Movie Review: Nim's Island Is A Great All-Ages Experience

Category: Nim's Island Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: April 7, 2008 | Publication: Blogcritics.org | Author: Tall Writer
Publication/Article Link:http://blogcritics.org/archives/2008/04/07/200820.php

In Nim’s Island, audiences can enjoy a unique escape to a special island that attracts several characters for different reasons. Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, The Ultimate Gift) plays Nim Rusoe, the incredibly resourceful daughter of a marine biologist, played by Gerard Butler (P.S., I Love You, 300) in this fantasy adventure. Via her father Nim gets the best of both worlds as she has the freedom to directly apply her academic/book knowledge in the real world.

This close-knit duo live by their own rules in their “own secret world” full of wildlife and intelligent, helpful animals including a turtle, lizards, a pelican named Galileo, and a sea lion. Their past family tragedy, told as a separate story in early scenes, provides heartwarming strength and creative memories that continue to inspire them.

Jodie Foster showcases her considerable talent in a role full of subtle nuance and comedic moments as Alexandra Rover, the reclusive author of Nim’s favorite book series. “I don’t want to touch the world, it’s not sanitary,” Alexandra says as she works alone in her San Francisco apartment. The main character of Alexandra’s popular book series, Alex Rover, also played by Gerard Butler, could have used a better introduction, but functions as a creative narrative technique. Foster provides some great situational comedy while anchoring the film in reality, otherwise it might float off like a balloon and audiences might not know what to think.

The narrative stays true to its own structure and doesn’t throw the audience for a loop with plot twists or unnecessary melodrama. Rising young star Breslin couldn’t have a better acting partner than Foster, as Nim and Alexandra create a lasting bond after a rocky start. “You will not be alone,” Alexandra says to Nim after Alexandra finds courage in her new responsibility — one of the most touching scenes of the film.

All three main characters have individual monologue scenes where they wear their emotions out on their sleeves. Their respective journeys showcase some surprising physical abilities from these three actors. A few of the individual scenes and an impromptu dance feel a bit out of place, but audiences have several opportunities to invest emotionally into the characters and plot. Alexandra’s boat driver also makes a great impression though filmmakers should have used subtitles for some of his dialogue.

Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin wrote and directed this wonderful fantasy adventure, which was filmed in Australia. This dynamic duo make extraordinary efforts to entertain the audience by going above the call of duty with their talented crew. For example, filmmakers use creative location shots spanning the whole globe with no text instead of the traditional transition with subtitles of the locations.

The appealing story animation enhances the film’s appeal while the tropical settings are realistic enough so the audience doesn’t feel like they’re on a movie set (though a couple of volcano scenes don’t quite make the grade). British film composer Patrick Doyle provides a great score and the special effects and creative animations enhance the visual appeal.

Filmmakers also use modern elements to connect characters together. Other woes usually associated with stress (9/11, airport security, plagarism, etc.) connect the characters even more while providing some great comic relief.

A successful extravaganza of escapism, based on the book of the same name from another collaborating couple, Wendy Orr and Kerry Millard. This 96 minute film comes highly recommended and is rated PG for mild adventure action and brief language. Watch the ending credits for a creative curtain call highlighting the funniest animal moments.

Four stars of five