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New to DVD: 'Nim's Island'

Category: Nim's Island Reviews
Article Date: August 7, 2008 | Publication: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Author: Sharon Eberson

Posted by: stagewomanjen

It took husband-and-wife directors (Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin) and their collaboration with two screenwriters (Joseph Kwong and Paula Mazur) plus three A-list actors (Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler and Abigail Breslin) to bring the Wendy Orr fanciful novel "Nim's Island" to the screen.

The story: Agoraphohic Alexandra Rover (Foster) writes adventure novels about the Indiana Jones-like Alex Rover (Butler), while scientist/widower/father Jack Rusoe (Butler again, in fantasy sequences) and his daughter, Nim (Breslin), live on an otherwise deserted island, conducting research and cavorting with nature. Resilient Nim is happy with this arrangement, helping her father and playing with her island pals -- a sea lion, a pelican and an expressive bearded lizard named Fred.

Jack heads out alone on a boat trip and doesn't return after a scary overnight storm, so 11-year-old Nim e-mails her hero, the fictional Alex Rover, for help. When her message reaches Alexandra, the writer puts concern for a child ahead of her fears and takes first one small step outside of her San Francisco home, then many, many more to reach Nim.

The movie occasionally fumbles the delicate balance between fantasy and reality and counts a lot on the charms of its leads. These are considerable, particularly Butler, who is just as charming as Alex the rogue as he is loving father to Nim. Foster is scarily waif-like, and the Oscar winner tries hard (sometimes too hard) to inhabit this character, but it's nice to see her break out of the dark roles she's known for and into a movie that her own young children can see.

Butler's peril and Breslin's distress might prove a little intense for small children, but this PG-rated film is mostly satisfying family fare.

The DVD includes more than the usual deleted scenes, three featurettes and commentary from Foster, Breslin, Levin and Flackett.

Along with the self-described "Abigail's Journey," "Nim's Friends" is more about human interactions with the sea lion, bearded dragon and pelican that play key roles in the film than about the animals. "Working on Water" is a how-they-did-it extra with some interesting info on the many
water-logged scenes in the film.

Rating:2 1/2 stars = Average


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