Nim's Island sure to please the kids

Category: Nim's Island Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: August 2, 2008 | Publication: The Sudbury Star | Author: Wayne Chamberlain
Publication/Article Link:http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1141738

A good cast doesn't always guarantee a quality time at the movies, but it can give you a nudge towards checking out something you might not typically be inclined to view.

Well, that and a couple of youngsters who eat up family movies like they were Halloween candies.

Which brings me to this week's big DVD release: Nim's Island.

This family flick features a strong cast -- Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin, actor/director Jodie Foster and 300 star Gerard Butler, who recently showcased his romantic comedy skills in P. S. I Love You.

Breslin plays Nim, a precocious pre-teen who lives on a tropical island with her scientist father (played by Butler) and a few well-trained animal friends.

The early part of the film focuses on Nim and her dad, Jack. Nim's mother died years ago and the two have become each other's best friends, as well as support system.

When Jack goes off alone to search for a biological specimen, he trusts Nim to look after herself and the camp. She's a self-sufficient, responsible girl. And besides, the due can stay in touch via satellite phone.

Of course, things go wrong. Jack is caught in a bad storm, the boat breaks down and he is unable to call for help.

Nim starts to worry about her father when he doesn't return. And then fate intervenes.

An author named Alexandra Rover (although she goes by Alex) sends an e-mail to Jack, which Nim finds. Alex Rover happens to be the name of the Indiana Jones-esque character in Nim's favourite adventure novels. Believing she's talking to the adventurer, Nim asks for help. She doesn't realize the real Alex Rover (Foster) is a female author with a terrible case of agoraphobia. She hates to leave her house.

However, when the writer finds out this little girl is alone on an island, she tries to summon the courage to be more like her literary creation, who wants her to help Nim.

Butler also plays Alex Rover, the adventurer. The fact he talks to Foster's Rover and she responds to him left me, as a parent, wondering if I'd want my child to be 'saved' by a nutcase. But, I digress.

Foster does a decent job in working her way through Rover's story arc. She could have easily phoned in her performance, but she gives it more depth than it probably deserves.

Breslin, meanwhile, remains as charming as ever. It's nice to see another child actor succeed in roles whose name isn't Dakota Fanning.

As for Butler, well, he's clearly having fun playing a bit of a rogue adventurer. He's one of those unique talents that both men and women like equally, for different reasons.

Nim's Island is a film that children will certainly enjoy. It's got the right mix of silliness, including an island play on Home Alone's climactic battle, as well as cute animals and a little drama, to boot.

Adults will no doubt be able to fill in the plot points all the way through the film, but it's worth it to see how much enjoyment the kids get out of it.