3 Stars – Challenging

Robert Shaye’s ingenious tale of “The Last Mimzy” is paradoxically complex.  Presented in the genre of a children’s story where a young brother and sister are the central characters, the issues however are mature.  From the science of time travel and genetic engineering, to the environmental message that humans are poisoning ourselves,  to the religious message that truth comes through the symbols of Buddhism, the film has a clear set of agendas and requires a mature mind to sift through these.  Nevertheless, “The Last Mimzy” is a compelling tale of a warm and loving family.  It is a tale of discovery and adventure in which the future of humanity depends on the actions of two young children. It is a tale of national security and alien fears.  It is a tale of faith and belief and sacrifice.  It is a tale well told.

The heroes of our tale are Noah and Emma Wilder (Chris O’Neil and Rhiannon Leigh Wryn).  The young children of David and Jo Wilder (Timothy Hutton and Joely Richardson), Noah and Emma are outcasts from their classmates.  This common feature of a children’s story sets them up for a natural isolation when they discover a special box on the beach while on Spring break on an island in the Seattle sound.  It is a box sent from the future.

In the future, humans have so poisoned the world that they must wear protective suits which give them the appearance of aliens. The poisoning is so extensive that it has mutated human DNA into a terminal illness.

This is the first of the themes and creates the need for a savior.  Rather than the Christian message that the human struggle is caused by a spiritual failure and our Savior must transform us spiritually, in this message children are being told that the problem is environmental and our savior must transform our genes.  And the savior of this tale is a brilliant scientist in the future who creates an artificial life form called “Mimzy” who is sent to us to save us. 

This hasn’t been the first time.  Mimzy explains to Emma that there have been many “Mimzys” sent back into history, but no one was able to figure out why. This is the last chance people in the future have.

This is where the tale ties into the Tibetan Buddhism and the Sacred Geometric drawings called Mandala.  Teaching the children is Noah’s intuitive jr. high science teacher Larry White (Rainn Wilson) and his Buddhist-meditating girlfriend Naomi Schwartz (Kathryn Hahn).  Explaining that the Mandala are believed to be maps of the universe, the implication is that these drawings created to focus a persons meditation somehow provide the path to healing the future.

Though we won’t spoil the way all of this comes together, it is an endearing tale which catches the imagination and implants the film’s agendas.  It is a tale of a savior and a faith to save us, but that is both its strength and its challenge.



  1. All religions weave their beliefs into stories because some truths are impossible to describe any other way.  These stories are often allegorical.  What do you believe this film will encourage people to believe? 
  2. The statement that humans can not travel in time so the Scientist Savior created an artificially intelligent bunny to do so for him, is not the usual science fiction.  Do you believe humans would be able to survive time travel?  Why or why not.
  3. Films such as this assume that human beings need salvation.  Do you believe that to be true?  If so, what do you believe we need to be saved from?  Who can save us from that?
Posted on June 1, 2011 and filed under 3 STARS, CHALLENGING.