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3.0 out of 5 stars "Evolution has a way of keeping things alive", 24 July 2011
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This review is from: Mimic [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Dr. Susan Tyler is an entomologist, who along with her future husband Dr. Peter Mann have created a new breed of insect. There's a disease that's carried by cockroaches that's killing the children of Manhattan, so they've created a new breed of insect that secretes a fluid that kills cockroaches. They were designed to die off after one generation, but 3 years later they haven't died, they've mutated into giant sized insects that can mimic humans. It's now up to Susan, Peter, a few members of their team, a cop who had to act as a guide and a shoe shine worker whose son wandered off to stop them.

Mimic doesn't have any major stars, what it does have is a group of great actors who are here because of ability and not looks. Oscar winner Mira Sorvino is good as Susan, she shows a great range of emotions. Jeremy Northam is fine as her husband Peter, he did everything he had to do well without wowing me. Where Mimic is excellent is the supporting cast, there's Charles S. Dutton as Leonard the cop/reluctant guide. Oscar nominees Giancarlo Giannini and Josh Brolin give very good performances, and oscar winner F. Murray Abraham has a small role as Dr. Gates.

It was Guillermo Del Toro's first American movie as director, and his stylish, dark, creative imprint is all over it. Del Toro actually disowned the movie as he felt Bob Weinstein had interfered too much during filming, constantly coming to the set and insisting scenes be shot differently or even completely changed. This upset Del Toro enough that he didn't direct another film for 4 years, and that was the superb Devil's Backbone made back at home in Mexico/Spain where he had total creative control. He did return to America again the year later to direct Blade 2, the best of the series and the Hellboy films.

After the opening 40-45 minutes, the rest of the movie is set underground, beneath a subway station. Any fans of Del Toro will be used to the underground scenes as they appear in most of his movies, the visuals are superb and the dark tunnels are creepy and atmospheric. The giant insects are kept in the shadows for most of the movie, we do get to see them more clearly as the movie reaches it's climax. The $25,000,000 budget ensured that the effects were going to be good, and there's some fantastic set pieces. There's no nudity and very little gore, but there are several gross scenes involving the insects.

Mimic is a really good creature feature, essentially a very intelligent, expensive, well acted, brilliantly directed b-movie. I wouldn't hesitate to give Mimic 4 stars, but i'm not just reviewing the film, i'm reviewing the dvd. The picture quality is pretty good, but there's no extras at all. There's English subtitles only, and scene selection. The complete lack of extras is probably because Del Toro disowned it, his movies normally have excellent extras and i'd have loved a commentary for Mimic.

Mimic is similar in ways to The Relic that was made in the same year, studios quite often release very similar films around the same time that seem like the same script reworked. The Relic and Mimic both 1997. Armageddon and Deep Impact both 1998. The Illusionist and The Prestige both 2006. Mission To Mars and Red Planet both 2000. Dante's Peak and Volcano both 1997. Mimic is better than The Relic, but that's well worth checking out if you enjoy this.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Aug 2012 10:07:10 BDT
mister joe says:
Always get Relic and Mimic confused.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Aug 2012 17:04:13 BDT
West25 says:
It took me years of watching both of them to finally get comfortable in seperating them, very similar type of films. Both good.

Posted on 23 Feb 2013 00:21:45 GMT
Last edited by the author on 23 Feb 2013 00:26:26 GMT
It's interesting, but I prefer 'Relic' just slightly to this but both are great. I could kill Del Toror for disowning this, and I love that Jeremy Northam is still proud of doing it. Many stars disown their best work, especially if it's a horror, and if they made it before being A-list. I thought 'Mimic' and 'Deep Rising' were the monster movies released together, I'd heard 'The Relic' was a full six monthe before it at least. It's funny how some people think they're all so similar. I'd love to know how you tell slashers apart from each other and cannibal/wannabee walking dead movies from each other. 'Mimic' & 'Relic' prove that when proper horror is made, the differences bewteen each are as standout as the comfortable similarities. Something that really doesn't happen with the usual human kill rubbish, though that sadly has a massive fanbase. I'l never understand the majority of people, same with their taste in music!

If Del Toro wants to be embarrassed by anything he's done, that should be the pointlessly awful 'Blade 2' and the astoundingly pretentious and irritating 'Pan's Labyrith', sadly both of these are held aloft as gold dust. Sad but true. He should revisit this. One of the best horrors of 1998, not least cos it wasn't a slasher (all that were being made at that time as 'Scream' had sadly brought them back up like vomit). Even better, it has impressive sequels. And I doubt there'll be a fourth. Unlike 'Scream' for instance, and as I write, it seems clear a '5' and '6' are going ahead. So plenty of time for Michael/Jason to reappear, and Freddy too. Yawn.

Del Toro definitely seems to be now one of the best horror directors out there and his latest in cinemas 'Mama', as the one before 'Are You Afraid Of The Dark' will now reaffirm that rep. Nobody else seems to be doing so regularly, or else has the power to. But I'll always respect those that put together stuff like 'Husk' and 'Burning Bright' cos who cares about them?

