A Girl's Own Adventure

Category: Nim's Island Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: March 30, 2008 | Publication: Herald Sun (Australia) | Author: JACQUI HAMMERTON
Publication/Article Link:Herald Sun (Australia)

Nim's Island

FANTASY/ADVENTURE - (96 minutes, PG)

3 1/2 stars

The voices: Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler.

Behind the scenes: Directed by Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin.

The plot: The fictional hero of an adventure novel inspires a girl alone on an island and a writer in her apartment to face their personal challenges.

In short: See-worthy.


IT is not disclosed how or when Hollywood poppet Abigail Breslin learned to swim with sea lions, converse with lizards, climb into a volcano and sprint barefoot through a jungle, but in Nim's Island she looks as if she was born to it.

Breslin puts the wind in the sails of this spirited adventure film as an 11-year-old girl growing up with her scientist father on a remote tropical island.

Without her full-throttle bravery and passion, it could have sunk to the ocean depths.

But Breslin does not have a monopoly on passion. Passion drives the story, it builds the relationships, it powers the action sequences and shines through the gorgeous cinematography of Queensland beaches and rainforest.

Nim's Island has an Indiana Jones Jr adventure story, the child's resourcefulness of Home Alone and the setting of Swiss Family Robinson, but its heart is the lively novel by Melbourne writer Wendy Orr.

Nim Rusoe and her dad, Jack (Gerard Butler, acting with aplomb), live an idyllic, isolated life in the South Asiatic Sea, in a treehouse-style home with the comforts of technology and a monthly supply ship.

Breslin and Butler are a great match, showing comfortable affection.

This helps to ground the story's credibility, which is pretty essential when Jack is lost at sea on a quest seeking undiscovered protozoa.

The resourceful Nim has to tackle monsoon damage, an erupting volcano and a horde of ugly tourists while trusting he will return.

Nim has allies in a lizard, a pelican and a sea lion, well supported by animatronic understudies -- but she could use an adult hand.

This is where email and an amusing case of mistaken identity come in.

Alex Rover is the fearless hero of the exciting best-seller novels Nim adores. But Alexandra Rover is the author and she is Alex's antithesis.

Afraid of everything and locked in her San Francisco terrace, Alexandra has writer's block at chapter eight. She emails Jack Rusoe for research on volcanoes and finds Nim instead.

Initially it seems the dour Jodie Foster has drunk one jungle juice too many in creating a neurotic Alexandra quite different from the book, but her venture into comedy has the kids giggling throughout.

Alexandra's bad-to-worse trek across the world to rescue Nim lightens the mood as Jack works on his survival and the girl-hero, a super role model, saves the day.

Meanwhile, fictional character Alex (Gerard Butler again, in a dual role) slips in and out of scenes and conversations with everyone, like a real-ghost inner voice in a Drizabone.

The end comes with a rush, but there is hardly a dull moment through the film, which adds generously to its slim paperback beginnings and twists its storylines without causing injury.

It is an ideal cinema adventure for the holidays.

If you liked these, you'll like Nim's Island:

1. Bridge to Terabithia
2. Charlotte's Web (left)
3. Spy Kids