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  Publicity Stills of "Nim's Island"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Director: Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett
Cast: Jodie Foster, Abigail Breslin, Gerard Butler, Alphonso McAuley
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.nimsisland.com/

Opening Day: 1 May 2008


Anything can happen on Nim's Island, a magical place ruled by a young girl's imagination. It is an existence that mirrors that of her favorite literary character, Alex Rover- the world's greatest adventurer. But Alexandra, the author of the Rover books, leads a reclusive life in the big city. When Nim's father goes missing from their island, a twist of fate brings her together with Alexandra. Now, they must draw courage from their fictional hero, Alex Rover, and find strength in one another to conquer Nim's Island.

Movie Review:

I thought the setup of the story at first glance bore some resemblance to that of another Abigail Breslin movie now showing in theatres - Definitely, Maybe. Put one inquisitive, charming little girl and her single parent dad together, this time trading the city of New York for the rustle of nature in some remote getaway christened Nim's Island, both obviously having a ball of a time with each other's company and the company of various wildlife. Instead of pining and wondering who her mother is, this time round it's the curiosity and thrill of interacting with her fictional hero, an Indiana Jones type character called Alex Rover.

Based on a novel of the same name by Wendy Orr, Nim's Island has Breslin in the lead role of Nim, who apart from her dad, scientist Jack Rusoe (Gerard Butler), has a sea lion, a pelican and a monitor lizard as good friends in their high-tech home in the middle of the forest, complete with electricity and a good ol' internet connection (I can live anywhere on Earth too, so long as I can have have my daily surfing fix). Soon it becomes a tale developed in Home Alone proportions, as dad gets caught out in the big bad ocean no thanks to monsoons, and fails to return home on time.

To keep her sanity in check, she starts an online interaction with the hero of her favourite novel series, Alex Rover (also starting Gerard Butler), but as it turns out, she's actually communicating to the novelist behind the character, Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster), who discovers to her horror that Nim's all alone out there, and decides to battle her neurotic self in order to reach out and rescue Nim. Coupled of course with a typical kiddy subplot of having to defend her turf from outsiders bent on ruining the idyllic Robinson Crusoe lifestyle she's been accustomed to.

Nim's Island is essentially a children's movie, so all nasty adversity in the movie are deliberately kept at bay, with extremely kid-friendly action sequences, usually resulting in well placed, and good natured childish humour. Come to think of it, there's hardly a scary moment in the movie, where even sharks do nothing malicious except to give a friendly nudge and to swim around aimlessly. Plenty of special effects get employed to animate the animals to do what seem to be impossible that intense training can never achieve.

As a children's movie, it preaches as expected, good morals. It's about the battling of one's fears, and never giving up despite the odds stacking up against you. Jodie Foster, whom we're so used to seeing in alpha-female type roles, for once turns comedic in her tackling of her fear of getting out of the house, and being the complete opposite of the Alex Rover adventurer character she creates from her imagination. Gerard Butler doubles as Alex Rover, who has ample screen time to interact with Foster, but when on his own as Jack Rusoe, faces an uphill task of getting back to his daughter, despite being stuck in the middle of the ocean with a sinking boat, and having one challenge after another coming toward him. The ending to his ingenuity though, comes a bit too abrupt unfortunately.

But the scene stealer here is definitely, not maybe, Abigail Breslin yet again. With wide-eyed innocence as the girl who is home, err, island-schooled, she gets to showcase her acting chops alongside more physically demanding sequences, no doubt assisted by stunt-persons of course. Interesting enough, Breslin gets credited first, ahead of Jodie Foster, which is probably a nod in her direction for her pedigree potential, though it might be no big deal since this is a children's movie after all. But I can't help but to wonder each time I see Breslin and Foster together sharing the same scene, and imagine whether Breslin's career will take after Foster's award winning and acclaimed one.

Easy to follow story, nice special effects and a beautifully done cartoon sequence to begin the movie and feature at the end credits, it's been a long time since I've watched a movie without bad language, swear words and gory violence. In that respect, Nim's Island is a refreshing change, and perfect as a family movie.

Movie Rating:

(Nim's Island is a children's paradise, for the kids out there and those who are still kids at heart)

Review by Stefan Shih


. The Spiderwick Chronicles (2007)

. The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2007)

. Enchanted (2007)

. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007)

. Bridge To Terabithia (2007)

. The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007)

, Charlotte's Web (2006)

. The Chronicles of Narnia (2005)

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