Category: Nim's Island Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: April 25, 2008 | Publication: The Dominion Post | Author: Graeme Tuckett
There is a small but significant middle ground between Horton Hears a Who and The Spiderwick Chronicles.
Horton might be a bit too childish for anyone over eight, and Spiderwick is possibly just too intense for anyone under 10. But if you are – or have in your possession – someone around nine years old, then Nim's Island could be just the ticket.
Nim – Abigail Breslin – is a young girl who lives in an unmapped South Seas paradise with her marine biologist dad. (Anyone over 30 will recognise immediately the island's unmistakable silhouette – it's Thunderbird Island. I was waiting for the palm trees to flop over and the timpani to kick in to the soundtrack.)
Nim is a confident, energetic and resourceful kid, but happily free of the obnoxious smart- arsery that American movies usually lumber their child heroes with. Her dad – nicely put together by Gerard Butler – has raised her to be independent and self-sufficient. So much so that he is persuaded Nim will be fine on the island alone for a few days while he sails off to do something involving plankton.
There's a storm – of course – and Nim is left alone to do what she can to find her dad, and protect her island from the ravages of a boatload of tourists. Into this mix, through an inventive chain of events, comes Jodie Foster – a profoundly agoraphobic writer, determined to "conquer her fears", and rescue Nim.
How it all winds up might be predictable for the parents and guardians in the audience, but the kids love it.
Foster, Butler and Breslin are all appealing leads, the cinematography – by Kiwi Stuart Dryburgh, who also shot The Piano – is pretty ravishing, and a trio of wildly anthropomorphic critters provide occasional comic relief.
Nim's Island is well worth a visit.