Saturday, December 18, 2010

Peter... They have lungs!

Is it possible to review a movie that you've seen a whole bunch of times to the point where you might not be objective anymore and still call it a "review"?

I think Mimic (1997) is a great film. It marks Guillermo Del Toro's first foray into English-language/Hollywood films. It was also a brief but glorious time when Mira Sorvino was fresh off her Oscar win and could have picked any movie in the world. And she picked Mimic which is now an oft cited movie in the Supporting Actress Winner curse (see also: Marisa Tomei). She followed this up with Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion which is a movie I love more than I should... but I digress.

Mimic takes place in New York (or Toronto if you squint hard enough) where cockroaches are spreading a deadly disease and wiping out the city's child population. Dr. Susan Tyler (Sorvino) creates a bug called the Judas Breed that is designed to infiltrate and kill the disease spreading bugs. Since the engineered the bugs are all male they will survive just long enough to do their job then die. And it works!!!

Fuck yeah, Dr. Susan Tyler!!!

But the revelry is short lived as F. Murray Abraham give Dr. Tyler the "I told you so look" 

Dr. Tyler soon discover that you can't tamper with nature ... because...'s the moral of the movie or something.

They start out all small. 

 Then they get big. And mean. And they mimic us because of a survival instinct. YOU MADE THEM TOO PERFECT, SUSAN!!! It's crazy, they even have lungs and stuff. 

So a rag tag group goes in search of them and winds up trapped in a subway car beneath the city. 
They get progressively dirty and bicker and fight off several attacks from the bugs. 

 Then the ending happens. To be fair, it's pretty predictable if not a bit silly. But it's a great creature-feature. You can see the beginnings of Del Toro's style evolving which is interesting enough in and of itself and the whole thing is well-cast. It's defintely a B-Movie but it does it successfully. If you don't concern yourself too much with logic the whole thing is a fun affair. 

Mimic also marks the first and only time I've ever had respect for Mira Sorvino. As told in Peter Biskind's great book Down And Dirty In Motion Pictures, Harvey Weinstein (who's company Miramax produced the film) flew in to Toronto to sort out the production that was in shambles. Del Toro had never worked with a major studio and Weinstein was a about to replace him with someone more experienced mid-way through the shoot. Sorvino stepped in and they had a screaming match in the lobby of the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto. Sorvino kept saying (apparently) "If Guillermo leaves, I leave." Weinstein was loathed to lose what he considered his box-office draw and let Del Toro finish the picture, though Weinstein took a heavy hand to it in the editing bay. 

Unfortunately, Weinstein went all Judas Breed on Sorvino's career which is why she doesn't have one. And no, I don't consider her Lifetime movie about Human Trafficking a career. No matter how awesome her hat is.

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