I missed a day again! It was storming quite a bit yesterday, so I had to keep my computer off… gotta keep all my precious data safe.
I saw The Last Mimzy the other night. Firstly, I must say that the 1943 short story Mimsy Were the Borogoves is just about my favorite short story of all time (not that I’ve read that many). The story’s got everything I love: humor, psychological ideas to ponder, and a sort of surprise twist ending. (By the way, I first heard about the story in a Martin Gardner book, probably because of the Lewis Carroll link? Martin Gardner’s the man!) Unfortunately the film introduced a bunch of pointless plot points (I guess they had to expand the story somehow, but I could’ve done better) and the ending was corny. But it did have some things that I liked, mainly the point about the children seeing the toys differently than the adults and learning from them so that they don’t become trapped in the “adult” way of thinking (though I’m not sure the point came across as well as it did in the short story… it needed someone saying “X logic and Y logic!”). (By the way, that psychological fact about the neural connections slowing and the brain becoming more specialized sort of makes me angry, you know? I want learn more easily… but not be too dumb at the same time.) I’d give the film 6 out of 10 stars. (Geez, that’s the number I seem to give most movies these days… “I like it some, but not too much.”)
After seeing the movie, I pulled out my August edition of Fantasy and Science Fiction, for I remembered Kathi Maio had a review of the film in it, which I didn’t want to read until I had made my own judgments. (Check it out here.) At first I thought her review would be too picky when she writes about the change in spelling of “Mimsy”, but then she says she was pleasantly surprised which made me think she liked the movie more than I did, but in the end, I think I agree with all of the points she made (although I don’t think A History of Violence was “interesting and intelligent” … it was horrible! Horrible, I say!) but she didn’t say as much about the portrayal of the psychological aspect of seeing the world differently and learning differently. For me, that seemed to be the heart of the short story, but was only a plot element in the film. I was happy to see that it was a plot element in the first place, but I wish that aspect had been more focused on, there’s so much potential there for a movie… and the talking to spiders and telekinesis were just… erm… stupid. They weren’t in the short story, were they?
Ok, enough blather. If you’re a science fiction fan, the movie’s worth a try, you might like it more than I did, but you must find that 1943 short story and read it. It’s a classic work of genius.