[Review]Fantasy island evokes the spirit of youth

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[Review]Fantasy island evokes the spirit of youth

Don’t expect too much from this pre-teen flick if you are a down-to-earth person, as “Nim’s Island” is full of fantasy and imagination.

The island is in the middle of nowhere, inhabited by 11-year-old Nim Rusoe (Abigail Breslin) and her father Jack (Gerard Butler).

Wild animals live with them on this coral island. There’s Fred the iguana, Chica the turtle, Galileo the pelican and Selki the sea lion. They can all sing, dance and communicate with Nim.

Father and daughter live in a secret tree house that they built on the island. They’ve lived there ever since Nim lost her mother when she was young. Nim was told that her mother was swallowed by a whale.

Miracles happen on this island ? Nim defeats a bunch of buccaneer pirates with the help of her wildlife friends.

Then Jack, an oceanographer, gets lost at sea during a heavy storm but he gets back to the island unscathed after being adrift at sea without any food.

While Nim’s dad is lost at sea, Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster), a big-time writer based in San Francisco, contacts the tree house. Rover created Nim’s favorite adventure character, Alex Rover.

Alexandra wrote Jack an e-mail asking about his research on volcanoes for her upcoming novel. Later, she is the one helping Nim when her dad doesn’t come back to the island.

Casting Jodie Foster as Alexandra is one of film’s flaws, in my opinion.

The actress is more at home playing serious roles rather than over-the-top comic parts.

Sounds childish?

Well, that’s what the film is all about ? imaginary and fanciful adventures. And trust.

That’s the message that directors Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin want to communicate, perhaps, especially to those adults who have lost their child-like sense of adventure.

In the film, Jack cries out, “Adventures are all about trust” and “Be the hero of your own life story.”

Besides, even if you usually prefer films that offer more of a slice of contemporary life, there is nothing better than to take off on a refreshing journey to a coral island.

The scenic landscape definitely cools you down in the summer heat.

The film was shot on the Gold Coast and Hinchinbrook Island in Queensland, Australia.

There’s a reason for setting the film Down Under. The film is based on Aussie writer Wendy Orr’s 2001 children’s book of the same title.

Nim’s Island may seem an old-fashioned adventure story, somewhat like Steven Spielberg’s “Hook” (2001), especially when you compare it to modern adventure films like “The Chronicles of Narnia” or “The Lord of the Rings.”

Adventures that take place in Peter Pan’s Neverland are similar to those on Nim’s island: Both stories encourage you to rediscover the spirit of youth.

And how can anyone forget the happily-ever-after endings to fantasies? “The writer [Alexandra], and the scientist [Jack]. That’s how their story began. How does it end, exactly? Nobody knows,” says Nim at the end of the film.

Nim’s Island

Fantasy, Adventure / English

96 min.

Now playing

By Lee Eun-joo Staff Reporter [angie@joongang.co.kr]
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