Mimic (1997) – Guillermo del Toro

del Toro has long been a favorite director, so I thought it was time to go back and visit Mimic. The film has a bit of a sordid past, not the least of which is Weinstein’s involvement, who clashed constantly with del Toro. The director swore off the film, but was finally able to give us a version closer to his vision of the film with his director’s cut.

It feels very much like an update on the science fiction giant monster movies of the 50s, adapted to use genetics instead of radioactivity, and it also showcases the wonderful Mira Sorvino, who also suffered thanks to Weinstein.

Joining Sorvino is Charles S. Dutton, Josh Brolin, Jeremy Northam, and Giancarlo Giannini, but watch for quick glimpses of Jullian Richings and Norman Reedus.

Sorvino is Susan Tyler a brilliant entomologist, who helps create a genetically altered insect, known as the Judas Breed, to wipe out cockroaches, who are carrying a disease that is turning into a pandemic killing the children of New York.

Three years later, Susan, and a CDC scientist, Peter (Northam) are married, trying for a baby, and are troubled to learn that perhaps the bug they designed to be sterile and die out after two to three months is alive, thriving, and adapted to hide from its predator, man, by mimicking them. That’s right, these bugs are huge, and they are stalking humanity.

And they are very intent on reminding us that hey, sometimes, kids die.

del Toro, as always, is a master storyteller, and he loves monsters, and darkness, and broody looking shots, and they work in this film wonderfully. Sure there are some flaws in it, but I think that has more to do with the fact that his vision couldn’t be quite as fully realized as he would have liked because of Weinstein.

I love del Toro’s monsters, and Sorvino is absolutely captivating, you really can’t take your eyes off of her. This could have been something amazing, verging on the fantastic, if del Toro had been left to create the way he wanted to.

I enjoy most of the casting in this film, but feel Northam just kind of sticks out, he doesn’t feel like he’s part of the cast, and I would have liked to have seen someone else in the role. He’s not the only fault in the film, the pacing is a little off in sequences because del Toro is working with footage that was already shot, and couldn’t go back and reshoot when he was assembling his director’s cut.

Now, my only request is that if you ever do watch the movie, make sure it’s the director’s cut. The bugs are truly creepy, and film fans will recognize nods and homages to classic horror moments and films, and can geek out knowing that del Toro is probably just as big a geek as you are.

He’s got a place in Toronto right? He and I should just hang, talk monsters, and movies! I think we should make that happen.

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