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Nim Rusoe is a girl who joins her father, a scientist, when he does research on marine life on an island. It's just the two of them but she spends her time making friends with all the animals she encounters, chatting on the computer and reading the adventure books of Alex Rover. When her father goes to do some research but when a storm strikes the island he doesn't come back, she gets worried and frightened. She then e-mails Alex Rover hoping that he will come but what she doesn't know is that Alex Rover is a woman who is agoraphobic and germaphobic. But her creation comes to life and eggs her to go. Unfortunately she has never gone anywhere before and is denied her necessities like her sanitary gel by the customs officer at the airport. In the meantime, Nim tries to be strong while waiting for Alex to arrive. Written by
Should have been magical but instead it's just an average fantasy/adventure...
After watching NIM'S ISLAND, it occurred to me that Wendy Orr's children's novel would have worked much better as a Walt Disney animated feature than as a live action film with CGI effects. Animation would have provided the missing ingredient here--namely, good old-fashioned charm...and magic. The design work for the main titles led me to believe this would be an enchanting film. It wasn't.
However, with a lack of good films for children to see, I wouldn't discourage younger patrons from seeing the film. It's entertaining enough for impressionable minds to appreciate--if they can understand that the Alex Roper character is really a figment of Abigail's and Jody's imagination.
ABIGAIL BRESLIN is fine as the lonely island girl who has to fantasize about her pulp action hero and GERARD BUTLER is perfectly cast as her father (Jack) who goes missing for most of the story but is reunited with her--predictably--at the end after a savage storm. But I can't say I enjoyed watching JODIE FOSTER play a clumsy agoraphobic authoress in a series of scenes that had me wondering who else might have been better in that role. I came up with a younger Angela Lansbury, who knew how to do this sort of physical clumsiness with such skill and still remain charming. With Foster, the charm is gone and all you you get is a mannered amount of nerdy nervousness.
Lest anyone adult should fall asleep during the proceedings, not to worry. Patrick Doyle's bombastic background score, incredibly busy even during the frenzied height of the storm scenes, is enough to make anyone pop open their eyes to see what's happening.
What should have been wistful, magical, even a bit romantic, comes across as kind of brass, corny and utterly predictable nonsense with lots of credibility issues. Foster's character is among the most unbelievable characters ever created, even for a children's story.
Summing up: Has its moments and it's not all bad, but too bad Butler couldn't have had more footage. His scenes as the imaginary adventurer provide the best and most humorous moments in the whole film.
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