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NEW LINE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Robert Shaye
Cast:
Chris O'Neil, Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, Joely Richardson, Timothy Hutton, Rainn Wilson, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Clarke Duncan
Writing Credits:
Bruce Joel Rubin, Toby Emmerich, James V. Hart (screen story), Carol Skilken (screen story), Henry Kuttner (short story, "Mimsy Were the Borogoves"), C.L. Moore (short story, "Mimsy Were the Borogoves")

Tagline:
The future is trying to tell us something.

Synopsis:
When Noah and Emma Wilder discover a special box on the beach, they open it and unlock an exciting adventure beyond imagination. Inside they find Mimzy, a magical stuffed rabbit along with other mystical toys, which give the children exceptional powers of their own. Able to move objects with their minds and to solve complex equations, these new wonder kids begin to attract the attention of their parents, teachers ... and even the FBI. Surrounding the phenomenon of Mimzy is an awesome secret - one that holds the key to saving the future of all mankind.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross
$21.460 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital EX 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
None
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $28.98
Release Date: 7/10/07

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Bob Shaye
• Fact Track
• 11 Deleted/Alternate Scenes with Optional Director’s Commentary
• Interactive Challenge
• “The Mandala: Imaginary Palace” Featurette
• “The Looking Glass: Emma and Alice” Featurette
• “Sound Waves: Listening to the Universe” Featurette
• “DNA: The Human Blueprint” Featurette
• “Nanotechnology: The Human Revolution” Featurette
• “Wormholes: Fantasy or Science” Featurette
• “The Last Mimzy: Adapting the Story” Featurette
• “Bob Shaye: Director Profile” Featurette
• “Casting the Kids” Featurette
• “Production Design and Concept Art” Featurette
• “’Real Is Good’: The Visual Effects” Featurette
• “Editing and Music” Featurette
• Music Video
• Trailers


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Last Mimzy (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 11, 2007)

We get a science-fiction fantasy adventure in 2007’s The Last Mimzy. Spring break comes for 10-year-old Noah Wilder (Chris O’Neil) and his family take a trip to their vacation home on Whidbey Island near Seattle. As he and his younger sister Emma (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn) play on the beach, they find an intriguing box. Inside it they discover some unusual items including a stuffed bunny named Mimzy who talks to Emma.

They also start to develop some strange abilities. Noah and Emma explore these during vacation and continue to do so when school resumes. Noah’s science teacher Larry White (Rainn Wilson) discovers that the kid’s sketching intricate designs called mandalas, and it just so happens that Noah draws the same one that appeared in Larry’s dreams. Noah and Emma start to demonstrate previously untapped intellectual skills as well, and folks start to suspect that they have supernatural powers.

Matters start to come to a head when one of the objects from the box causes a massive blackout. This attracts attention from the feds, as they worry about a terrorist plot. The movie follows all these various threads and the kids’ paths toward a mysterious goal.

How did I know something magical was at work when I watched Mimzy? Because the movie actually made time slow to a crawl. The first 30 minutes of the film seemed to last about three hours, and matters didn’t get any better from there.

Hoo boy, is this a slow-paced little flick! The tale really drags as it gradually leads us… somewhere. Yeah, we eventually get to the point, but by the time we end up there, we just don't care anymore. Granted, I’m not sure we ever do develop any investment in the characters or story. However, any marginal interest that grows dies out well before the flick comes to a conclusion.

You’ll be forgiven if you see multiple parallels between Mimzy and ET the Extraterrestrial. No, this isn’t a cheap Mac and Me-style rip-off, but it seems clear that Mimzy uses ET as an inspiration at minimum and a firm template at maximum.

Unfortunately, director Bob Shaye isn’t a match for Spielberg circa 1982. Big Steve took a simple story and made it absolutely stunning, partially because he didn’t try too hard. Spielberg developed a minimal tale that enveloped us through its warmth and genuine feel for its subject.

In Mimzy, however, Shaye tries his hardest to push all our buttons. He lacks any form of style or charm as he layers on all sorts of faux magic. Maybe the movie should’ve been titled The Forced Whimsy since it never generates any real emotion or inspiration.

