Based on the acclaimed sci-fi short story “Mimsy were the Borogoves” by Lewis Padgett, The Last Mimzy transports us to a time (a.k.a. right now) when a civilization obsessed with technology begins to lose all trace of human interaction. In this not too distant future, rebellious Noah Wilder (Chris O’Neil) and his little Lisa Simpson wannabe sister Emma (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn) discover a mysterious box floating in the ocean outside their Pacific-Northwest beach house. In a rare moment of sibling bonding, Emma and Noah explore the box’s mysterious contents, discovering a stuffed bunny Mimzy whose prophetic mumblings only Emma can understand, a glowing green plaque that enables Noah to move things with his mind, strange stones that hover in the air, a weird looking blob, and a shell that allows the children to hear the musings of the animal kingdom.
Meanwhile, the children begin to display an extraordinary level of intelligence (every parent’s nightmare!) and Mr. and Mrs. Wilder begin to think that something suspicious is going on. As they struggle to discover the source of their children’s newfound talents, Noah accidentally creates a generator that blacks out the entire city. With the FBI now on their trails, Noah and Emma work with Noah’s eccentric science teacher to try to discover Mimzy’s purpose before it’s too late.
Like so many sci-fi movies, The Last Mimzy has an incredibly interesting set-up but winds up asking the audience to suspend their disbelief just a little too much…and I’m not just talking about buying Michael Clarke Duncan as an FBI counter-terrorist agent. At first, the strange toys and talents the children acquire are fascinating, but after seeing Emma molecularize her hand with the spinning rocks six times, we’re not that impressed. Particularly because the ending never justifies the glacial pace, since the climax doesn’t really have anything to do with the first hour of the film. Ultimately, we’re left with too many unanswered questions as to Mimzy’s origins and the overall purpose of some of the toys. The film’s poster displays the tagline: “The future wants to tell us something,” well, WHAT? What does it want to say? Because the movie certainly never lets us know.
Meanwhile the film is also plagued by one of the most blatant instances of product placement in cinematic history, we’re talking “Stay Puff Marshmallow Man” obvious. The worst part is, the brand name could have actually helped clarify some of the film’s vague plot points, but the subject line is dropped shortly after the icon flashes on the screen. If they’re trying to warn us of the dangers of an over-technological society… how about a society overrun by subliminal advertising!
Despite the incredibly laughable “Is there anything I can do for you?” Michael Clarke Duncan performance and the complete dissolve of tension as the film progresses, the actors involved manage to maintain viewer interest throughout. Rainn Wilson and Kathryn Hahn provide some much-needed comic relief, while the adorable Rhiannon Leigh Wryn and Chris O’Neil give the kind of incredibly realistic performance that siblings will certainly appreciate. While the storyline is shaky, it resonates best when commenting on our iPod-obsessed, workaholic society. Better still the special effects are nothing short of mesmerizing, and for children, who don’t tend to sit around after the credits and debate character development and plot payoff, that will most likely be enough.