Who's in It:
Chris O'Neil, Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, Joely Richardson, Timothy Hutton, Rainn Wilson, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Clarke Duncan
The Basics: I just sat here at my laptop for 30 minutes trying to figure out what to say about the plot. So, here goes: A boy and his little sister find a box with some stuff in it. One of the things is a clear piece of glass that turns everything into triangles. Then there are some rocks that the little girl can make spin in midair. There's a thing that looks like a very lazy sea creature/blob, and then there's a thing that looks like a crab. There's also a stuffed rabbit. It's alive. It speaks outer-space-rabbit language. It's from the future. It's also the Mimzy of the title. The toys turn the boy into a supergenius, and the little girl into a levitating oracle. And they both wind up somehow being connected to ancient Buddhist teachings about mandalas. And I haven't even gotten to the action yet. See what I mean about feeling stuck?
What's the Deal? This weird, and weirdly entertaining, movie will be, for a certain brand of nerd-kid, what 2001 must have been for drug-addled hippies. It's a freakout for sci-fi-oriented 10-year-olds with a propensity for being fascinated by New Age alternative spiritualities and physics and for reading books like The Elegant Universe before they're really ready. And if your own children don't fall into that category, they'll just like it because it's about kids who develop misunderstood superpowers that they have to use to save humanity even if the grown-ups around them don't get what's going on. And in movies like this, the grown-ups never get it. Kids love that us-against-them dichotomy in their sci-fi fantasies.
Movie It Steals the Most From: E.T. It's got a visitor from another world that can't stay very long or it'll die. It's also got shadowy governmental agencies breathing down the kid's back and the heartbreak of having to say goodbye to that visitor when it has to go home. Really, the only thing missing is Neil Diamond singing "Turn On Your Heartlight." There's a little Escape to Witch Mountain in there, too, but I don't know anyone under 30 who remembers that movie.
And You're Still Thinking, "OK, But What's a Mimzy?" It comes from this:
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
That's from the nonsense poem "Jabberwocky," which is part of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. In turn, it became the 1943 short story called "Mimsy Were the Borogroves," and the movie is an adaptation. See, even its origins are complicated.