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|Index||166 reviews in total|
After a devastating disease traced back to New York City's cockroach
population is eliminated by using a genetically engineered superbug
that wiped out the roach population, it seems that everyone--especially
the previously affected kids--is in the clear. That is, until one of
the superbugs--which were supposed to be infertile and have a short
lifespan--shows up in the subway system years later, larger and nastier
Take 1950s "nature run amok" horror/sci-fi, combine it with Alien (1979), add in the production design sensibilities found in Alien 3 (1992), set it in the "modern day" New York City subway system, and you've got Mimic. That may sound too derivative for some tastes, but I neither give points for originality nor subtract them for a lack of originality. All that matters to me is that a film works on its own terms, and Mimic, despite a couple small flaws, is very effective.
Those couple small flaws include that you have to pay a lot of attention during the beginning if you want to catch all of the backstory--it moves by very quickly, with pertinent information frequently mumbled or given in the background, and some of the attack scenes are a bit too dark and cut to simulate a whirling dervish.
The biggest asset is the production design. Mimic has a delicious horror atmosphere that you could cut with a knife. Of course it's easy to achieve cringe-worthy moments when the screen is filled with bugs and characters are crawling down (and in some cases living in) dingy subway tunnels, but almost every shot in the film has a similar effect. Gloom, decay and disturbing, unidentifiable biological masses are the visual themes. The creature designs are fantastic, with the "mimicking" design being the most impressive.
Of course, the plot is somewhat predictable, and the "don't tamper with nature" subtext is as conspicuous here as it was in Frankenstein (1931), but predictability isn't a flaw here, and Frankenstein was a masterpiece. Mimic has an absorbing story, with likable characters and suspense to spare.
With a continuous build-up of suspense and terror, watching this film you never really know whether or not any of the leading protagonists will make it out alive. The science fiction story line is almost convincing enough to make parts of the plot seem possible. F. Murray Abraham has an outstanding guest role and gets to deliver the best lines in the film. Despite criticism directed towards her, I felt Mira Sorvino was also quite good and believable in her role. The direction of Guillermo Del Toro is tight and well-paced. The only real criticism I have is there are a few too many convenient chance meetings and a few too many instances of people being in the right (or wrong) place at the right time. Also I felt the movie was just a little too quick in unveiling its mystery.
I must confess I'm not a big fan of these type of movies, but since Mira Sorvino was in it, and John Sayles and Steven Soderburgh both worked on the script, I thought I'd give it a shot. This was actually pretty good, because they paid attention to the science without becoming clinical about it, and it was more interesting and credible than I expected (then again, science was never my subject). The second half of the movie is pretty much a chase movie, but that's well done for the most part, though Charles S. Dutton wears out his welcome pretty quickly in a thankless role. Sorvino is as good as I expected.
The idea of a film featuring genetically modified humanoid insects stalking
the streets of New York makes me believe it would have a long shelf life -
It`d spend a long time on a shelf waiting for a distributor , but MIMIC was
far better than I expected . Director Guillermo Del Toro rightly
concentrates on mood and atmosphere and also deserves a mention for making
sure the cast didn`t camp the film up because it`s the sort of film that`s
difficult for actors to believe in but everyone on screen takes it
absolutely seriously . The screenwriters also deserve some praise for taking
a ludicurous premise ( Remember we`re talking humanoid insects here ) and
writing a story that makes you forget you`re watching something laughably
far fetched . We also get to learn that soldier insects have to be killed
stone dead in order to stop fighting and that insects take their pray to an
underground lair to be eaten so the audience learns something about both
insects and how to telegraph a script . My only criticism about the
screenplay is that it does feel rather like an ALIENS type movie towards the
end but that`s a very minor criticism .
