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Friday, October 7, 2011

Mimic: The Director's Cut Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by: Jami Ferguson

When I agreed to review this film I thought I knew what I was asking for.  I expected a film starring Penelope Anne Miller, about a creature terrorizing a museum gala.  It turns out that the movie I was thinking of is The Relic.  This was an unexpected movie, but it still turned out to be a pleasant experience despite the subject matter. Considering how much I hate bugs...it's amazing I made it through this one at all!






Film (4 out of 5 stars)

The children of Manhattan are dying slow, painful deaths.  
The "lucky" ones survive only to have a lifetime ahead of them in leg braces.  All this pain and suffering is attributed to a disease carried by the common cockroach.  Entomologist Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) is brought in to stop the epidemic.  She creates the Judas Breed, a new kind of insect whose secretions wipe out the cockroach population.  There are safeguards of course as the Judas Breed is supposed to die out as they are sterile in the lab. The Judas does its job and all seems well, at least for a while.

As we have learned from many other films, all bets are off when you release a new creature into nature.  As Ian Malcolm famously said in Jurassic Park, "life will find a way."  A couple of kids bring Susan a young Judas long after they should have died.  She and her husband, fellow CDC Peter Mann (Jeremy Northam) have to track them down before things get even worse and more people die.

Transit System Officer Charles S. Dutton assists as the scientists realize that the Judas Breed has evolved and its primary food source is humans.  They have grown to be human size and are actually able to mimic a human, walking upright, hiding in the shadows.  Giancarlo Gianinini gets involved when his grandson seeks out the creature and also goes missing.

Mimic: The Director's Cut is as close to Director Guillermo del Toro's vision for the film as we will ever see.  It’s a well directed, and thought out film.  While it's admittedly a B-movie, that didn't keep the filmmakers from thoroughly planning out all the buggy details.  The insects actually have all their working parts, and as a person afraid of bugs, it makes it that much harder to watch.  My squirming at the sights and sounds of the bugs both big and small, means the filmmakers have done their job and the bugs are more realistic than I'd like.

Video (4 out of 5 stars)

Mimic: The Director's Cut is presented in a 1080p High Definition 16x9 Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer.  The film takes place primarily in the dark, and is an intentionally gritty, grimy looking film.  For all that darkness, on the streets of New York or in the depths of the subway tunnels below, the black levels are impressive.  I did feel as though I could tell when new scenes were inserted, as that it when the black levels faltered.  I willing to bet that that a significant portion of the events in the film that occur below ground would be unrecognizable on DVD.  This is probably as good as this film is ever going to get. 


Audio (5 out of 5 stars)

Mimic: The Director's Cut is presented in an amazing DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix.  From the opening credits I began to notice all the details I was able to hear. The dialogue is clear and intelligible throughout.  I was impressed with the creepy crawly sounds, the rain, and the gunfire and explosions.  This mix does an incredible job of making you feel like you are surrounded by flying bugs and they jump all around the room.  It's easy to be immersed in the audio of this film and also a little scary if you hate bugs like I do.

Special Features (4 out of 5 stars)

The Blu-ray disc includes an impressive number and quality of special features.  I wouldn't have expected a gag reel with this type of movie, but was happy to see it and the other features on the Blu-ray disc listed below:

  • Video Prologue with director Guillermo del Toro - del Toro explains that what you are about to see is the Director's Cut - his true vision for the film.
  • Audio Commentary with director/co-writer Guillermo del Toro - Guillermo del Toro has some pretty interesting comments about his vision and getting the movie made.  He's one of the more interesting directors to listen to, and his accent was less of a problem for me than I expected.
  • Reclaiming Mimic - Guillermo del Toro talks about what he liked about the short story, and how suspense is an art.  He believes the audience should believe the movie, not understand it.  Hearing how bluntly he expresses his opinions I can easily see him butting heads with the studio execs.
  • A Leap In Evolution - A discussion of the evolution of the creatures.  Guillermo del Toro discusses his unhappiness with the leap to making the creatures cockroaches.  Others involved talk about how they went to nature to support the bug designs.
  • Back into the Tunnels - Basically a making of featurette with cast and crew.
  • Deleted scenes - Various deleted scenes and alternate ending all of which were rightly edited out in my opinion.
  • Storyboard animatics - storyboards include some of Guillermo del Toro's own artwork.
  • Gag Reel - A short clip of the actors fooling around.

Final Thoughts (4 out of 5 stars)

Whenever I am running like a scared little girl because there is a bug on my wall, someone tells me that I shouldn't be scared of things smaller than me.  Now I have the idea in my head that cockroaches are everywhere....they may have some crazy disease that could be life threatening to my preschool aged son...and if that isn't enough to keep me up at night, now I've seen how they could also be six feet tall and have the ability to mimic humans!  Thanks Guillermo del Toro....I didn't need any of those thoughts in my head!  


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