Blu-Ray Review: MIMIC: 3-Film Set

Release date: May 1st, 2012
MSRP: $29.99
All three Mimic films were recently released in a two-disc blu-ray set. The first of the franchise was the only with a theatrical release, the other two going directly to disc. The films all vary greatly in style and quality, making them quite interesting to watch as a set.

MIMIC: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT (1997) was directed by Guillermo del Toro and has his stylistic mark all over it. The film follows Dr. Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) who created a genetically engineered cockroach-hybrid to kill the cockroaches spreading a near fatal disease to the children in New York City. While the Judas breed was supposed to die out shortly after their release, three years later Susan and her husband (Jeremy Northam) begin to find evidence that not only have they survived, but they’ve evolved.

The gross and unsettling ambiance of the film generally prevails over the possible humor, despite featuring an overly dramatic score that seems out of place. The plot is entertaining, even if there are a few too many coincidences that lead up to the final showdown and convergence of the main cast. The likeable characters and the solid acting do a lot to ground the film, although a few scenes do succumb to melodramatic dialogue and delivery. Overall, Del Toro manages to capture the fun, monstrous B-movie feel without really sacrificing aesthetics or acting—an impressive feat when considering the movie is about genetically engineered human-sized, human-mimicking cockroach-hybrids.

The first disc also includes some great special features, including a featurette with Guillermo Del Toro called “Reclaiming Mimic.” It’s best watched after the film to see how the director’s cut compares to his original vision and if the themes he intended to weave into the story are present.

The sequels, MIMIC 2 (2001) and MIMIC: SENTINEL (2003) don’t manage as much as Del Toro’s, but they nice as additions to the first film. Taking place about one year after the original, MIMIC 2 turns Alix Koromzay’s minor character into this film’s lead and the victims of the remaining Judas bug’s kills have set her in the middle of a police investigation. The movie, directed by Jean de Segonzac, is pure B-movie absurdity with neon drenched sets, cheesy dialogue, and quirky characters throughout. While there are a few gross bug moments, there is no sense of fear or impending doom and the story drags, mostly in the parts where the Judas bug is attacking. It is fun in its own right, if all expectations are done away with from the get go and viewers simply relish in the sheer ridiculousness of the film.

MIMIC: SENTINEL, directed by J.T. Petty, doesn’t really create a lasting impression either, trying for a more serious tone than its predecessor. One of the survivors of the illness the Judas bugs were created to stop, now in his twenties, is unable to venture out of his house due to a weak immune system and a myriad of allergies. He spends his time photographing his neighbors from the window of the apartment he shares with his mother and sister only to witness incidents that leave him suspecting the Judas breed is hunting in his front yard. The one-dimensional characters never rise above their starkly stereotypical roles and the mediocre plot isn‘t very strong. It won’t have viewers dying to get to the end, but the film picks up on a different avenue of the series and the characters are so awkwardly over-the-top that its entertaining enough.

As a trilogy it is interesting because the movies are vastly different in both visuals and tone, making the change in director and screenwriter very noticeable. The three-film set may not consist of the three greatest films ever made, but they all bring their own sort of fun. The sequels are mostly to be looked at as amusing additions to the MIMIC blu-ray, making the set appealing mostly to fans of Del Toro and the first film that are eager to see the closest we’ll get to what he originally intended.

Kristen Micek