Last Mimzy Stuffed with Conflicting Spiritual Messages
- Christa Banister Contributing Writer
- 2007 23 Mar
DVD Release Date: July 10, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: March 23, 2007
Rating: PG (for thematic material, mild peril, mild language)
Run Time: 90 min.
Director: Robert Shaye
Actors: Chris O’Neil, Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, Joely Richardson, Timothy Hutton, Rainn Wilson, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Clarke Duncan
While a movie with a stuffed bunny as a central character may seem innocuous enough, the masterminds behind The Last Mimzy showcase a Hollywood brand of spirituality that’s not particularly subtle as everything from Buddhism to astrology to new age philosophies get major screen time.
Of course, none of these beliefs are embraced exclusively, as they’re all woven throughout the course of the film. But they’re all presented in a matter meant to be enticing to children, whether they’re talking about magical crystals, palm reading, levitation or the universe speaking to you.
Adapted from Lewis Padgett’s All Mimsy Were the Borogroves, a title drawn from Lewis Carroll’s The Jabberwocky, The Last Mimzy is the story of what happens when two seemingly ordinary (and adorable) children, Noah (Chris O’Neil) and Emma (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn) discover a mysterious box of “toys” near their Seattle vacation home.
While the box itself is cryptic enough with its curious inscriptions, ability to expand and collapse at a moment’s notice and whale-like sound effects, its contents are even more puzzling. There’s an ornate sea-shell, beautiful glass “spinners” and the piece-de-resistance, an antique stuffed rabbit, the Mimzy, that Emma becomes rather attached to in a hurry.
But as you may have gathered from the trailers, Mimzy isn’t the sort of stuffed animal kids will find in their Easter baskets in a few weeks. Instead, Mimzy is an emissary from the future who speaks in a language only Emma can understand. Turns out Mimzy needs Emma’s help to return to her time with something from the present to rescue humanity from pollution and disease.
And if the premise wasn’t confusing or far-fetched enough, Emma and Noah keep the plot to save the planet from their Mom and Dad, even though they’re portrayed as this tight-knit family in the beginning. From the get-go, we see Noah’s busy dad (Timothy Hutton) sit down for a heart-to-heart with Noah after he faces troubles at school while Mom (Joely Richardson) cuddles with her daughter, yet they don’t bother to share this with them? That detail aside, there’s a real sense that it’s the kids who are in control for the better part of 90 minutes, even when their parents ask them to get rid of these “toys” later on.
To explain much more of the plot would just leave you scratching your head, so I’ll refrain. But I will say this: The Last Mimzy certainly isn’t your E.T. brand of sci-fi that it so intentionally borrows from. Not only does it lack the charm and human interest element of the aforementioned, but the plot with all its new-agey excess is a waste of a talented cast (including Rainn Wilson from The Office, who plays the mystically curious science teacher Mr. White).
Basically if you want a better, more imaginative (not to mention redemptive) option to watch as a family, skip Mimzy and opt for a repeat showing of Bridge to Terabithia. Not only will it make much more sense, but there’s actually a point to the story, which is always refreshing when the credits have rolled.
AUDIENCE: 8 and up (although children will likely be bored as slowly as this story moves along)
- Drugs/Alcohol: None,
- Language/Profanity: One mild profanity uttered by Noah’s science teacher. For parents who don’t appreciate words like “sucks,” this is used in conversations as well.
- Sex/Nudity: None, although it is understood that Noah’s science teacher and his fiancée Naomi live together.
- Violence: Noah and Emma’s home is raided after a power outage, and they, along with their parents are handcuffed and taken to a holding cell. Plus, there are some scary moments when the mimzy is being transported to the future.
Religion: More disturbing than the violence or small instances of profanity, however, are the overt religious messages that are targeted to children. Early on, Naomi is shown chanting in front of a statue of Buddha and discusses her quest to reach nirvana. She and Noah’s science teacher Mr. White also discuss his repeated dreams about mystical symbols and lucky lottery numbers. Emma communicates with her “mimzy” through telepathy. She also levitates later on, a result of the “magical” nature of the mimzy. After Emma and Noah demonstrate their “special abilities,” Naomi asks to read their palms. And even though the kids’ mom is resistant at first, Naomi proceeds anyway, telling her not to be afraid. Of course, when Emma’s “special” nature is revealed, her mom instantly is a believer. New age crystals and “spinners” also figure significantly into the plot, and there are plenty of not-so-subliminal messages about Mother Earth, global warming and how the earth is dying, and we need to “save” it.