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2013 02:27:30 GMT
West25 says:
I feel that Mimic and The Relic are quite even, but I do prefer Mimic for the atmosphere and acting, i'd happily recommend either one to anyone with a passing interest in creature features. I love Deep Rising and think the fact it's set at sea on a luxury cruise liner sets it apart from the other two. The creature is very different as well, a sequel I would have liked to see is Deep Rising 2 on the island they end up on at the end. I find it quite easy to seperate slasher films like other horror films, because I love them and have normally watched the better ones several times. If somebody that isn't a horror fan had watched The Relic and The Mimic about 10 years, I wouldn't be surprised if they had no idea which one was which.

I'm kind of with Del Toro deciding to disown the film, because of studio interference, the end product was unrecognisable to him. Were it not for the fame he's gone on to have, he would probably not have got the chance to do a director's cut with the new blu-ray which includes a commentary and a feature about how he's reclaimed the film by trying to make it more like he originally intended. I'm not a huge fan of the Blade films but I think Blade 2 is comfortably the best of the three, I also happened to really like Pan's Labyrinth. I do like Cronos and The Devil's Backbone more, but I thoroughly enjoyed them all.

I'm really enjoying the films Del Toro has been producing, The Orphanage, Julia's Eyes, Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark and Mama, it's clear that he's a big horror fan and even though he doesn't really direct horror anymore, he likes to keep his hand in.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2013 02:15:39 GMT
I'm so with you about 'Deep Rising' and that's the one that got all the critical bashing typically. I loved the monster, and if it was in 'Pirates Of The Crapibbean' no one would complain!

It worries me what Del Toror wanted it to be. I think on this he was wrong to worry. Sometimes it's a good thing when creators are made to change their vision a bit. The finished project he might rankle with him, but I couldn't change it for anything. Surely if the studio were going to change anything they'd have insisted it being a slasher wouldn't they, or an action film? I'm mystified with this. So much stuff like 'Sinister', 'Dead End' and many others need complete overhauls to be even workable now. He may fear it being "too Hollywood" but 'Mimic dared to be made when such films were not deemed necessary anymore with the dubious rebirth of the slasher and the new-wave of cheats just around the corner with 'The Sixth Sense' and family. I'd be interested to see/hear his take on "how it should be", but I can happily live without a redone 'Mimic' as to me it's prefect, something comic-book adaptions of wannabee vampire films like the 'Blades' can never be. Forget 'Twilight' destroying vampires, that all started long before with 'From Dusk Till Dawn' and this stuff and now 'Underworld' completely upending the horror for stupid comic-book action theatrics and catwalk strutting.

Again, back to 'Deep Rising', there so should have been a sequel. Horror films love to end like this I know, but with this kind of thing that's fine. So unfair. I mean things like 'House On Haunted Hill' remake and even 'Sleepy Hollow got sort of sequels that no one wanted or cared about-even bleeding 'Hollow Man'!

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2013 03:34:24 GMT
West25 says:
I think even the biggest Pirates Of The Caribbean fans will admit that the series have gone down hill dramatically, Deep Rising is far better than the last couple.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the director's cut of Mimic, I just hope the blu-ray has the old version on it as well just incase I don't like the newer version as much as the version i'm used to. No matter how different it is, it'll not be the version Del Toro wanted anyway as he wasn't even allowed to shoot several of the scenes he wanted. I don't think it's ever a bad thing to have different versions of a film as long as the one we're used to remains available to us. I'm not a fan of the Underworld films at all, Beckinsale looks nice in her leather suits, but the films just didn't entertain me.

I still read the odd story about a possible Deep Rising sequel being made, but in all honesty, if it hasn't been done by now, it isn't going to be. Plus, if it did start from where the first film left off, how would it explain the characters sudden age increase. I can't imagine anyone wanted a sequel to Hollow Man, the first film didn't exactly knock it out of the park.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Mar 2013 03:25:54 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Mar 2013 03:33:05 GMT
With 'Underworld' it's too full of better films to be too matter. Not dreadful of course, but not anything really. It has the look of 'The Crow', 'The Matrix' and too many other vampire films. And the sequel is one of the worst things I've ever seen. Scott Speedman was the best thing about them all, and I never thought Bill Nighy could ever be so bad!

