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Laramie Movie Scope:
Nim's Island

Strictly for kids

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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April 6, 2008 -- Watching this movie is sort of like stepping into a time machine to 40 years ago when Disney used to make movies like this all the time, movies like “Swiss Family Robinson,” “That Darn Cat,” and “The Incredible Journey.” This is not a Disney movie (but one of the film's production companies Walden Media, used to be partnerned with Disney), but it follows the old Disney formula: cute, well-trained animals and kids operating in some alternate dimension where there are no swear words, no real dangers and hardly any human beings that aren't pure Caucasian. This film does have some Polynesian people in it briefly, though, so it isn't totally in the old Disney formula.

The plot of this film is sort of like “Home Alone” combined with “Romancing the Stone.” A kid, Nim Rusoe (Abigail Breslin of “Little Miss Sunshine”) is left alone on a tropical island when her father, Jack Rusoe (Gerard Butler of “300” who also plays Alex Rover in the film) sails off to an atoll to collect plankton samples and gets caught in a storm. Nim takes it upon herself to repel invaders to the island whom she imagines to be pirates. They are, in fact, tourists on a tour ship with a buccaneer theme. She bombards the tourists with lizards and her pet sea lion gases them with flatulence, but it takes a volcanic eruption to get the tourists moving.

Nim's favorite books feature the adventures of Alex Rover, a kind of Indiana Jones character whose specialty is escapes from desperate situations. As with the pirates, Nim confuses fiction with fact, and contacts the author of the Alex Rover books, Alexandra Rover (played by Jodie Foster of “The Brave One”) by email (Nim has a computer and satellite uplink powered by solar cells). She asks for Alex Rover's help, not knowing that Alexandra rover is an author so afraid of the world she hasn't stepped out of her apartment in over a year. Alexandra is moved to action and makes the arduous journey to the remote island in the South China Sea (the filming location was near Australia).

Just when the story gets interesting, it ends. I was expecting Alexandra and Nim to come up with some scheme to rescue Nim's father. I was expecting to see more interplay between the three characters. Instead, the three main characters remain separate during almost the entire movie (except that Alexandra has quite a few conversations with her imaginary hero, Alex Rover). So what remains? We have a cute kid, several cute, well-trained animals (a sea lion, pelican and a lizard) and a few funny pratfalls. This is a very lightweight movie. It is mainly a movie for kids, but is tolerable for adults. As a strictly kid's movie it rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2008 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)