The first time I saw MIMIC was 1999. I have not seen it since then. I remember scenes being particularly dark and damp but past that it all slips my mind, except for Mira Sorvino in the lead. I wanted to watch it again because I don’t think I paid very good attention the first time around. Back then I had no clue who Guillermo del Toro was. When he made this film back in the late nineties, he was an up and comer himself. No one knew he was going to blow up like he has. While I always loved film myself, I was an up and comer too when it came to my cinematic tastes.
MIMIC feels like something that an up and comer would create. It’s ambitious, fun, and offers a few decent scares. When you stack it up against del Toro’s other features, the film doesn’t quite measure up as highly. If this is the least stunning effort on the director’s part, then I’d say he’s not doing so bad. With this film, del Toro wanted to do a creature feature. This was a more reality based story/creature than the usual fantasy fares that we see from the director. What’s interesting is that this was his first big studio effort. Before this del Toro released a film called CRONOS, which only hit America in limited release, very limited in fact. So before MIMIC, no one had really been exposed to anything that del Toro had done. Personally, I like CRONOS a little more than MIMIC due to the creative story written by the director. When it came to creepy bugs, I gave my love in 1997 to STARSHIP TROOPERS but then I didn’t know MIMIC was released the same year.
While I did enjoy MIMIC, it doesn’t veer out of familiar territory. In Manhattan, cockroaches are taking over and spreading disease to the masses of children in the city. So to fix the problem, Dr. Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) and Dr. Peter Mann (Jeremy Northam) decide to make a super breed of cockroach called the Judas Breed. The job of these hardcore roaches is to release a fluid that will kill their diseased brethren. Does this already sound like a bad idea? For the time being everything seems pretty cut and dry with the plan. The Judas Breed takes out the disease and we are told that they will die out shortly thereafter. But obviously, they don’t. When they come back years later it turns out that they were keeping their King safe until they could hatch a plan to take on humanity just as the weaker roaches did. Using people as their food source, the Judas Breed have grown exponentially in size and are living in the dark, damp subway tunnels. The only option left is for the doctors to take out their own creation.
The film is effective in its own right. Who really likes cockroaches anyway? The mere presence of one and the way they scurry across surfaces makes me cringe. In MIMIC they’re overgrown and could probably take me in a street fight unless I’m armed with a can of Raid. Okay, several cans of Raid. I also wondered why the doctors didn’t make sure that the species would die out. This idea needed more trial periods but since there was no time they had to rush. The cast does a decent job here with my main focus being on Josh Brolin. How could I have possibly missed this? Probably because like del Toro; he wasn’t as big then. I love that del Toro tries to take a realistic approach with any creatures that he makes and applies that same technique to the setting that surrounds them. While MIMIC may not be a horror classic, it’s still a del Toro film.
Video: The transfer here isn’t spectacular. I don’t know what they were trying to do here. Were they trying to make the original copy a little better? Because that’s really what it seems like. What you see is a little bit better than what the DVD version has to offer. (1.85:1 Widescreen).
Audio: It turns out that all the effort here was put on the audio track. It’s actually sort of amazing. Everything comes in clear for the most part and the creepiest moments underground surround you. What’s that behind you? I don’t know but you better watch out. (7.1 DTS-HD).
Video Prologue with Director Guillermo del Toro (2:00): This is just an introduction with del Toro to let the viewer know about the changes they will encounter in the film. You figure it would play before but you actually have to go find it in the special features. Sort of a bad set-up if you ask me.
Audio Commentary with Director/Co-writer Guillermo del Toro: This is a good commentary. If you’ve ever watched an interview with del Toro, you know how passionate he is about his films. He’s always got something fun an interesting to say. Needless to say, I love this man.
“Reclaiming Mimic” Featurette (14:30): This is all about the restoration process with the film. Del Toro walks us through the changes and explains what his ideas were initially for the project. It’s an interesting watch.
“A Leap in Evolution- The Creatures of Mimic” Featurette (9:35): Travel back to the lost decade of the 90s and watch how the cockroaches were created.
“Back into the Tunnels- Shooting Mimic” Featurette (5:22): The cast and crew discuss the filmmaking process as well as how great del Toro is. We know.
Deleted Scenes (5:11): These were scenes that del Toro decided to take out for his director’s cut. There’s also an alternate ending that isn’t as good as the one attached to the film.
Storyboard Animatics (6:04): Storyboards presentations never seem to really grab my attention. This one however was made interesting since we are leaping into the mind of del Toro and how he treats a particular scene.
Gag Reel (2:20): A short little feature of the cast and crew joking around. Nothing too overly exciting.