Mimic is one of those films I have always meant to get round to watching, not least because it stars the achingly gorgeous Mira Sorvino in the lead role, and it also highlights the time when she was the darling of Hollywood for a few years, leading high-profile movies such as Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and The Replacement Killers.
The basis of the film is that there’s a genetic engineering experiment which has gone seriously wrong, here with the power to mimic and destroy everything in its path and bring a city to its knees since something so powerful has been created that it’s taken on a life of its own.
Cockroaches are carrying something called “Strickler’s Disease” and so Dr Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) announces that they’ve created a special “Judas” breed of roach that will wipe out the rest of the cockroaches and that this will sort out the disease for good, not least because their breed will only last a generation and so will die out, itself, within six months. Easy peasy, yes? Well… not quite.
Tension builds up nicely when some kids bring what they call a ‘weird bug’ to Susan’s attention, one that manages to shake not only the huge Corn Flakes box it’s in, but also shake her nerves as it gives her a shock when she tries to bring it out. Then throw into the mix a very weird man, of sorts, always creeping about in the shadows bringing about death and/or mayhem to proceedings. And, finally, the revelation that the aforementioned bug was a baby one of her Judas breed and that three years have passed since they were originally released, so despite them being bred as sterile adults, somehow… they’re breeding…
I don’t know what stopped Sorvino being such a draw for the Hollywood bigwigs as she performs perfectly adequately here, and there’s also good support from Brit actor Jeremy Northam as her forensic better half, Dr Peter Mann, Josh Brolin as the imaginatively-named Josh and Charles S. Dutton as cop Leonard. Oh, and F. Murray Abraham turns up with a dodgy haircut to pontificate on whether Susan should’ve created the Judas breed in the first place.
What makes the Judas breed bugs particularly creepy for me is that they make exactly the same sound as the antlion bugs do from Half Life 2.
Okay, so the game came out after the film, but I’ve experienced them the other way round so that’s why they have extra special resonance.
With shades of the Alien saga, this is daft but entertaining nonsense, but at nearly two hours, it does overstay its welcome. Too much of it is in the dark, making it difficult to see what’s going on a lot of the time. Add to that, there’s an intensely annoying kid amongst the cast. This is a big no-no for directors. Well, in my book at least. He constantly plays the spoons, which although it bears some relevance to the plot, it still becomes a massive irritation.
Presented in the original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the picture looks perfectly fine when you can see what’s going on, as described previously. The problems are either when too much is in darkness or, a lot of the time, it just doesn’t feel as sharp and detailed as a Blu-ray disc should. That could be because it’s not given a chance due to the lighting, but while I’d therefore say that a Blu-ray presentation isn’t essential based on this transfer, there’s no other way you’re going to get the director’s cut of this film.
Audio-wise, the film is presented in DTS 7.1 HD Master Audio (for which I have a DD5.1 setup) and does all the necessary perfectly well whether it’s gunshots, atmosphere or directional sound effects. There are many more memorable movie audio tracks, however.
The extras are as follows:
- Video prologue with director Guillermo del Toro (1:05): The man introduces the Blu-ray director’s cut.
- Reclaiming Mimic (14:31): The director talks about the film and the suspense within, but with a lack of subtitles and his droning on, it soon becomes extremely boring.
- A Leap in Evolution: The Creatures of Mimic (9:35): This featurette shows some sketches and storyboard images, as well as how they settled on choosing cockroaches rather than beetles, and we also see the working models they used.
- Back into the Tunnels: The Making of Mimic (5:22): Not a particularly insightful segment, here, as it’s just very brief soundbites from all key cast members plus mumbling del Toro, all mixed with on-set footage.
- Deleted scenes (5:11): Two plus an alternate ending. The ending is slightly better than what we got in the film, but the two deleted scenes aren’t worth putting back in.
- Storyboard Animatics (6:04): Six of them here, for the same number of scenes in the film. They do the job if you want additional information about the film’s creation.
- Gag reel (2:20): Actors ‘corpse’ amongst the grim background.
- Audio commentary: with director Guillermo del Toro.
The menus feature the same brief piece of musical score going round and round and round, which soon requires the mute button. Chaptering is far from great with just 16 across the 112-minute film. On the plus side, there are subtitles in English.
Running time: 112 minutes
Date of release: October 31st 2011
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Producer: Ole Bornedal, B.J. Rack and Bob Weinstein
Screenplay: Matthew Robbins and Guillermo del Toro (from a short story by Donald A. Wollheim)
Music: Marco Beltrami
Dr. Susan Tyler: Mira Sorvino
Dr. Peter Mann: Jeremy Northam
Leonard: Charles S. Dutton
Josh: Josh Brolin
Manny: Giancarlo Giannini
Chuy: Alexander Goodwin
Remy: Alix Koromzay
Dr. Gates: F. Murray Abraham
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.