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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 09.20.11] horror

Year: 1997
Directors: Guillermo del Toro
Writers: Matthew Robbins/Guillermo del Toro/Donald A. Wollheim
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Movie Rating: 6 out of 10
Blu-ray Rating: 8 out of 10

"Success means being allowed to fail on your own terms." -- Guillermo del Toro

Many directors have found the transition from making independent films, commercials or music videos into the Hollywood system awkward. Even heavyweights like David Fincher have their Alien 3s - early casualties they've either swept under the rug, or disowned completely. Well, Guillermo del Toro is no exception and his first American film - his "giant-bug" movie, Mimic - has long been like a disappointing son no one speaks of.

But now, almost 15 years later, del Toro has been given the rare opportunity to go back to his film and present us with a new version that's closer to what he and co-writer Mathew Robbins (Dragonslayer) originally had in mind. And while he admits it doesn't fix his imperfect child, he can rest easier knowing his definitive cut is at least out there for people to find on Blu-ray.

So, what has changed in this cut of the film? Well, on one hand nothing much has changed and on another it's very drastic what del Toro has done. There are new scenes, most notably a striking new opening in a hospital which marks the film as being visually akin to the director's other work. Del Toro relays in his commentary track that it was cut out of the film by producers who felt it looked too much like the characters were on another planet. But that's del Toro, right? There is also an added sub-plot involving "mole men" who live underground and worship Mr. Funny Shoes and a couple new character beats.

But more drastic than what's new is what's been taken out of this cut of the film. Del Toro has snipped everything that was directed by his second unit and virtually everything that was added after in pick-ups. That means tacked on "scares," scenes he felt were poorly shot, or anything added to "enhance audience understanding" have been shed, leaving a cut that is all Del Toro, all the time.

I love releases that go into the full story of a production - the good and the bad - and Del Toro revels in the fact that he now has some license to tell the story of of a film that went slightly off the rails. It makes for some entertaining bonus features, including a immensely listenable commentary and a featurette called "Reclaiming Mimic," where the director details his dissatisfaction with his first American film and everything he's done to retake ownership.

At the end of the day the film is still Mimic. If you never liked it, you're still not going to like it. I've always enjoyed the film, and I enjoyed this version, honestly, just as much. It's still a giant bug movie made in the early days of CGI. It still doesn't quite work as a drama, or as a genuinely scary horror film. Certainly not to the level of, say, Devil's Backbone at any rate. But it's cool to know this cut is out there in high-def and, honestly, I could listen to Del Toro talk about movies for hours. And that's what makes this a great disc.

Order Mimic: The Director's Cut on Blu-ray on

Recommended Release: Mimic: Director's Cut

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Ujn Hunter (8 years ago) Reply

Great write-up! I've started watching this disc last night, and while I sort of remember seeing bits and pieces of this movie before, it's almost brand new to me. I'm glad that some studios actually allow directors to regain control of their films. I'm all for this kind of re-edit (not the George Lucas kind...) and I hope to see more studios do the same in the future.

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