March 24, 2007 -- There are relatively few movies about children that treat them with respect and relatively few that are actually told from a child's point of view. “The Last Mimzy” accomplishes both of these rare goals with a lot of style. It is far from being a perfect film and it isn't for all tastes, but it is a rare treat for those looking for something different and challenging in a children's film.
The story begins when two children, Noah Wilder (Chris O'Neil) and Emma Wilder (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn) find a strange object in the sand while playing on a Whidbey Island, Washington beach. Opening the object, they find various objects inside which seem to have magical powers, including a doll called Mimzy who can talk. Emma understands the doll's strange warbling and begins to exhibit fantastic powers. Noah becomes fascinated by one of the objects which acts like an advanced computer. He develops powers of his own. The two children believe they have been chosen to carry out a mission of vital importance to humanity.
From there, the plot branches off in a number of directions as other people try to figure out what is going on with these kids, including their parents, Jo (Joely Richardson of “The Patriot”) and David (Timothy Hutton of “The Good Shepherd”), Noah's teacher, Larry White (Rainn Wilson of “The Office” TV series), his girlfriend, Naomi Schwartz (Kathryn Hahn of the “Crossing Jordan” TV series) and Nathanial Broadman of the Department of Homeland Security (Michael Clarke Duncan of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby). The story devolves into the feds chasing the kids around, palm reading, Indian mysticism, time travel, power blackouts, prophetic dreams and spiders spinning strange webs.
The bulk of the plot seems to be aimed at trying to prevent the kids from accomplishing their mission long enough so that the rest of the movie can happen. If you strip out the New Age nonsense and stick to the basic plot, that works well enough. The two child actors are up to the task of carrying the movie and the adults don't get in the way too much. The best of the adults are Rainn Wilson and Naomi Schwartz, who provide some comic relief. The film works best when it is illustrating the magic world of children, where free imaginations make anything seem possible. It conveys a great sense of wonder. The story also demonstrates faith that human beings are capable of much more than they currently show. The movie would have been better had it concentrated more on the basic story and less on all those secondary plots, but it is a very strong basic story. It rates a B.
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