“The Last Mimzy,” review by Susan Granger

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When a mysterious box of magical ‘toys’ washes up on a beach near Seattle, two children embark on an exciting adventure that will change their lives.

Constantly distracted by electronic devices, the Wilders are a typical 21st century family: overworked dad (Timothy Hutton), overly cautious mom (Joely Richardson), isolated, self-doubting 10 year-old Noah (Chris O’Neil) and innocently precocious five year-old Emma (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn). But when Noah and Emma find a curious black box, they discover a treasure trove: a crystal slab inscribed with obscure symbols, an ornate sea shell, a blue glass snail, rock-like ‘spinners’ and a stuffed rabbit that identifies itself as Mimzy.

As Noah and Emma play with these strange objects, their minds expand, catapulting them to incredibly high intelligence levels. While their creativity attracts the attention of Noah’s science teacher (Rainn Wilson) and his Buddhist girl-friend (Kathryn Hahn), their experimentation arouses the suspicions of Agent Broadman (Michael Clarke Duncan) of the Department of Homeland Security. But Mimzy’s on a mission: to transport into the future something that’s been lost in the past.

This sci-fi fantasy is based on Lewis Padgett’s “All Mimsy Were the Borogroves,” which was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “The Jabberwocky.” Adapted by Bruce Joel Rubin (“Ghost”) and Toby Emmerich (“Frequency”), it’s directed by Robert Shaye, New Line Cinema’s CEO, who minimizes the distracting ‘secretive’ elements while evoking memories of Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.”

It’s intriguing that there’s some validity to the challenging science depicted in the film, according to Dr. Brian Greene, Columbia University physics professor, and Dr. Susan Smalley, UCLA neurobehavioral genetics professor. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Last Mimzy” is an enchanting 7. With its spiritual and metaphysical message, this fun-filled family entertainment goes far beyond whimsy.

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