'Nim's Island' Worth Visiting

Category: Nim's Island Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: April 9, 2008 | Publication: The Daily Campus | Author: Natalie Abreu
Publication/Article Link:http://media.www.dailycampus.com/media/storage/paper340/news/2008/04/09/Focus/nims-Island.Worth.Visiting-3312611.shtml

While some children's films can be as tart and sickly sweet as the candy you bring into the movie theater to wolf down, some can also be paired up with a bittersweet flavor to even out the taste; mixing children's' wonderment with bright sounds, colors and imaginative characters with what seems like real moments of human peril, drama and emotion. "Nim's Island" offers audiences a taste of something different in its imaginative story telling style that although might seem a bit usual at first, proves to be a appetizing combination.

"Nim's Island," adapted from the Wendy Orr novel of the same name, follows the story of a girl named Nim (played with enthusiasm and wonderment by Oscar nominatee "Little Miss Sunshine," Abigail Breslin). She lives on an island in the South Pacific, is home schooled by her single, scientist dad Jack (portrayed with an ambiguous American accent by the yummy Gerald Butler of "300" fame), has animals as friends instead of people and uses her imagination to take her anywhere she wants to go. Her imagination goes wildwhen she reads her beloved "Alex Rover" novels written by "Alex Rover." In her mind, she imagines the Alex Rover character to be just like Santa Claus: real. She imagines him to be courageous, swashbuckling and above all, a man. All the things the real Alexandra "Alex" Rover (played with a neurotic streak to match Woody Allen's by Jodie Foster) is not. A Progressive soup eating, Purell using and spider swatting mess, Rover hasn't even left her apartment for a few months, let alone live an adventurous life.

But adventure is what she must face when Nim's dad gets lost in a storm. With his ship badly damaged, Rover gathers up the courage to try to protect Nim by traveling to her island.

While some parts of this film might seem to be a strange narrative, especially the partly animated and narrated opening sequence, the audience should accept the fact that this is the way this film will be told: with a childlike and imaginative eye. Nim imagines herself within Rover's stories while Alexandra Rover is accompanied by her Indiana Jones like hero Alex who is complete with a sexy accent, worn and scuffled brown hat and tattered leather jacket that makes him look more of a knock off than a knock out. Alex is also played by Butler in a Captain Hook/Mr. Darling sort of role that's certainly more fun to watch than the struggling father.

One of the problems with this film is the whole 'buckaneer' subplot, which although might sound interesting at first and might led to even more adventure, turns into something one dimensional, contrived and turns the film into a "Home Alone" on an island, except with a more endearing child star. It takes away from the film's central message of overcoming fears and facing the world, reducing these parts into cheap, parlour tricks of sea lion farts and typical tourists.

Foster seems to pass the torch on to Breslin when it comes to successful and sane child actors as they share the most endearing moments in which Nim realizes that imagination doesn't always make things real and Alexandra overcomes her fears and becomes adventurous.

Overall, "Nim's Island" proves to be an endearing film that children, families and the children inside of us can all watch and enjoy for a few hours of adventurous fun.