Review: Adventure Abounds In 'Nim's Island'

Category: Nim's Island Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: April 4, 2008 | Publication: | Author: Michelle Solomon
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Movie For The Tween Set Gives Foster Comic Relief

Hollywood veteran Jodie Foster picks the projects she wants to star in wisely. At this stage in her life, the 45-year-old mom of two boys has made it clear that she's more concerned with taking care of Kit, 6, and Charles, 9, then jockeying for her next big movie role.

So "Nim's Island" is the perfect choice for her; a kid-friendly movie in which adventure abounds and excitement is limitless. Foster has a lot of fun as the agoraphobic San Francisco author who is obsessed with cleanliness (product placement for Purell is everywhere), and gets her nourishment from cans of Progresso soup (although I'm not sure a germophobe would be comfortable eating food from a can).

Foster is Alexandra Rover, who is known for her books of a rough-and-tumble adventurer known as Alex Rover, played by Gerard Butler, who does double duty in the film as Nim's dad. Abigail Breslin is the film's namesake, Nim, who lives on a South Seas Island with her marine biologist father, Jack (Butler again). Nim's only playmates are a pelican, lizard and sea lion on the undiscovered island that her father wants to keep secret from the rest of the world.

Jack leaves Nim for a two-day excursion to find a species of plankton. The two stay in contact through satellite telephone. Dramatically, a storm comes up quickly, battering Jack's small boat, and the pair's solar powered house. His satellite ends up at the bottom of the ocean, and he loses contact with the island.

The ever resourceful Nim is unable to muster up enough heroics to survive the fear of her dad missing and being on an island alone despite having tackled an entire island by herself. She reaches out by using her Mac computer (more product placement), and writes to Alex Rover. The two had started corresponding when Rover sent out a previous query asking for Jack's help with one of her books.

While Alex Rover, the book character, would be the first to embark on a planes, trains, automobiles, speed boat, helicopter trip to some remote island, the thought of it for Alexandra Rover has her loading up on rations of hand sanitizer and soup. In a nutshell, she's a nervous wreck.

But her alter ego convinces her to go, getting her out of the house and into a cab in one of the funniest moments of the film.

The action of Rover's travels, plus another subplot in which the owner of cruise ship, who looks coincidentally like a pirate, shows up to the island to scope out the place for a private retreat for the rich, keeps the momentum going.

The film is perfect for tween-aged girls. The younger than 10 set found it difficult to stay with the movie's scenes when they didn't include Nim staging "Home Alone" like pranks on the cruise guests, Foster's pratfalls, or the multitude of animal tricks, including a sea lion with flatulence.

The film does seem longer than 95 minutes, and towards the end starts to drag, but Foster's no holds barred performance picks up the pace again. And Breslin, who plays a role that you could imagine Foster in during her "Freaky Friday" days, is able to hold up the other end of the film just fine.

The movie is great family fare and is stunning in its imagery. In short, it is a cinematic magical adventure.