Shaye’s story-telling abilities certain let down the movie. Mimzy suffers from awkward pacing, as it kind of clomps along from one spot to another without much fluidity. We get some connection among events but the film doesn’t progress in an organic way. Instead, it just lumbers along as it touches on its mildly connected plot points.

In addition, the characters receive little development or depth. Mimzy features a pretty good cast of adults, all of whom seem to be on autopilot. They can’t add anything to their underwritten parts, and they all basically blend into the wallpaper.

One would expect better definition for the lead kids, but they show no spark either. Both O’Neil and Wryn seem eminently forgettable. They fail to display charm or vivacity in their roles. They offer stiff, wooden performances without any life.

It’s the flat, generic nature of Mimzy that really kills it. It throws us a story cobbled together from bits and pieces of other movies and includes completely generic characters without any personality. I kept waiting for the story to go somewhere, but that never happened.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus A-

The Last Mimzy appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Not many issues affected this solid transfer.

Only a few problems with definition caused distractions. Though most of the movie showed good delineation, occasionally wide shots looked a bit soft. Nonetheless, the majority of the flick was accurate and distinctive. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I detected no edge enhancement. Source flaws also remained absent through this clean image.

Mimzy went with a natural palette that looked very good. The tones came across as lively and full at all times. Blacks were dense and tight, while shadows appeared reasonably smooth and clear. Overall, this was a positive presentation.

Even better material came from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Last Mimzy. With all the magical elements, the soundfield presented an active environment. Music offered nice stereo delineation, and effects cropped up from all around the spectrum. The supernatural aspects of the film allowed for the information to come from all around the room and open up the film well.

Audio quality also satisfied. Speech was crisp and natural, while effects showed good clarity and definition. They boasted fine low-end, and music followed suit. The score was lively and dynamic at all times. This was an impressive soundtrack.

This infinifilm edition of The Last Mimzy comes packed with extras. We begin with an audio commentary from director Bob Shaye. He provides a running, screen-specific look at the film. Shaye chats about story and themes, editing and the effect of test screenings, cast, performances and working with the kids, sets and locations, effects and visuals, music, audio and a few other elements.

I may not think much of Shaye’s film, but he provides a pretty solid discussion of it. Shaye covers all the issues we’d expect and does so in an honest, up-front manner. He doesn’t layer on too much happy talk, and he’s willing to discuss some problems that cropped up along the way. Heck, the guy even gives out his e-mail address so you can send him your thoughts! Despite a few slow spots, this turns into a satisfying commentary.

Another option to accompany the movie arrives via the Fact Track. This text commentary uses the subtitle area as it provides small factoids that appear throughout the flick. It covers subjects such as aspects of the production, facts about the actors and others involved, and concepts depicted in the flick.

The material seems moderately interesting at best, and a further problem comes from the sporadic presentation of the information. The factoids don’t pop up very frequently. I doubt many people will want to try to attend to the film itself and read the fact track at the same time, as it could become very distracting, especially since the infinifilm features offer a frequent element of visual confusion. On the other hand, if you check out the movie just to examine the subtitles, you’ll feel irritated by the infrequent use of the feature. This fails to become a terribly worthwhile subtitle commentary.

11 Deleted/Alternate Scenes fill a total of 13 minutes, 22 seconds. These include “Science Test” (0:59), “Noah’s Crush” (0:13), “Alternate Meditation Scene” (3:59), “David Calls the Beach House” (0:57), “Whidbey Fight” (2:30), “Emma’s Birthday” (1:45), “Noah’s Crush Part 2” (0:37), “Alternate Naomi Introduction” (0:24), “Naomi Is Shocked” (0:36), “Mandala Drawing Left Behind” (0:32) and “Extended Broadman Ending” (0:43). The most significant additions give us more information about the various adult relationships, as the clips provide extra coverage of the kids’ parents as well as Larry/Naomi. None of these would have fit into the movie very well, so they were logical cuts. All the others just seem extraneous, so they don’t go missed.

We can watch these with or without commentary from Shaye. He tells us some general editorial thoughts as well as the reasons he cut the scenes. Shaye continues to be informative and frank in this useful collection of remarks.

