posted Mar 11, 2007

The commercial for The Last Mimzy attracted my attention, because it sounded an awful lot like the 1943 Mimsy were the Borogroves by Lewis Padgett. I'm not sure I can quite call it my favorite short story ever (there are so many other good ones), but it's in the top 5 for sure.

But I seriously doubted that, because Golden Age science fiction stories do not frequently make it to the silver screen, especially in the 21st century. And certainly not ones I like.

But it is. I'm shocked.

The movie comes out on the 23rd, apparently. There aren't many reviews out yet for obvious reasons, but the Hollywood reporter review says it is "unlikely to offend many purists in their update of the original work", so here's hoping. The original story is only 35 pages long, so some padding will be necessary to get it to the running length of 90 minutes.

I could go on about this for a long time, but I'll just confine myself to the observation that adaptations of classic science fiction really haven't fared too well at the hands of Hollywood. There's decades of good stories to be mined there, but Hollywood insists on viewing everything through the lens of Star Trek or B-movie monster stories, or through modern prejudices that have nothing to do with the work or sometimes even actively contradict the work.

Hope this does well enough that some other people start combing the voluminous back library for other good stuff. I suggest starting with Fritz Leiber, not because he's necessarily the best, but because I think his stuff would have an above-average filmability. If you're willing to skip ahead a bit, much of Niven's stuff is pretty filmable, and may also have enough Star Trek in it to satisfy Hollywood. (Try to tell the execs that it's already similar to Star Trek and doesn't need to be any more similar to Star Trek.)

(And on the off chance Larry Niven ever reads this: Dude, sorry to compare your work to Star Trek. I just mean that it's got enough superficial similarities (aliens, "rayguns" and exotic weapons, spaceships and something like "warp") to keep them happy. I wouldn't mistake Known Space for Star Dreck*, but it'd be to your advantage if Hollywood did, at least long enough to be greenlit.)

(*: How I feel like I've simply outgrown Star Trek would be another post entirely.)

Getting back to the topic at hand, I make no promises but I'll probably have a few words to say about Mimzy. (Boo to whomever turned that to a Z.) I may also discuss ways in which the movie deviates from the short story, but at the moment any such discussion would inevitably include spoilers.


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