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Nim's Island (DVD, 2009, Checkpoint; Sensormatic; Widescreen)
(6 Epinions reviews)
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Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story
Apr 5, 2008 (Updated Apr 23, 2009)
Review by Mark Baker
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Island setting, fun
Cons:Some plot points glossed over near the end
The Bottom Line: You'll be the hero if you take your kids to this film.
I have always had a fascination with stranded island stories. I'm not sure why since, while I love camping, I like having such modern comforts as a real bathroom and shower. Still, there's something about being alone (or with a few friends/family) on an island that appeals to me, in a strictly fantasy sense. So when I saw the previews for Nim's Island, I knew I had to go.
Recommend this product?
Nim (Abigail Breslin) lives with her father Jack (Gerard Butler) on an isolated island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They've lived there since discovering it on one of their around the world cruises after Nim's mother died. Even though they are alone, they aren't lonely. Nim has made friends with several of the island's animals. They have tons of books. Somehow, they have the internet (that's never explained). And every few months a ship comes by and drops off supplies, including the latest Alex Rover novel.
Jack is a marine biologist always on the trail of a new species of microorganism. When he gets a lead, he takes off for two days. Nim insists she stay behind since her sea turtles eggs are about to hatch. Two days turns into longer when a fierce storm comes up and partially destroys his boat.
While Jack's away, Nim gets an e-mail from Alex Rover asking for help in research for the next book. When things begin to go wrong, the upset 11 year old pours out her heart to Alex, asking for help.
What Nim doesn't know is that Alex Rover is really Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster) the author who created the hugely popular character. And Alexandra is afraid of everything and never leaves her apartment. Can Alexandra overcome her fears and come to Nim's rescue?
This movie is filled with the kinds of stuff deserted island fanciers will love. The house that Nim and her dad live in is wonderful. I would absolutely love to live there. The animals are exceedingly cute and the scenery is beautiful. If it were real, I'd be on the next plane out for a vacation on this island.
As long as we're talking about fantasies, there is a fantasy sequence near the beginning that this reader loved. You'll know it when you see it. I was grinning stupidly the entire time that scene was on.
Ultimately, this movie is about finding the courage to be a hero. It's something that Nim, Jack, and Alexandra must do in various ways. What I like about it is that all three face that need in different ways. And while only one truly sets out with that in mind, all three truly do by the end of the film.
Along the way we get adventure with Jack, lots of laughs with Alexandra, and a little of both with Nim. Alex's stuff could have become broad and overbearing, but it is a credit to the entire cast and crew that it never does. While it is a bit far fetched, her journey is believable, sympathetic, and funny.
And praise must go to the entire cast of the film. Everything could have been over the top and corny. Granted, it is a bit broader because the film is aimed at kids. But the acting is uniformly good. And the emotional scenes easily tugged at my heart.
My only real complaint is partially one of expectations. I thought this movie would be one thing going in, but since this is a movie about three characters growing on their own, it wasn't what I expected. Even so, there were quite a few things that were glossed over in the rush to climax the film. And once the climax does come, it is over much too soon.
This movie is rated PG, and I'm a little confused as to why. I don't remember any language. There's nothing remotely resembling adult situations. There is one instance of bathroom humor I could have done without. My only guess is the characters in peril were enough to earn that rating. Frankly, I don't think kids of any age will have a problem with this film.
So if you are looking for a family friendly movie, be sure to check out Nim's Island. The entire family should enjoy this heroic journey together.
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