For some games, we head to the Interactive Challenge. “Spider Bridge” is a confusing nuisance, while “Memory Match” is only mildly more fun. “Mandala Mix-Up” is another memory game. None of these seem entertaining.

A slew of featurettes appear here. Six of these crop up under the Beyond the Movie domain and deal with topics connected to the movie’s story elements. We find “The Mandala: Imaginary Palace” (5:49), “The Looking Glass: Emma and Alice” (2:37), “Sound Waves: Listening to the Universe” (6:20), “DNA: The Human Blueprint” (4:05), “Nanotechnology: The Human Revolution” (3:11) and “Wormholes: Fantasy or Science” (4:19). Across these pieces, we hear from Shaye, California Institute of Integral Studies Professor of Asian and Comparative Studies Steven Goodman, Jungian psychologist Dr. Holly J. Fincher, Tibetan lama Anam Thubten Rinpoche, Lewis Carroll Society of North America vice president Mark Burstein, screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin, sound designer Dane Davis, UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor James K. Gimzewski, Columbia University Professor of Physics and Mathematics Brian Greene, National Space Science Data Center planetary radio astronomer James Thieman, Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences deputy director Dr. Erika Shugart, National Geographic and IBM’s Genographic Project director Dr. Spencer Wells, Nanotechnology.com managing director Darrell Brookstein, and UC-Riverside Department of Mechanical Engineering assistant professor Christopher Dames.

We find info about mandalas, a comparison between this movie’s Emma and literary sources, audio issues, and notes about DNA, nanotechnolology and wormholes. Taken as a whole, these components really do let us go “beyond the movie”. They provide good background information for the different concepts presented in Mimzy and help make the experience more valuable. It’s nice to learn more about these topics and see how they fit in with the film’s story.

Six more featurettes come to us within the All Access Pass heading. Here we discover “The Last Mimzy: Adapting the Story” (13:51), “Bob Shaye: Director Profile” (8:56), “Casting the Kids” (7:10), “Production Design and Concept Art” (4:05), “’Real Is Good’: The Visual Effects” (8:11), and “Editing and Music” (13:09). In these, we find notes from Shaye, Rubin, producer Michael Phillips, executive producer Sara Risher, screenwriter/New Line President of Production Toby Emmerich, production designer Barry Chusid, director of photography J. Michael Muro, New Line co-chairman and co-CEO Michael Lynne, visual effects supervisor Eric Durst, Orphanage Inc. senior visuals effects producer Amy Hollywood Wixson, Orphanage Inc. visual effects supervisor Stu Maschwitz, visual effects producer Mark G. Soper, editor Alan Heim, composer Howard Shore, New Line President of Music Paul Broucek, and actors Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, Timothy Hutton, Rainn Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Kathryn Hahn, and Chris O’Neil.

These clips look at the movie’s adaptation and development for the big screen, screenplay elements, notes about director Shaye, casting, visual concepts, various effects, editing, and score. After the background info in “Beyond the Movie”, here we focus on movie-making issues. Of course, Shaye covers a lot of this material in his excellent commentary, but this collection of clips, we find more detail about the various topics. These prove to be consistently informative and compelling as we get a nice overall look at the flick’s creation.

Next we get a music video for Roger Waters’ “Hello (I Love You)”. The song rehashes Waters’ old Pink Floyd glories but comes across like a pale imitation of his earlier work. Don’t expect anything interesting from the video, as it just mixes movie clips with studio shots of Waters.

The DVD opens with some ads. We get promos for Hairspray and TMNT. These also appear in the DVD’s Sneak Peeks domain along with clips for Hoot, How to Eat Fried Worms, Superman: Doomsday, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The set ends with the trailer for Mimzy.

If you want to find a magical adventure for the kids, keep looking. The Last Mimzy won’t satisfy you. Instead, this lumbering, wooden tale tries hard to wow us but just bores us instead. The DVD presents very good picture and audio as well as a pretty good collection of extras. I like what New Line did with this fine DVD, but the movie itself is a dull disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8888 Stars Number of Votes: 18
115:
14:
0 3:
52:
11:
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main