked in, scaring the daylights out of the littlies!

    The dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand. The kids were both newcomers and I struggled from time to time picking up some of their comments but this is inherent in the original material. In the commentary director Bob Shaye points out that almost all of the little girl's dialogue had to be re-recorded. He was happy to get the performance from her and worried about clarity later. Having said that, the audio sync looks pretty good.

    The music is by Lord of the Rings Oscar winner Howard Shore. His themes, understandably, are not so lofty or memorable here but the soundtrack does its work creating the right blend of awe and tension. The featured song is by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame and it is curious though not unengaging.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The Last Mimzy comes with a raft of extra features which can be accessed in various ways. New Line have included a strange beast called Take A Look which allows the features to be presented organically as the film progresses. So, every now and then a pop-up appears indicating a featurette or two is available, asking if you want to watch them. After watching the featurette the film continues.

    I see this as a good idea for future films. The positives are that the features are far more appropriate when coupled with on-screen action. Unfortunately, it is also a hindrance as you have to watch the whole feature again to see the moments.

    I am never sure as to the merits of multiple extra features on kids DVD's but my ten year old did watch them so I will have to withhold judgment on it this time.

    The features can be accessed separately via the ordinary fashion. They are as follows:

Beyond the Movie

    The Mandala : Imaginary Palace (5.49)

    The Looking Glass : Emma and Alice (2.55)

    Sound Waves : Listening to the Universe (16.20)

    DNA : The Human Blueprint (4.05)

    Nanotechnology : The Human Revolution (3.10)

    Wormholes : Fantasy or Science (4.19)

    These featurettes look at the science behind the film. They are not just puff pieces, as notable scientists and theorists give some insight into the future of humanity through these technological (and sometimes New Wave) ideas.

All Access Pass Features

    The Last Mimzy : Adapting the Story (13.52)

    Bob Shaye; Director's Profile (8.56)

    Casting the Kids (7.09)

    Production Design and Concept Art (4.04)

    "Real is Good" : The Visual Effects (8.11)

    Editing and Music (13.09)

    These are the production features and encompass the whole spectrum of the movie. I was particularly interested to hear about the adaptation process as my view is that most of the problems with the film are script-based.

    Aside from these features there are also the following;

Deleted Scenes (11)

    A short series of eleven extended and deleted moments. Most are under a minute. Interestingly, scenes of the parents arguing were taken out of the film as test audiences found them too real and serious for a kids flick.

Audio Commentary- Bob Shaye (Director)

    Bob Shaye is one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and the commentary shows both why the film got made in the first place and perhaps where a lot of the problems started. Through the commentary, which is extremely informative, Shaye talks of creative decisions he made and the fact that the film was in development for thirteen years. Though he is a consummate professional, I can't help but think a bit more input from fresh heads might have cleared up a few of the problems. Aspiring filmmakers could benefit from a listen to the commentary.

Roger Waters Music Video- Hello (I Love You) (4.33)

    The music video is fun, featuring Waters with the young cast members.

Theatrical Trailer

    A fun-filled trailer.

Interactive Games

    There are three games for the kids:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as I can see the Region 1 version of this DVD is identical, except for the addition of a few trailers.

Summary

    The Last Mimzy is a thought-provoking and always interesting kids film that demands a bit more (sometimes too much) from its audience. The presentation is of a good quality and the extras are copious and never less than engaging.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Monday, October 08, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70 Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

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