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Nim's Island - family and children's DVD / fantasy DVD review
NIM'S ISLAND Rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler, Michael Carman, Mark Brady, Anthony Simcoe
Directors: Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin   Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 5 August 2008   Runtime: 96 min. (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Audio tracks (English - 5.1 Dolby Surround; Spanish - Dolby Surround; French - Dolby Surround), Subtitles (English, Spanish), Adventure commentary w/ Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin, Commentary with directors/writers Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett, "Nim's Friends," "Abigail's Journey," "Working on Water," Deleted scenes

I think we probably would have enjoyed the movie Nim's Island more had we not read the book first. As is usually the case, the movie didn't come close to the magic of the written word. But elementary-aged children will enjoy the movie, and Abigail Breslin's acting is superb.

The story behind the movie: Nim (Abigain Breslin) and her father, Jack Rusoe (Gerard Butler), live alone on an island they have made into their home. Very few others know where the island is located, and Jack does research on the ocean and on the volcano on the island. He communicates with the "outside world" via computer, and Nim spends her days playing with the animals-Selkie, a sea lion; Fred, a lizard; and Chica, a sea turtle. The fate of Nim's mother is detailed by an animated storyboard memory at the beginning of the movie-during sea research she was swallowed by a whale.

When Jack goes out on his boat and is caught in a storm, Nim is left alone on the island. She communicates via e-mail with author Alex(andra) Rover (Jodie Foster), who writes exciting adventure stories but is herself agoraphobic and doesn't leave her home. Alexandra prefers to have long conversations with her fictional character, the Indiana Jones-like Alex Rover (Gerard Butler in another role). When Nim communicates to Alex (whom Nim believes to be a male adventurer, just like the character) that she is hurt, alone, and needs help, Alex summons up her courage and goes to help Nim.

Overall, Nim's Island is a fun story, although some of the elements of the book are only partly conveyed and make for an uneven script. The movie almost can't decide whether it's supposed to be catering to children-as an adventure or funny story with animals - or to adults, with Jodie Foster and her agoraphobic personality, which was way too drawn out and bordered on eye-rolling to my children. The scenery is beautiful and may spur watchers to want to find an island paradise of their own.

There are some really cute parts, and Breslin is a wonderful actor. She brings magic to every scene, and her animal friends make it even more enjoyable to watch. There are number of special features, from commentaries to a large number of deleted scenes and featurettes about Abigail Breslin, working with animals, and working on the water.

Nim's Island is a cute movie, and children will like it much better than adults, even with the Jodie Foster draw. Some scary scenes may make it too frightening for young children. The book is better in that regard, because in the book we are never in doubt about Jack's safety, and Nim is more courageous at dealing with the "bad guys." But older elementary-aged children will enjoy Nim's Island and will probably watch it again and again.
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reviewed by Melissa Parcel
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