If The Last Mimzy proves nothing else, it is that Robert Shaye should stick to his day job. Shaye co-founded New Line Cinema 40 years ago, and in that time he has presided over such lucrative franchises as A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Lord of the Rings; in fact, it was Shaye's idea to produce three films based on Tolkien's magnum opus, rather than the two that Peter Jackson had been fighting for. (The other studio that Jackson had been dealing with wanted to condense the entire story down to one movie.) So, credit where credit is due. Fantasy fans owe him a lot.
But just because Shaye has the power of life and death over films made by other people, it doesn't necessarily follow that he would be a good filmmaker himself. As it is, Shaye has directed only two feature films in his entire career. The first was a romantic comedy called Book of Love that came out 17 whole years ago. The other is The Last Mimzy, an exceedingly loopy children's sci-fi story that evokes memories of E.T., 2001: A Space Odyssey, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence, but is probably closer in spirit to the half-baked techno-mysticism of What the Bleep Do We Know?.
The film begins in what looks like the future, with a teacher and her students sitting in a circle in the bright, beautiful, environmentally pure outdoors. The teacher invites her students to "tune in" as she "shows" them a story telepathically, and after a narrative lurch or two, we find ourselves in the present day. The story concerns two young siblings, Noah Wilder (Chris O'Neil) and his kid sister Emma (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn), who discover a mysterious box when they play on the beach during their Easter vacation. Inside the box are various "toys," including a doll that looks like an old-fashioned ...1