Shame about the 'Deep Rising' sequel-like you say, too much time has passed, but it's interesting those rumours did circulate. I could imagine those 3 characters remaining quite safely on that island all that time, they're born survivors. And Famke still looks great, I say this having just enjoyed her as the Queen Witch yesterday in 'Hansel And Gretel'. God I respect her. Along with Chloe Grace Moretz and Melissa George, she's trailblazed the most important path through horror for any actress, not least cos she professes not to like them! Classic! Yet her ratio so far is just under ten, all of which are totally different. 'Deep Rising' itself (sea-monster horror), 'Lord Of Illusions' (necromancy), 'The Faculty' (best alien film ever imho), 'House On Haunted Hill' (evil entity/ghost horror), '100 Feet' (spectre horror) and now as the ultimate witch in 'Hansel And Gretel'. That's six, my favourite number, do let me know if I've embarrassingly forgotten one. 'Hide And Seek' is a fake-horror which doesn't count, and she'd even have turned up in 'Men In Black II' but pulled out over a family death. Best of all, I've loved all her horrors on spec, except 'LOI'-it wasn't bad, but not really involving and dragged. She even made a monstrous Phoenix-Woman-cum-Demon in 'X Men: Last Stand'. I'm sure she holds the horror queen crown for best horror movies, best varied horror movies and the most of any other female, though let me know if someone's achieved more. Jamie Lee, for instance, won't count so much here cos slashers are only one type, though who knows what Chloe Grace Moretz will achieve. The amount of varied horrors she'd already done before she's even 20!!

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Mar 2013 10:20:45 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Mar 2013 10:22:15 GMT
West25 says:
Yeah, i'm a big fan of Bill Nighy but I didn't like him in the Underworld films at all. The Underworld films are exactly what's wrong with most modern horror films, too slick, too reliant on CGI and it's clearly being aimed at sexually frustrated teenage boys. I'll stick with An American Werewolf In London and The Howling.

Famke Janssen is still smoking hot at 47, it's just a bonus that she's so willing to make horror movies regularly, especially as she's got a good eye for them. It probably helps that she's Dutch and didn't have it programmed into her that horror movies are nothing more than a springboard for better films. Like i've said before, Moretz has had a great start to her career, especially in her choice of horror films. I'm sure as she gets into her late teens and early twenties, she'll do less and less horror films. Then again, she's already had more success in horror films than most actresses twice her age. I would still class Jamie Lee Curtis as the original scream queen who went on to have major success in other films. She also hasn't been afraid to step back into horror throughout her career, which is one of the reasons i'm still a fan.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Mar 2013 02:21:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Mar 2013 02:22:25 GMT
I agree, and their attempt to mix vampires with werewolves failed miserably for 'Underworld'. Not only do I echo you with sticking with 'An American Werewolf In London' (I'd also add 'Company Of Wolves', 'Silver Bullet' and 'Werewolf' to that) but also I'd stick with 'Fright Night', 'Vamp', 'Near Dark', 'The Lost Boys' and 'Near Dark' too, especially as this is supposed to be a vampire film first-off.

I'm a fan of Jamie Lee Curtis, but more for grand comedies like the astoundingly hysterical 'Drowning Mona' from 2000, which boasts the distinction of having her with Neve Campbell-the two slasher queens together) in a black comedy offing Bette Midler (the 'Hocus Pocus witch), but for me Jamie isn't quite the horror queen these two are, nor Dee Wallace Stone who deserves the real title. Jamie mainly did only slashers, 'The Fog' being about the only deviation. Dee Wallace, meanwhile chalked up 'The Hills Have Eyes', 'The Howling', 'Cujo', and 'Critters' before the 80s ended and all of them different horrors. The 90s was naturally far leaner cos of her age and the box-office trajectory of A-list trash, but she still managed the 'Alligator 2' sequel, 'The Frighteners' and the odd cameo in a newer horror film like 'Boo' but these later ones tend to be typical today stuff so not really worthwhile. I'm sure Jamie's presence would lift most slashers, but my interests are just not there for them, I can really only stand the main half a dozen. Which is a damn sight more than the pointless mythologically incorrect 'zombie' 9i.e cannibal) films that are made every 5 minutes and even worse than slashers.

When you say Jamie's stepped back to horror what do you mean. 'Virus' is the only one I know of that's half different and that was an abject failure wasn't it. I still can't even remember what it was supposed to be. Another 'Event Horizon'/'Terminator' amalgam I suppose. If you just mean the final end to 'Halloween' (thank God, yet it's hardly a return as it's something that existed), Famke is the winner-I reckon she's now overtaken Dee in film quality of horror cos I rate almost all of her horrors with a 9/10 at least. And Chloe can't be far behind, and like you said, Melissa George did wuite a good job. I'd forgotten till you'd pointed out much of what she had done.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2013 01:22:31 GMT
West25 says:
I don't really have that much time for vampire films, but when just a few of the greats are listed like Near Dark, Fright Night, Vamp and The Lost Boys, I realise just how much I like them when they're done properly. The new Fright Night, Stakeland and Daybreakers are just about the only modern vampire films i've enjoyed.

I actually didn't realise that Lee Curtis had been away from the horror genre for so long, she had also been away for quite a while before she made Halloween H20 and Virus. I actually thought Halloween H20 was by far the best Halloween sequel in a very long time even though it was too similar in tone to the Scream films, and I loved Virus but it seems to be a film that most people really didn't like. I agree with Dee Wallace, The Stepford Wives, The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, Cujo, Critters, Popcorn, Alligator 2, The Frighteners and as you say, several cameos in newer films like the Halloween remake and the excellent House Of The Devil. I really do like Melissa George, and let's not forget Radha Mitchell who has made four of five good horror films.
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