Whale of a tale for whole family

Category: Nim's Island Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: August 8, 2008 | Publication: Surrey Now | Author: Julie Crawford
Publication/Article Link:http://www.canada.com/surreynow/news/whatson/story.html?id=3bc5dc39-b75c-4cbc-bf1c-c27b16d561ab

Directed by Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. Starring Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler.

Our rating: 7 (out of 10)

This 12-and-under castaway tale is jam-packed with action and characters, both biped and finned. It's a convoluted but entertaining soup that is sure to keep kids entertained for the duration.


Nim (Abigail Breslin) and her father (Gerard Butler) are living an isolated, scholarly life on an uncharted desert isle, studying protozoa. The fate of Nim's mother is chronicled via creative animation, and it seems she was gobbled up by a whale when a buccaneer ship spooked it. Our castaways aren't completely alone: they have high-speed internet and care packages from the mainland.

What Nim knows of the world she learned from her lizard, sea lion and pelican friends, and from her beloved books. Her current favourite is the Alex Rover series. Imagine the coincidence then, when Nim receives an e-mail from Alex Rover, the author. Since dad's away on an expedition, she poses as her dad's research assistant and starts a correspondence. Little does she know that Alex is actually Alexandra (Jodie Foster), and when Nim runs into serious trouble alone on the island, it's the agoraphobic author, not her hero of fiction, who is coming to her rescue. Alexandra is such a basket-case that her only friend is her literary lead character (also played by Butler), who gives her the sage advice: "be the hero of your own life story."

Based on Wendy Orr's book, the film is packed with creative shots and techniques, good moral messages and a fine performance by Breslin (of Little Miss Sunshine fame). Adult audiences would probably prefer more breathing room, but the pace should suit kids just fine.

The DVD's special features include "Adventure Commentary" from actors Jodie Foster and a chatty Abigail Breslin, while "Nim's Friends" focuses on the animal training involved in the film, including the first meeting between Breslin and the sea lions. "Abigail's Journey" turns the lens on Breslin, who seems wholly unaffected by the whole Hollywood thing. "She is the perfect little girl," says Butler, and Foster likewise weighs in.