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The Last Mimzy (***)
directed by Robert Shaye
screen story by James V. Hart & Carol Skilken,
screenplay by Bruce Joel Rubin and Toby Emmerich,
from a story, "Mimsy Were the Borogroves" by Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore)
The Last Mimzy
Principal Cast
Chris O'Neil -- Noah Wilder
Rhiannon Leigh Wryn -- Emma Wilder
Joely Richardson -- Jo Wilder
Timothy Hutton -- David Wilder
Rainn Wilson -- Larry White
Kathryn Hahn -- Naomi Schwartz
Michael Clarke Duncan -- Nathanial Broadman
Kirsten Williamson -- Sheila Broadman
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

This slight, surprisingly pretty, mildly enjoyable film is based on a classic science fiction story of more than sixty years ago by Henry Kuttner and his wife, C.L. Moore. Thanks to the film, a collection of their stories has been reissued in paperback, under the film's title and spelling.

Henry Kuttner, along with Cyril Kornbluth, was one of the first science fiction writers of the Golden Age to die. Catherine Moore left science fiction to write for television. How young we all were, then! Their best work was in the short story genre; their most famous story, "Vintage Season," was also made into a film, Grand Tour: Disaster in Time (1992). "Mimsy Were the Borogroves" appeared in John Campbell's Astounding in 1943.

The most astounding thing, upon rereading the story, is how much of it is devoted to ideas. A modern writer, even one famous for his ideas, such as Vernor Vinge, is careful to keep the mix 90 percent emotion, 10 percent ideas at most. In Astounding, in the 40s, it was closer to fifty-fifty.

In films, of course, emotion is everything, and so 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.

Taking the movie on its own terms, the reason it is not a stronger film is that everyone is nice. Even the men from the government are nice, something you hardly ever see in the movies, though I am sure it happens in real life. There is no conflict.

I've read that Steven Spielberg either wanted to, or did, recut E.T. so that the children never have a shotgun pointed at them. Even so, there is real peril in E.T. and that is one reason it is a great movie. The Last Mimzy is not a great movie because everything is too easy. The children save the human race and are back in time for tea. There is no loss, no sacrifice, no drama, no catharsis.

One theme of the movie is that, in the future, (because of pollution, of course) human DNA has been damaged. But the movie is clear that the damage goes beyond damage to the physical DNA. The memes, the DNA of ideas, have also been damaged.

I think that is happening, today, with a kind of pollution of the world of thought, where the hard won knowledge of centuries is being polluted by nonsense. When was the last time you saw a movie in which superstition didn't work? When was the last time you saw a movie with ideas?

Copyright © 2007 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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