J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter as a seven book series is amazing enough, but as a spring of successful movies, toys, Halloween costumes, action figures, fan-fiction, inspiration for several generations of readers--and writers--and publishers, I think it goes beyond anything the world has ever witnessed.
But even I thought it had all been done.
And then my son Christopher finds Alivan's Master Wandmakers. Here's an entire company that focuses on making hand-crafted wands out of teak, mahogany, holly, oak, and other fine woods. These are toys of quality. They're not cheap, but then again they're not plastic, and there really is something coolly real about a wand sent in a FedEx box with a gold seal that reads, "CAST ALOHOMORA TO OPEN."
This reminds me of one of my cousin's daughters asking one of the other kids at our recent family get-together, "When you were eleven, didn't you think you were going to get a letter from Hogwarts?" I thought it was a pretty crazy thought, and then added that in the states you'd get a letter from Salem, the US-based witch/wizard school.
I can at least understand getting into the story that much. I grew up in the '70's with The Lord of the Rings, and dreamed of crossing the Brandywine, outwitting the Nazgûl, wondering what sorts of interesting packaged foods I could buy from Safeway that Hobbits would like, and of course asking Frodo, "can't I just wear Sauron's ring once, for like thirty seconds? Come on, there's no harm in that. I just want to be considered one of the Ring-bearers and go over the sea when all this crap is done. Look, I don't want any trouble...Hey, stop, Frodo. No reason to--put Sting down!" EOD. (End Of Dream).
Thanks to Alice's planning, determination and vigilance, we got tickets to see the premier of The Last Mimzy last night. It's supposed to open in theaters on March 23rd.
Based loosely on "Mimsy were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore), The Last Mimzy takes place in a modern day Seattle suburb (and in and around Puget Sound) in the home of two kids, Noah (Chris O'Neil) and Emma Wilder (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn). On a trip out to Whidbey Island the kids find a box which opens to give them all kinds of cool futuristic toys and one stuffed bunny, "Mimzy"--who teaches Emma a few interesting things, like how to save humanity in the future. Before you or their concerned parents realize, the kids are off the scale genius-future-magic-extreme-entomology-galaxy-spanning-engineering project-children who manage--without a lot of trouble--to attract the FBI and Homeland Security. Blowing the power in every city in the American Northwest while playing with toys will do that.
This is definitely one for the kids and parents. It's warm, it's funny, and even the scary feds and corporate guys play more of the baffled let's-see-how-this-alien-technology-thing-plays-out kind of roles, rather than shoot first and ask questions later. There's a nice balance of drama and humor. Rainn Wilson ("Dwight" on The Office) is great as Noah's science teacher and dreamer of lottery numbers.
The theater handed out little "Mimzys" to everyone--although Alice was the only one smart enough to ask for the "last Mimzy" and made the guy dig to the bottom of the box to get hers. I got stuck with one of the prior (apparently failed) Mimzys. Bummer.