"The Last Mimzy" may fail to qualify as the best family adventure of the year, but the film's astronomical degree of fantasy occasionally overpowers its flaws and challenges the imagination of young cinemagoers, thus pulling them into a world packed with dazzling magic.
Based on the short story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett (a pseudonym for Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore), "Mimzy" tells the captivating tale of siblings Noah and Emma Wilder (Chris O'Neill and Rhiannon Leigh Wryn), who are 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, which will help them develop unique talents: Noah acquires the power of telekinesis, while his sister discovers the ability to spin the rocks and create magical force fields.
Neither the kids nor their astounded parents (played by 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 for the sake of mankind, must be prevented at any cost.
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 Mimzy, Shye did a remarkable job.
Although Mimzy is an overall entertaining fable, it is also marked by a few 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 they utilize them for.
Besides its underlying message that today's world is too much preoccupied with the use of electronic devices, the movie succeeds in emphasizing the importance of family values. This shines through especially in the way the Wilders handle the government's sudden interest in their children's unexplainable giftedness. They stick together no matter how big the threat.
Newcomers Chris O'Neill and Rhiannon Leigh Wryn deliver remarkable performances as gifted siblings who combine their newly acquired abilities and solve the big puzzle. As in the recent family fable "Bridge to Terabithia," the relationship between the children serves as an excellent tool for the filmmakers to urge their spectators never to abandon their imagination.
Ultimately, even though the excessive use of product placement accounts for one of the movie's most annoying weaknesses, "The Last Mimzy" is imaginative and fast-paced enough to amuse audiences who are more than willing to sit back, suspend belief, and enjoy the magic.