Mimic The Directors Cut
AVC-MPEG4 CODEC @ 38.6 AWBR
1080P @ 1.85 AR
DTS-MA 7.1 Audio
Distributed by Lionsgate
Street Date: September 27
I’m not a person who leaps up and goes to any and every horror film. In fact, the genre for the most part doesn’t work for me. I think a large reason for that is that creativity has been sucked from the format. We have “Horror Film 9” and so on. Sequel after Sequel, shot after shot with tons of effects and grotesque death scenes, but not a lot of originality. But there was something about Mimic that I found approachable even on the first release. The basic premise, revolving around the evolution of a species – in this case bugs – who slowly became a passable knock off of man, allowing them to pass in New York day to day life. I enjoyed the film in the theater, owned in on Laserdsic, grabbed it on DVD. There was something about Mimic that I always enjoyed. But as much as I enjoyed the film, I realized that there were faults present that had it walking the edge between monster-movie camp and a brilliant effort of suspense.
The opening story gives us that dark feeling right off the bat
At the time that Mimic was release, Del Toro wasn’t respected as a director, visionary the way he is now. It’s not a stretch to say he just “didn’t have the juice” to fully commit to his vision. In one of the better extras I’ve seen on a disc, del Toro explains that he was very upset that the ending he really wanted wasn’t produced and that there were too many changes to the film to really fulfill his vision. At the same time, he pointed out that he liked the heart of the film – that he had cut things he thought were pointless, removed second crew footage and replaced with his shots, and had reset the film to be what he wanted.
So how would mimic change from the original presentation? Well, the changes, some very minor, some a matter of pacing, and some inserts manage to change the narrative flow and give it a different and frankly more satisfying feel. That’s hard to say because I enjoy the original presentation, but I find this version to pull off something truly unique – it managed to tighten the focus and make the film move at a more brisk pace, but it also managed to flush out those scenes and conclusions where needed to give it a much larger scope, to allow all of the characters to feel so much more involved.
Some of the emotional weight of the film really work here and reminded me of why I liked this film in the first place. This is one of the few films were I can say that the directors cut (for me) is a significant improvement over the original. When you like a film originally, that’s a hard thing to say – because here, I’m saying a film I like is now both different, and improved. There is something frightening and special about Mimic – it’s not just a horror film with a big monster; it’s a horror film that makes great use of suspense, misdirection, and surprise.
Video Quality 4 / 5
The view from the street as rain falls gives us a near ability to count droplets in this transfer
This film is transferred in AVC-MPEG4 CODEC with an AWBR of 36.8Mbps. It’s a 1080P transfer at 1.85AR. I admit, I was pretty surprised by the AWBR here. The reason I’m surprised is that because this is a film that is based on a very dark look, with a lot of scenes being nearly completely black. This creates a real complex problem for Blu-Ray; I could knock this film for obvious issues with black crush, but frankly the large sets of black are rendered about as well as I can expect. But the high bit rate makes the private scenes with minimal lighting and the scenes where we have the full light of day truly shine. Here, we have fantastic detail rendered into complex scenes. On DVD, many of these scenes looked like staring at a blank screen. Here, minor details, background splashes, refracted light – it all seems to work in a way I hadn’t noticed before. It’s not to say that it’s perfect – it isn’t. But it’s a better transfer then I expected, and I have to take that into account.
The boy discovers that his call with spoons may attract a crowd he doesn't suspect
Audio Quality 5 / 5
Sometimes I can be stunned by an audio soundtrack. Mimic is redone in a masterful DTS-MA 7.1 Mix that gives an incredibly creepy, mood driven soundtrack that can crash your living room and cause you to leap out of your chair. And how does it make you leap from your chair? It’s the clicking, the sound of wings flapping.. lightly at first, then louder as they circle and engulf you in your livingroom. The terrifying sound of being trapped in a subway car as the wings and clicking of the bugs circle around them – and you – moving around your room – an effect I found completely intoxicating. It was like being hit by a boxer, no heavy blows, but you are off balance, not knowing “where the bugs are!” all around you, a click from the front right; suddenly rear left; then surround right; the entire soundfield of 7.1 is put to real effective use. The soundtrack is flat out fantastic and should be studied by any other film in this genre to show how to use minor background noises to terrify and keep the audience off balance.
The clicking that surrounds the subway car gets to everyone..
The Extras 4 / 5
Audio Commentary with del Toro is fun, it really provides something to the film, with his comments, grouses praise and rants, it's quite enjoyable.
Video Prologue – Here, del Toro gives his “this is as close as it gets” to his vision, laying out that there are some things he still wishes he could change, but he is happy that this is as far as it’s ever going to come. This kicks off a set of extra features I would call “The Frank and Honest” extras..
Reclaiming Mimic – 14:31, 1080P – This is a long talk with del Toro about how he originally imagined “Mimic” what he liked about it, and what was changed before it went to the theaters that bothered him. Frankly, this is one of the most honest extras I ever remember on a Blu-Ray.. when del Toro says “I told the studio, fuck that shit, who watches that? Nobody remembers that shit.” I was in stitches. He recounts his fights with the studio, lays out what was frustrating and what really drew him to the film “Yes, this
is a B movie, but I knew it could be a good one.” I LOVED this extra, which is definitely worth the watch.
A Leap of Evolution – SD, MPEG2, 9:35 – This is a carry over and focuses on the creature design.
Back in the Tunners – SD, MPEG2, 5:23 – This is your standard cast and crew interviews about the film.
Deleted Scenes – SD, MPEG2 (and frankly looks very bad) 5:11 – three scenes are present, but most notable is the alternate, troubling ending.
Story Board Animatics – SD, MPEG2, 6:05 – Six different sequences in the film played out in storyboard…. How they were originally envisioned. I wish we could have had this as a pop-up against the film to see the changes that were made.
Gag Reel – 2:20, SD, MPEG2 – This is your standard gag real, with a big focus on how often actors lick their lips (?) but some cute moments as well.
Also included is a digital copy DVD for PC / Mac.
Overall 4 / 5
If you’re a del Toro fan, this is already on your buy list. It’s a chance to see a film that really started off a lot of del Toro’s work, and shows him before he really grew as a director. But even if you’re not a huge del Toro fan, I’m going to tell you that this should be on your list of films to grab; the audio soundtrack is flat out fantastic and the film presented is a fun romp. When there are so many horror sequels out there, original thought is at a premium. Mimic doesn’t always fulfill the promise but it is far more fun than I think people expect. Grab some popcorn and sit down. Charles S. Dutton turns in a great performance, Sorvino is entertaining and surprisingly believable, and the camera work and monsters make this a good afternoon’s viewing. If you’re a fan of the original, definitely take the time to see the director’s cut, it’s completely worth it.