So I fairly enjoyed MIMIC . It`s not as good as QUATERMASS AND THE PIT which is the greatest film to have the underground transport system as its setting but it`s a whole lot better than other subway or bug movies
Just like the giant cockroaches in the movie mimic their predators (humans), director Guillermo Del Toro mimics David Fincher's style in "Seven": gimmicky opening credits, excessively dark photography, constant rain, claustrophobic atmosphere. Nonetheless, it is his superior craftsmanship and visual sense that elevates this otherwise standard, conventional monster movie into an above-average standard, conventional monster movie. He is helped, of course, by a capable cast (Mira Sorvino holds her own as the lead), and by the impressively designed creatures, which look much better than the monsters in some more recent horror films. (**1/2)
In New York a disease carried by cockroaches threatens to wipe out a whole
generation of children. A scientist, Susan Tyler, breeds a new bug that
mimics the cockroach and wipes out the disease. However years later
something is living in New York's subways that looks human. Tyler suspects
that her breed has not died out but has evolved to imitate it's natural
predator - us. Her investigations into the subway lead her to more than she
This is an atmospheric thriller from Guillermo del Toro, director of The Devil's Backbone and Cronos. He manages to mix great director with good old fashioned monster horror to great effect. The concept itself is clever, even if the idea of bugs evolving to look very like humans is a little far fetched. However, once the action moves to the subway the fact that the bugs are clearly lethal no matter what they look like, makes this less important. The film is quite short and makes the action come quicker and seem more urgent. Several people get killed by the bug that wouldn't usually get killed in this sort of horror (children for example), this is very effective as it is quite scary to see the unexpected happen.
The mood is dark throughout and Del Toro uses the sewers and subway to great effect, creating a real sense of claustrophobia - like the humans have entered the bug's world and not the other way round. The bugs are shown early on in the film - usually not a good idea (keep it hidden in the Jaws way), but here the special effects are good enough to make the bug really believable. However the horror is not in seeing the bugs but in they way they hunt and kill - the fear is in what could happen. That's why seeing them doesn't take anything away.
The cast are great, Sorvino especially is very good in the lead. Jeremy Northam and Charles S. Dutton are good in support and Abraham Murray adds a bit of cameo class (though his role is quite unnecessary). But the director is the real star adding some genuine scares and real mood to a film that could have easily been just another creature-feature that goes straight to video and straight to the back of your mind.
Overall a superior creature horror film.
What happened to Guillermo Del Toro? On the strength of his first
foreign "indie" feature *Cronos*, and then this minor masterwork (his
first foray into Hollywood), one was expecting great things from this
director. Lately, however, he's doing hack-work on things like *Blade
2*. Whatever -- Hollywood, I guess.
In the meantime, please check out *Mimic*, if you haven't already. Yeah yeah, sure sure, it owes a lot to *Alien* (visually), *Invasion of the Body Snatchers* (thematically), and even Fincher's *Seven* (visually again). But then, those movies owe a lot to their OWN influences: indeed, science fiction is a pretty incestuous genre, with surprisingly few innovations, at least in cinema. It's enough of a pleasure to watch a guy do this type of thing correctly, which is to say, he puts his own vision and concerns to great use. This movie, like all great genre pictures, exists comfortably in two spheres: on the simple level, it speedily entertains as a gory fright film imbued with mordant humor; on the more difficult level, it provides symbolism and thematic undertow. Best of all, these two levels often work at the same time, such as when an old priest gets tossed off a building by one of the creatures, plummeting past a neon "JESUS SAVES" sign, and crashing to a gory death on the pavement. A little while later, the creature drags the dead body into the gaping black maw of an open sewer.
The corpse is gone, forever. JESUS SAVES--? Not really, I guess: not in Del Toro's world of relentless survivalism and hyper-competitive reproduction.
For the latter is what *Mimic* is really "about": the importance of breeding and offspring. The movie's surreal opening, with its rows of linen-canopied hospital beds all in a row like so many little coffins, shows us sick children, gasping for air because a cockroach-borne disease is carrying them off. The battle lines are drawn in the first few moments: Us versus Them. The casualties thus far are our most precious commodity: our kids. Cutie-pie "scientists" Mia Sorvino and Jeremy Northam glean the cure for the dread disease by concocting a genetically-altered bug whose secretions kill off the diseased cockroaches. But this "Judas Breed", as it's called, will be the only true breed this couple will engender: Sorvino fails pregnancy tests at home, while their creature -- supposedly unable to reproduce -- grows apace underneath Manhattan's fallopian sewers. Which, by the way, are strewn with the rapidly-developing creatures' eggs. It merely seems like "Nature's Way" that the Judas Breed has mutated to the size of six feet, and can mimic standing upright like their ultimate "prey", Man -- even sporting a man-like face as a sort of cover that splits apart at will, revealing the Bug Within. It's also fitting that these creatures instinctively hone in on the vulnerability of children: they viciously rip apart two kids, and befriend another who has managed to communicate with them by clicking soup-spoons together. (Perhaps they consider the little bugger might be a possible playmate for their own offspring, while they wait for him to get big enough to eat.)
