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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Mimic
Mimic
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted April 28, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

A 1997 thriller that doesn't do much with a fairly interesting idea, "Mimic" stars Mira Sorvino as a scientist who finds a way to kill off a cockroach-carried disease that's making local children suffer. Little did she know that the insects she created are growing up to become much larger and much more fearce. Hiding in the subways, they are awaiting the right moment to attack.

The film is one of those where the audience is consistently telling "don't reach in there", "don't look in there", etc. Several scenes offer "jump" scares, as things pop out from behind walls or doors as Marco Beltrami's score suddenly jumps to life. Although the first part of the film does a fairly good job at setting the film up to be an original and fairly inventive bug-thriller, the second half of the film turns things into more of what we've seen already in the sci-fi/horror past as the bugs come through the subway tunnels to get at our heroes one after another.

None of the actors deliver particularly great performances. Sorvino does a decent job as the scientist who created the mutant bugs, but Jeremy Northam seems rather out of place as her husband and fellow hero-in-danger. The film's special effects are not stunning, but the giant bugs are at least respectably solid looking. The one thing that really did impress me throughout was the sound design by Steve Boeddeker("Tomb Raider"), who takes full advantage of the subway settings and creepy possibilities. Without the fantastic use of the surrounds throughout the more intense scenes of the movie, the film wouldn't be nearly as creepy. The picture also has a strong visual style, with good cinematography and superb editing from Patrick Lussier, who is director Wes Craven's usual editor.

Overall, "Mimic" ends up as just another formula sci-fi picture, but I will say that it at least is able to get a few solid scares through during its running time.


The DVD

VIDEO: Being a fairly early Buena Vista/Dimension title, "Mimic" is not anamorphic. The non-anamorphic presentation is shown in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and although certainly not perfect, it doesn't look too bad for a presentation that's not anamorphic. Sharpness varies throughout the movie. Some scenes, especially the few in the brighter outdoors, seemed sharp and clear. The film's darker (and really quite dark) sequences seemed passable - some looked soft, but not to the point of distraction.

Slight problems appeared, although nothing that caused a great deal of irritation. A bit of shimmer here, a tiny amount of pixelation there, an instance or two of slight print flaws in the way of marks and speckles.

Colors are presented accurately to the intended look of the movie. Being a fairly dark-in-tone horror film, colors are mainly an early set of browns and other similar colors, especially in the subway sets. Decent for an early edition from the studio, but there are quite a few fans of the film out there who would probably be happy with an anamorphic re-release.

SOUND: "Mimic" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and although it's certainly not a consistently impressive effort, there are moments throughout the movie that provide fantastic sound use - and once the film really gets started, the sound becomes more and more agressive. The more intense sequences of the movie provide terrific surround use that really make these sequences creepier than they would have otherwise been.

Even more natural sounds like rain and thunder (listen for the nice jolt of thunder at about 46 minutes into the movie) are captured accurately and convincingly, adding very nicely to the mood of the film every so often. Voices echo throughout the room as the characters walk throughout the subway tunnels or end up in other areas. Audio quality is perfectly fine as all of the spooky sound effects come through clearly and crisply, as does Beltrami's haunting (and occasionally jumpy) score.

What really impressed (and pleased) me was how enveloping all of this was; the creepy sounds of the creatures seemed to be coming from all sides at once during the action scenes. Overall, a really impressive effort from sound designer Steve Boeddeker, who has also done wonderful work on "Rules of Engagement" & "Fight Club" and will also be working on the upcoming "Tomb Raider". His work here makes the scary moments that much scarier.

MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, with very basic images serving as backgrounds. For example, the main menu simply re-uses the front cover.

EXTRAS: The trailer. That's it, that's all.

Final Thoughts: Although I'm not a fan of this film, there's already a straight-to-video sequel apparently heading to stores in a few months. This DVD for the original picture isn't too bad - it offers a decent non-anamorphic picture paired with excellent and impressively effective sound, but no extras.

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