The Last Mimzy

Everything in the universe is wholly interconnected, and herein lays humanity’s hope. Robert Shaye (director) and Tobby Emmerich (screenwriter) use Lewis Padgett’s short story of 1943 All Mimsy Were the Borogoves (whose title comes from the Lewis Carroll poem “Jabberwocky”) to reconvene the suggestion that the precarious state of the world can be salvaged by children.  Chris O’Neil and Rhiannon Leigh Wryn play brother and sister whose discovery leads to adventure, wonder, and salvation.  On a family holiday Noah and his sibling Emma happen upon a box in the surf which changes them and the world forever.  Sent from a scientist in the future, himself feverishly working to overcome the collapse of his own culture by destructive forces, the youngsters are able to intuit the directives through Mimzy, a soft, cuddly rabbit, who speaks to Emma.  The communication and “magic tricks” transform the children into geniuses.

First concerned by “people who mess with Mother Nature producing pollutants that mess with DNA,” Noah begins to communicate with Spiders, patterning his structured bridges after the arachnids’ webs.  This leads the boy to draw mandalas—Eastern visualizations of wholeness.  Tibetan Buddhism is used as the religious vehicle; but as C. S. Lewis noted this past century there is a tao which runs through all cultures; pieces of truth exist everywhere.  There is coherence in the world: Someone made all things to fit together. [The featurettes draw upon the wisdom of a Tibetan monk, a Jungian psychologist, and a professor of eastern philosophy to explain the premises of the movie’s philosophy.]

While speaking with Mimzy, Noah and Emma learn the world of the future may end.  They discover that something is missing in future people for which the Mimzy is sent to retrieve.  “Our world is saved by a child,” utters the storyteller in envelope effect at beginning and end of the film.  “Emma is our mother,” she declares.  Without spoiling the means of salvation at movie’s end, the viewer is made to believe that human hope is found in an “innocent” child; and that salvation comes from ourselves.  Roger Waters’ song “Hello (I Love You) looks for “anybody in there” rather than the belief that salvation comes from outside the universe, “out there.”

The Last Mimzy is a science fiction tale set in a normal west coast household.  The two young people (elementary children) were fantastic.  The plot is tight and the action well paced.  Characters are crisp.  References to Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, brain research, a creative science teacher, and Tibetan Buddhism are strong undercurrents throughout the film.  And the movie has correctly identified two major questions of human mystery: (1) What is missing in us that makes us destructive? and (2) What (or Who) holds everything together?

Rated PG for mild situations of child peril, mature themes, and brief language.

Mark Eckel is Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Crossroads Bible College.

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