Del Toro ties in his reproductive symbolism with religious motifs. ("Judas Breed.") The bugs, for instance, desecrate an old Catholic church in the city . . . but then, they're helped in this by the humans, who have barred entry to the church and have covered up the wooden saint statues with cobwebby plastic covering. Humanity, playing God by "giving birth" to unhallowed creatures, unwittingly colludes in its own extinction by denying God, to say nothing of the aforementioned curse of sterility. I've already covered the fate of the priest. There's much more, including Charles Dutton's physical sufferings that amount to a sort of mini-Passion, as well as another character's use of a pseudo-stigmata to kill one of the creatures.
But the best pleasures reside squarely in the thrills and fun of the thing. If nothing else, the scene in which a Judas Breed reveals itself to a running-away Sorvino -- running after her, scooping her up, and then flying off into the dark subway tunnel -- justifies the rest of the film's symbolic mumbo-jumbo. Speaking of Sorvino: quibble about her inadequacy all you want, but she's pretty (when not covered in bug-guts), and in any case Dutton's heroic performance cancels out the bimbo factor. Dutton gives his all in this film. Luckily for him and us, the film is more than worthy of his efforts.
If you look at the review comments on this film you generally get either
very negative or very positive comments. In other words the reviewers fall
into two different camps. Those who don't like Mimic and dismiss it often
compare it to Aliens. Some of these people complain about the plot and
acting in negative ways. Those who like this movie, talk about the wonderful
visuals, the brooding atmosphere, the superb artwork. If you pay attention
to the art in film you will like this movie. Mimic succeeds in capturing the
feeling and atmosphere of really good sf books which is rarely translate
with much success to movies.
Unlike most horror/sci-fi flicks Mimic has an intelligent protagonist, a woman scientist, who uses her head, and displays more courage and good sense than any of the men in the movie. Sure there are some silly gimmicks in Mimic, but overall the plot is far more logical than virtually every so called science fiction movie made in Hollywood. In any case the music, sounds, effect, the sets and the insects are superbly done. I give it 10 out of 10 for its genre.
I realize that there have been LOTS of giant bug movies made, but there have been very few that have had a combination of great acting and superior special effects. This movie has both and throw in a lot of suspense. There are great moments in this movie that it seems passed most people by. No, it wasnt a big money maker(I honestly dont remember it hitting the theaters)but it is tremendous movie. Some didnt like the ending, but I did. I came to like these characters so much that I wanted them to survive. Thats a tribute to the actors for creating interesting characters. By comparison to other movies of this kind, I would say it belongs in the top five. If Aliens is counted as a 'bug' movie, I feel it is on top and I would put the 50's ant movie Them up there, too. Mimic belongs there, without question. It deserves so much more than the ratings Ive seen on here. Its a 9 out of 10 in my book.
With "Cronos" being immensely popular among horror-loving audiences, its Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro was quickly offered a reasonable budget and an adequate crew to shoot his very first US film. The result was "Mimic"; a surprisingly ordinary Sci-Fi thriller that balances between an "Alien" rip-off and a typically 70's creature feature. It's not a bad film and definitely one of the best achievements of the weak 90's decade, but it lacks something special, something exclusive to make it truly memorable and/or an absolute genre favorite. The film revolves on a deadly plague of genetically manipulated cockroaches and the mimicking of the title reverts to the scientific fact (apparently) that certain insects physically 'imitate' their natural enemies. What I really appreciated about the film is the whole background-story why Dr. Susan Tyler tampered with the DNA of cockroaches in the first place! No deranged scientists messing with Mother Nature's creations to boost up their own egos this time, as the genetically altered cockroaches exterminated the carriers of a disastrous epidemic that nearly killed an entire generation of New York children. Only, the new & stronger roaches refused to die afterwards... Three years later, the species moved itself up a couple of places in the food chain and lurks its human pray in the subway tunnels beneath the city. "Mimic" eventually disappoints because of the shoddy special effects and some hopelessly muddled sub plots. A boy obsessed with shoes? Dubious 12-year-old merchants?? The impenetrably dark subway-setting hasn't got anything original to offer and there sure are scarier monsters than man-sized cockroaches. Del Toro's directing is occasionally very stylish, especially during the atmospheric opening sequences with the aforementioned eerie epidemic, and Mira Sorvino is truly good as the lead heroine. Good supportive cast, too, with F. Murray Abraham ("Amadeus", "The Name of the Rose"), Giancarlo Giannini ("Black Belly of the Tarantula") and Norman Reedus in his (very small) debut role.
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