'The Last Mimzy': Studio Exec Directs Flawed + Dazzling Magical World

by Franck Tabouring

The Last Mimzy by Robert ShayeThe Last Mimzy may fail to qualify as the best “family” adventure film of the year, though its flaws are occasionally forgotten while we're pulled into the film's dazzling, magical world. This latest entry in the fantasy genre was directed by Robert Shaye, who happens to be the founder and co-chairman of New Line Cinema, and the man who green-lit the Lord of the Rings movies. The idea of a studio executive stepping behind the camera can be alarming, but in the case of The Last Mimzy Shaye did a remarkable job.

Based on the short story “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” by Lewis Padgett (a pseudonym for Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore), The Last Mimzy follows siblings Noah and Emma Wilder (Chris O'Neil and Rhiannon Leigh Wryn), who have been called upon by future scientists to help prevent the deterioration of human virtues.

While spending their Easter break at their parents' beach house, Noah and Emma stumble across a mysterious box. Inside, they find a stuffed rabbit (that's Mimzy) and a couple of luminous rocks that will help them develop unique talents: Noah acquires the power of telekinesis, while his sister, by spinning the rocks, creates magical force fields.

Neither the kids nor their astounded parents (Timothy Hutton and Joely Richardson) have a clue about what's going on, but Emma claims that her stuffed animal speaks to her about a forthcoming worldwide catastrophe that must be prevented at any cost.

Besides its underlying message that today's world is much too preoccupied with electronic devices, The Last Mimzy succeeds by emphasizing the importance of family relationships. This becomes particularly evident in the way the Wilders handle the government's sudden interest in their children's inexplicable gift. They stick together no matter how big the threat.

Additionally, as in the recent family fable Bridge to Terabithia, The Last Mimzy uses the children's rapport with one another (both O'Neill and Wryn deliver solid performances) to urge us never to abandon our imagination.

But despite its generally entertaining narrative, The Last Mimzy is marred by too many plot holes. The screenplay by Toby Emmerich and Bruce Joel Rubin leaves too many questions unanswered, especially in connection with Mimzy. The audience is never told how it really works, where the children's powers come from, or what use they ultimately have. Worse yet, the film's messages are hindered by an over-emphasis on product placement.

Its considerable flaws notwithstanding, The Last Mimzy is imaginative and fast-paced enough to amuse audiences who are willing to sit back, suspend disbelief, and enjoy the magic.

© Franck Tabouring

The Last Mimzy (2007). Dir.: Robert Shaye. Scr.: Toby Emmerich and Bruce Joel Rubin; screen story by James V. Hart and Carol Skilken, from the short story “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” by C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner (both under the pseudonym Lewis Padgett). Cast: Chris O'Neil, Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, Joely Richardson, Timothy Hutton

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