Some movies simply don’t work. The reason why is often far more interesting than the films themselves. Mimic is not one of Guillermo del Toro’s best, and he is clearly not happy with it. Here he shows his director’s cut, which he still has problems with.
Mimic tells the story of a woman and husband who breed a special type of cockroach in order to kill the normal ones, which were spreading a disease killing children. Many years later it appears that these new cockroaches have evolved and ARE NOW A THREAT TO HUMANITY! The story is nothing new and is B-movie territory, something del Toro apparently wanted to avoid.
The film is not a disaster by any means. It looks nice and is colourful, which suits the Blu-Ray copy, and there are some terrific sequences, most notably the moments of violence. The most memorable features a dog and two children being massacred by a giant cockroach: del Toro had apparently been told that these sorts of victims are off limits and so purposely put them both in one scene. This is when he is at his bravest, most entertaining and seemingly free from the constraints of the moneymen.
There are many problems with the film. The CGI has dated terribly. There is a big predictability factor and the central performances aren’t entirely convincing. Mira Sorvino is too pretty to be a bug expert. Her hair and nails are far too nice. Jeremy Northam, who is a terrific actor, is miscast as her husband. He whispers almost all his lines. If you met him in real life it would be particularly frustrating; “Hi I’m Harry what’s your name?” “My name is Dr Peter Mann” “I’m sorry I didn’t quite get that” “My name is Peter” “I’m having a really hard time hearing you.” “Peter!”
“What’s your fucking problem?” Of course this is not how any of the scenes go.
So the film is disappointing. However, watching del Toro’s introduction you begin to understand that something is amiss. You can see his doubt and frustration. He states how he has taken out all the second unit work (apart from one scene) and so now, if you don’t like the film, you can blame him and him alone. This is a fascinating insight but it is also one of the problems with the disc: Guillermo del Toro is too nice. In the documentaries and audio commentaries he never names names or points a finger. He explains that producers highjacked his film but won’t elaborate. The Weinsteins were some of the producers and we hear little about them. It is frustrating because you want to hear in more detail how it went wrong. It is still interesting to hear his original intentions and how his film mutated, much like the bugs, into something he was not completely proud of, even though he says he is. We hear how he wanted scarabs not cockroaches, how the film was much darker in tone and how the ending was far more menacing. We even hear casting problems; who he originally wanted for Northam’s part and even how there was a two month long discussion whether the character should wear glasses. The story of its making is far more interesting than the film. Alien 3’s DVD had similarly engrossing special features but, instead of Fincher, it was the producers who were explaining their choices. On Batman and Robin we hear Batman’s greatest villain, Joel Schumacher, saying how company men, who wanted merchandise, interfered, resulted in his movie being a disaster (methinks there was more to it than that). The problem with the Mimic disc is that there aren’t enough special features and the ones that are there don’t go into enough depth.
This is an average film. The story behind it is far more intriguing but is not told in full detail due to the politeness of del Toro, making the Blu-Ray simply OK.
- Video prologue with Guillermo Del Toro
- Audio commentary with Guillermo Del Toro
- ‘Reclaiming Mimic featurette
- ‘A Leap In Evolution – The Creatures of Mimic’ featurette
- ‘Back Into The Tunnels – Shooting Mimic’ featurette
- Deleted scenes
- Storyboard animatics
- Gag reel
- Theatrical Trailer