The Last Mimzy
|The Last Mimzy|
|Directed by||Robert Shaye|
|Produced by||Michael Phillips|
|Based on||"Mimsy Were the Borogoves"|
by Henry Kuttner
|Cinematography||J. Michael Muro|
|Edited by||Alan Heim|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$27.5 million|
The Last Mimzy is a 2007 American science fiction adventure drama film directed by Robert Shaye and loosely adapted from the 1943 science fiction short story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett (the pseudonym of husband-and-wife team Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore). The film features Timothy Hutton, Joely Richardson, Rainn Wilson, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Clarke Duncan, and introducing Rhiannon Leigh Wryn as seven-year-old Emma Wilder and Chris O’Neil as ten-year-old Noah.
This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (December 2020)
Presented as a story to a group of students by their teacher Lena in a field in the distant future, The Last Mimzy is the story of the attempt by humans in the distant future to avert a catastrophic ecological disaster that has destroyed their world. Humanity has become "isolated and warlike," and one scientist is desperately working to save the earth and its people. A small assortment of High-tech devices disguised as toys are sent by him back in time, where they are found by Noah (Chris O'Neil) and Emma (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn) Wilder, children living in early-21st-century Seattle. The "toys" are initially incomprehensible to them, except for what appears to be a stuffed rabbit. Sensing the paranormal strangeness of the devices, the children initially keep their discovery secret from their parents.
Emma becomes telepathically connected to the stuffed rabbit, and learns its name, Mimzy, and other information from it, acknowledging it as her teacher. Interaction with the devices causes the children to develop advanced knowledge, genius-level intelligence and psionic abilities. Due to her psychic connection with Mimzy, Emma's development of her abilities is much stronger than her older brother's; she is the only one to display empathy, telepathy, levitation, and telekinesis (though Noah can also communicate with her once she has telepathically contacted him). Emma is also the only one who can use the "spinners", small rocks that when spun, telekinetically float and can produce a force-field. Noah's own psionic/physic abilities are developed through a green card and a seashell. He gains increased intelligence, knowledge, telepathy, empathic communication and control over arthropods. He can also use the card to telekinetically teleport objects through a small dimensional rift after staring at the object and observing his surroundings. At one point, Noah becomes somewhat envious of his sister's psionic prowess, but she reveals to him that even though she is the "chosen one', he is her chosen "engineer" and she cannot "build the bridge to the future" without him.
The children's astounding psionic and extrasensory abilities and Emma's attachment to Mimzy alert their parents, especially their mother, and Larry White, Noah's science schoolteacher, to the devices. Later, Noah accidentally fuses the card with a blue blob, causing it to turn into a "generator" that causes a power black-out over half the state of Washington, alerting the FBI to their activities. The family is held for questioning by Special Agent Nathaniel Broadman (Michael Clarke Duncan), and it is revealed that Mimzy is actually a highly advanced form of artificial life utilizing nanotechnology created by Intel. After this, Emma tells everyone the message Mimzy is relaying to her from humanity's distant future. She explains that pollution will eventually corrupt humanity's DNA, and that many rabbits like Mimzy have been sent to the past, since no natural life forms can survive time travel, but none of them successfully returned. Mimzy is the last one remaining, but is now beginning to disintegrate. The reason for the deaths of all the other rabbits is the "chosen ones" before Emma had no "engineers" (like Noah) to help build the bridge across time. Emma and Noah must build the bridge by using the other toys to activate a time portal, so that they can return Mimzy to the future with uncorrupted 21st-century human DNA that the people of the future can use to correct the damage to their DNA caused by ecological problems.
Despite attempts by the unbelieving FBI to prevent them, Noah and Emma use their psionic abilities to escape so that they can activate the portal. As they journey to the family beach house, where it all began, Mimzy absorbs a tear from Emma, thus providing the DNA required to restore humanity's corrupted DNA. Emma is almost sucked into the future with Mimzy, but Noah grabs Emma and pulls her out of the portal just as Mimzy is sent back to its own time. Following the transport, Noah's science teacher, who was present at the event, claims that he saw "numbers", a reference to a previous dream he had with numbers in it, which turned out to be the winning lottery numbers, but missed out because he never bought a ticket—thus exciting his fiancée about this second opportunity. Back in the future setting, Mimzy is returned to the future, and humans are finally able to restore their DNA, and abandon their then-necessary protective suits, and more importantly, repair the "mental corruption" that stripped most of them of their feelings toward each other. The teacher ends the story time and the children levitate and fly home. The world in their time has become a beautiful place, where humanity has integrated into the reconstructed ecosystems.
The story ends in the current time, with Emma's teacher (Julia Arkos) asking if anyone did anything exciting over the weekend break. No one volunteers, so she calls on Emma at random, who merely smiles.
