Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Terminator Bunny

Last Monday, I deleted a comment about the short story Mimsy Were The Borogoves from a post because I was afraid it might spoil the movie The Last Mimzy for some readers. As it turns out, I didn't have a lot to worry about.

I like the idea of taking a concept for one age group and reworking it for another, the way, say, Gregory Maguire reworks The Wizard of Ozfor Wicked. With Mimsy Were The Borogoves things went the other way--an adult short story was reworked for a film for kids and families.

And I don't generally get distressed if a movie strays from the written material that inspired it, particularly if the movie is good. I wasn't all that captivated with the short story Mimsy Were The Borogoves, anyway. There were long sections of telling that made my eyes glaze over. But the story was about random acts and their impact, which I liked. And I think the authors tried to take readers away from their traditional way of thinking about things.

Not so with the movie The Last Mimzy. The 1943 short story is brought into the present day as a twenty-first century message movie about humanity polluting its environment and creating a dangerous situation for people of the future who send boxes of devices (including stuffed rabbits) into the past to get help. Remember how Arnold Schwarzenneger went back in time in The Terminator to save mankind? Well, that's what's going on with the bunny.

Personally, I thought the movie was filled with all kinds of cliches and that the Alice material (which does appear in the movie) wasn't very well integrated into the story. And then the Tibetan story line...

I must admit, though, that my computer guy also say the movie this weekend. He loved it.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

An Alice Connection

The Last Mimzy, which is supposed to be opening this Friday, is based on the short story Mimsy Were The Borogoves by Lewis Padgett. The story was available on-line so recently that I actually have a hardcopy and have read it. (Not that I'm gloating or anything.) It appears to have disappeared on the Internet. (The Mathematical Fiction site I just linked to also has spoilers, so don't read it if you're planning to see the movie.)

The short story was published in 1943 and seems very mid-twentieth century middle class to me. The parents have drinks before dinner. The family has a housekeeper. Mom is intelligent and seems well-educated but doesn't appear to do anything. The story is also quite dark. As I was reading it I thought it sounded like a Twilight Zone episode. It wasn't, but another short story by Padgett was the basis for a Zone.

Gee, I've mentioned The Twilight Zone two days in a row.

Anyway, the title of the original short story, Mimsy Were The Borogoves, comes from The Jabberwocky, which appears in Alice Through the Looking Glass. The Alice connection continues in the short story. I'll try to get to the movie to see if it appears there, too.

But I'm not giving anything away now.

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