As far as creature features go, Mimic is a well made movie, but little more than that. The characters are fairly one-dimensional despite the attempts in fleshing them out, though it was enough to give reason for at least the two main something to fight for. The effects and creature designs aren’t anything spectacular yet still evoke enough fear to give them weight and danger.
Genre(s): Horror, Suspense/Thriller
Lionsgate | Unrated – 112 min. – $19.99 | September 27, 2011
Directed by: Guillermo Del Toro
Writer(s): Donald A. Wollheim (original story); Matthew Robbins & Guillermo Del Toro (screen story), Matthew Robbins & Guillermo Del Toro (screenplay)
Cast: Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin, F. Murray Abraham, Charles S. Dutton
Theatrical Release Date: August 22, 1997
Features: Commentary, Intro, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Storyboard Animatics, Gag Reel, Theatrical Trailer, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Disc Size: 42.9 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
The Hollywood process has always been intriguing, especially when studios decide to step in and take over re-editing a movie to their liking with a cut that will, they think, have a wider appeal for audiences thus maximizing on the box office intake. However, unless the director was a colossal screw-up (who would be blamed for that?) this rarely results in success and often, if the movie has any sort of following, fans will scream for the director’s original vision. The latest is Mimic: The Director’s Cut, which is as close to what director Guillermo Del Toro intended; the original version apparently had the studio adding cheap jump scares.
Mimic opens a horrific outbreak in New York City that is killing children in the city but there is hope to stop it with a genetically altered insect, named the Judas Breed, created by entomologist Dr. Susan Tyler (MIRA SORVINO), that carries some sort of enzyme in its system that will take will exterminate the cockroach population which is the carrier of the disease.
Fast forward three years later and apparently everything is back to normal. Dr. Tyler is married to CDC agent Peter Mann (JEREMY NORTHAM) whom she worked with before. However, when people are disappearing in the tunnels, Susan, Peter and fellow agent Josh (JOSH BROLIN) investigate and discover that the Judas Breed Susan created is in fact still around and mimicking its environment and has grown exponentially making itself a danger to society. Now together, along with transit cop Leonard (CHARLES S. DUTTON), they explore the city’s underground and find that the deadly insect is hunting them and, in a shocking revelation, it can even mimic human beings… well, sort of, so long as the thing has a hoodie on and remains in larger cities, otherwise it would stand out in a place like Des Moines or some rural town. Despite that, the group surmises the insects are grouping to take over the region… somehow integrating.
Guilermo Del Toro’s Mimic is actually not a bad film as creature features go. Del Toro manages to provide some fantastic and dark atmosphere mainly to leave the creatures in the darkness, thus more mysterious (not unlike what Scott/Cameron did with the Alien movies) and of course scarier. In regards to this “Director’s Cut”, you can find what was added and removed on the Internet so I won’t run it down here, but from what I recall about the theatrical cut that I watched a few years ago, I would say both are probably equal in different ways, though I do give the edge to this cut.
Now the nuts and bolts of the film: the cast all provide solid performances, albeit nothing outstanding or noteworthy. Mira Sorvino – who won a Golden Globe and Oscar for Mighty Aphrodite only two years earlier – is good as the core human character playing both a smart and feisty character.
However, Sorvino is a football field away from those who have come before like Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis thanks in part to a script, co-written by Del Toro, that placed the hero onus on the male main character played by Jeremy Northam. I don’t have an issue with going the clichéd route here but it could’ve been better handled especially with an anti-climatic and kind of ho-hum ending.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5
Video Prologue (1:05; HD) – Co-Writer/Director Guillermo Del Toro gives an intro on this director’s cut and what it offers the viewer.
Audio Commentary – Del Toro provides an enticing and fascinating commentary on The Director’s Cut and goes into the storytelling and all around filmmaking techniques including the main title design was inspired by Se7en. Anyone who has heard Del Toro on other commentaries will love this track as well as he doesn’t narrate what’s going on on-screen.
Reclaiming Mimic (14:31; HD) is another new featurette covering what this new cut brings and how it was restored to as close to Del Toro’s vision as possible. He also goes into his inspiration for the story and his philosophy on suspense. It’s a good featurette and an honest one as he blasts the Hollywood process and, specifically, the “rules” of a movie.
A Leap in Evolution (9:35; SD) is an older featurette covering the creature designs for Mimic going from sketches to full design and costumes keeping it as real as possible.
Back into the Tunnels: The Making of Mimic (5:22; SD) is a simple, and from the looks, even older featurette with behind-the-scenes footage and on-set interviews with the cast and crew.
Deleted Scenes (5:11; SD) – Here we get three scenes removed for whatever reason including an alternate ending. There’s nothing special about any of them and the alternate ending felt a bit clunky, though it’s not a whole lot different except for a tease that the creatures are still around and amongst the humans.
This release also contains six Storyboard Animatics (6:04; SD), a Gag Reel (2:20; SD) and a separate Digital Copy disc.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Mimic flutters and kills its way onto Blu-ray presented in its original 1.85 widescreen presentation. As you can imagine, the movie is fairly dark throughout since a good chunk takes place underground with dark corners able to hide the creatures and aside from an abundant amount of noise, I thought this was a half-decent 1080p HD transfer. Colors are muted but that was no doubt the director’s intentions, so while it might not make for a stunning transfer, it’s still probably better than DVD.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
Lionsgate has given this catalogue title a robust and even-keeled 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. You get a good array of sampling from clear dialogue levels to the various action scenes and creature sounds along with human blood-curdling screams. It’s an impressive and immersive lossless track that might not be the best I’ve heard but still is strong especially for a 14 year old movie.
OVERALL – 3.75/5
Overall, as far as creature features go, Mimic is a well made movie, but little more than that. The characters are fairly one-dimensional despite the attempts in fleshing them out, though it was enough to give reason for at least the two main something to fight for. The effects and creature designs aren’t anything spectacular yet still evoke enough fear to give them weight and danger. In regards to the Blu-ray, it’s a solid transfer with a fantastic audio track to go along with a few decent features, though as usual, the commentary is top notch.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.