Nim’s Island (2008)

I don’t want to miss any Jodie Foster movies.  She’s one of my all time favorites.  I’m also eager to watch Abigail Breslin again after her Little Miss Sunshine.  Further, after reading Annie Dillard’s novel, I just need something light and mindless.  Coincidentally, between these two, I only have to change lenses, for the view is more or less the same: the beauty and wonder of nature. 

Nim’s Island is a mixture of Swiss Family Robinson, Home Alone, Stranger Than Fiction, and Mr. Brooks.  Based on the popular children’s book of the same name by Wendy Orr, it’s about a girl called Nim who lives an idyllic life on a pristine island with her scientist dad Jack.  The island’s rich natural resources and wildlife are the sources of Jack’s research and Nim’s pleasure.  Her friends are Selkie the sea lion, Fred the iguana, Galileo the frigate bird, and the giant sea turtle…what’s his name? … Anyway, it’s a zoo out there on Nim’s island, but Nim and Jack keep it real organized, educational, and fun.

One of Nim’s favorite past time is reading the stories of her adventure hero Alex Rover (Gerard Butler, P.S. I Love You, 2007).  So, when a huge tropical storm hits the island, and her dad hasn’t come home for a few days collecting protozoa samples out in the open sea, she calls to Alex Rover for help.  Actually, it is the creator of Alex Rover that emails Nim first, asking about information to write the next novel, mistakenly thinking Nim is Jack’s research assistant. 

Far from being an adventure hero, Alexandra Rover, the author, is a recluse suffering from agoraphobia, whose best friend is her Purell hand sanitizer. She hasn’t been out of her San Francisco apartment for months. But knowing Nim is all alone on an island needing help, and prodded by her own adventure hero, she ventures out against her fears.  So there’s the interesting set up of the plot, the rest of the story is the adventures of Alex Rover the writer heading to the island to help out Nim, the real heroine.

The film suffers from some scenes and dialogues that appear to be banal and trite.  With its interesting storyline I think it can be done better with more creativity and imagination.  Having said that, I must say that the movie is beautifully shot on location in Queensland, Australia.  In a day and age when kids, and parents, for that matter, find it impossible to have fun outside of video games and electronic gadgets, this movie and the book can offer a wholesome alternative.

There is a new edition of the book that’s a movie tie-in, including 8 pages of color pictures from the film. It is illustrated whimsically by Kerry Millard.  A fun read.  And for all the budding biologists, zoologists, oceanographers, and for that matter, environmentalists in your home, this is a must-read. 

The intended age group I feel should be a bit lower for both the movie and the book.  I’d say a target audience and reader Age 6 – 10 would be more appropriate than the now 9 – 12.  

The best combination:  Go see the movie and then to the bookstore.

Now with that combination, I’ll have to give it

                  ~ ~ ~ Ripples 

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

4 thoughts on “Nim’s Island (2008)”

  1. Sounds good enough to give it a whirl. I like films with real live actors for kids movies. There’s too much over-board violence possible in animation. And I think my son at ten years old would like the film because he is a huge nature buff. Right up his alley. Thanks!


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