Nim’s Island
dir Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin
scr Joseph Kwong, Paula Mazur, Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett
with Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler, Maddison Joyce, Michael Carman, Peter Callan, Rhonda Doyle, Mark Brady, Jay Laga'aia, Jeff Dornan, Steve Daddow, Marea Lambert Barker
release US 4.Apr.08, UK 2.May.08
08/US Walden 1h36
Nim's Island
Where in the world: Foster and Butler

breslin foster butler
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Nim's Island Breslin proves she can carry a big movie all on her own with this thoroughly enjoyable family adventure comedy. There's nothing very suspenseful going on, despite all the peril, but the cast and the story will appeal to both kids and adults.

Nim (Breslin) is an 11-year-old living on an uncharted South Pacific island with her scientist father Jack (Butler). When he goes missing at sea, she gets in touch by satellite email with the action hero from her favourite series of novels, Alex Rover. But it's the agoraphobic novelist Alexandra (Foster) who reluctantly decides she must take an epic journey to go to Nim's rescue, with a bit of help from her fictional alter ego (Butler again). Meanwhile, Nim is trying to fend off a group of Australian tourists with the help of her animal sidekicks.

Filmmakers Flackett and Lavin aim squarely for the family market with this action-packed film, although this means there's not a moment of real menace. Despite the constant threat of woe, all of the thorny story elements are resolved in ways that are slapsticky (Alex's entire journey), contrived (Jack's over-inventiveness) or just sidestepped (Nim's injured leg). We're never remotely worried about any danger faced by Nim. Or, for that matter, Jack and Alex in their separate efforts to get to the island against all odds.

But even with some cheap sets and wobbly effects, the film maintains a driving pace and zingy humour, drawing on the skills of its three charismatic stars. Breslin holds everything together in the central role as an inventive, feminist Robinson Crusoe. She also clearly has a ball with all the running, rock-climbing and zip-lining, not to mention swimming with sea lions and playing with lizards. Meanwhile, Foster shows a rare gift for pratfalls and over-reaction, while Butler (despite another dodgy accent) is charming and intriguingly un-macho as the resourceful hero.

In the end, it feels rather a lot like the movies Foster starred in when she was a young girl--those lively 1970s Disney romps that never ruffled a hair but kept us glued to the screen with a smile on our faces.

cert u suspense, some language 20.Apr.08

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Nim's Island denise, seattle, wa: 5/5 [SPOILER ALERT] "jodie foster overdid with the kltuziness and pratfalls, and some of her antics became rather wearisome. however, abigail breslin kept the whole show together by the power of her presence and belief that her dad would come back from his sea-faring adventure. i loved the romantic ending; glad everybody found each other and lived happily ever after -- somewhere in the south pacific." (24.Apr.08)
© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall