Playing on the shore of the Puget Sound, Noah (O’Neil) and Emma (Wryn) find an ornate cube containing blue crystalline rocks, some sort of extraterrestrial crustacean and an ordinary-looking velveteen rabbit. Wouldn’t you know it, these treasures grant the kids extraordinary abilities, such as levitating, telekinesis and communication with spiders through high frequencies. (Note to self: Next time I find an alien toy box lying around on the beach, do not throw away; give it to my daughter so she can force arachnids to do her bidding.) The plush animal, nicknamed Mimzy, also seems to be sending Emma messages of a rather worrisome nature...something about the need to save a dying planet far, far away.
And a stuffed bunny shall lead them! Playing hooky from his day job as New Line’s CEO, director Bob Shaye turns Lewis Padgett’s kid-lit short story into an empowering, pro-ecological children’s film. You just hope that Steven Spielberg doesn’t sue for plagiarism, as The Last Mimzy mimics E.T. to an alarming degree, down to the nasty government agents; you almost expect their cute li’l friend to demand Reese’s Pieces. Still, it’s refreshing to be reminded that an intelligent, exciting family movie isn’t always an oxymoron. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.) — David Fear