- Rhiannon Leigh Wryn as Emma Wilder, who discovers the "toys".
- Chris O'Neil as Noah Wilder, Emma's older brother.
- Chris Sipe as Noah Wilder (in a few scenes in the middle)
- Timothy Hutton as David Wilder, father of Noah and Emma
- Joely Richardson as Jo Wilder, David's wife and mother of the children.
- Rainn Wilson as Larry White, Noah's science teacher.
- Kathryn Hahn as Naomi Schwartz, Larry's fiancée.
- Michael Clarke Duncan as FBI Special Agent Nathaniel Broadman.
- Patrick Gilmore as FBI Task Force Agent.
- Kirsten Williamson as Sheila Broadman, Broadman's wife.
- Marc Musso as Harry Jones, Noah's best friend.
- Megan McKinnon as Wendy.
- Irene Snow as Lena, the story's narrator.
Mackenzie Hamilton and Calum Worthy cameo as Teenage Cyborgs
Development and production
The Last Mimzy is loosely based on the classic science fiction short story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett, the pen name of collaborators Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore; the story appeared in John W. Campbell's magazine Astounding in 1943. The only elements retained from the story are the toys sent back through time, teaching the children advanced thought patterns and mental abilities through play. The purpose of the toys is entirely different, and the tragic ending of the original story is eliminated.
Both the film's and short story's titles are derived from third line of the nonsense verse poem Jabberwocky in Lewis Carroll's novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. The adapted screenplay is by Bruce Joel Rubin and Toby Emmerich.
The film's production team also included editor Alan Heim and sound designer Dane Davis. Visual effects were created by The Orphanage, and location filming was done in Roberts Creek and Collingwood School.
The Last Mimzy grossed nearly $21.5 million in North America and $6.1 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $27.5 million,
Critical response to The Last Mimzy was mixed, and ranged from saying that it holds appeal for family audiences—especially children—to describing the storyline as distracting. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 55% based on 126 reviews, with an average score of 5.8/10. The site's critical consensus states, "The Last Mimzy makes efforts to be a fun children's movie, but unsuccessfully juggles too many genres and subplots—eventually settling as an unfocused, slightly dull affair" On Metacritic, the film had a score of 59 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times called it, "Wholesome, eager entertainment that doesn't talk down", agreeing with Ken Fox of TV Guide's Movie Guide who said it was "a thoughtful and sincere interpretation that actually get kids and their guardians thinking and talking." Calling the film "lightweight", the Atlanta Journal-Constitution rated it a "small gem". The Chicago Sun-Times went as far as to say The Last Mimzy is an "emotionless empty shell" compared to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
Critics diverged regarding the scientific validity of the film. Reviewer Susan Granger said, "There's some validity to the challenging science depicted in the film, according to Brian Greene, Columbia University physics professor, and Susan Smalley, UCLA neurobehavioral genetics professor." By contrast, Rick Norwood (The SF Site) writes, "The Last Mimzy has carefully expunged all of the ideas from the story, and replaced them with the New Age nonsense that passes for ideas these days. They have also taken a very personal story about one family and a box of toys from the future and turned it into an epic story in which childlike innocence saves the human race".
The soundtrack for the film was composed by Howard Shore, the award-winning composer behind the scores of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters also collaborated on a song called "Hello (I Love You)". "I think together we've come up with a song that captures the themes of the movie—the clash between humanity's best and worst instincts, and how a child's innocence can win the day", Roger Waters commented.
- "The Mandala" – 1:37
- "Whidbey Island" – 3:21
- "Under the Bed" – 2:46
- "Cuddle" – 1:28
- "Beach" – 1:59
- "Scribbles" – 2:39
- "Blackout" – 3:17
- "Palm Readings" – 4:12
- "I Love the World" – 0:52
- "Help!" – 1:20
- "I Have to Look" – 4:20
- "Can I Talk?" – 5:26
- "Eyes" – 2:15
- "The Tear" – 4:07
- "Through the Looking-Glass" – 5:03
- "Hello (I Love You)" (with Roger Waters) – 6:16
|Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films||Best Performance by a Young Actor||Rhiannon Leigh Wryn||Nominated|
|Best Science Fiction Film||Nominated|
|29th Young Artist Awards||Best Family Feature Film||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Young Actor||Chris O'Neil||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Young Actress||Rhiannon Leigh Wryn||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Young Ensemble Cast||Chris O'Neil
Rhiannon Leigh Wryn
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- "The Last Mimzy (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
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- Granger, Susan (March 22, 2007). "The Last Mimzy". Alliance of Women Film Journalists. Retrieved December 11, 2007.
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- "The 34th Annual Saturn Awards". Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- "29th Annual Young Artist Awards". Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
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