“Be the hero of your own life story!”
“Don’t hand me that line – I wrote that line!”
A unique escape to a special island that attracts several characters for different reasons. Abigail Breslin (The Ultimate Gift) plays Nim Rusoe, the incredibly resourceful daughter of a marine biologist, played by Gerard Butler (P.S., I Love You) in this fantasy adventure. As her father, Nim gets the best of both worlds as she has the freedom to directly apply her academic/book knowledge into the real world.
This close-knit duo live by their own rules in a “own secret world” full of wildlife and intelligent, helpful animals including a turtle, lizards, a pelican named Galileo and a sea-lion. Their past family tragedy, told as a separate story in beginning scenes, provides heartwarming strength and creative memories that continue to inspire them.
Jodie Foster showcases her considerable talent in a role full of subtle nuances and comedic moments as the reclusive author of Nim’s favorite book series, Alexandra Rover. “I don’t want to touch the world, it’s not sanitary,” Alexandra says as she works alone in her San Francisco apartment. The main character of Alexandra’s popular book series, Alex Rover, also played by Gerard Butler, could have used a better introduction, but functions as a creative narrative technique. Foster provides some great situational comedy while anchoring the film in reality, otherwise it might float off like a balloon and audiences might not know what to think.
The narrative stays true to its own structure and doesn’t throw the audience for a loop with plot twists or unnecessary melodrama. Rising young star Breslin couldn’t have a better acting partner than Foster, as Nim and Alexandria create a lasting bond after a rocky start. “You will not be alone,” Alexandria says to Nim after Alexandria finds courage in her new responsibility – one of the most touching scenes of the film.
All three main characters have individual dialogue scenes where they wear their emotions out on their sleeves. Their respective journeys showcase some surprising physical abilities from these three actors. A few of the individual dialogue scenes and an impromptu dance feel a bit out-of-place, but audiences have several opportunities to invest emotionally into the characters and plot.
Alexandra’s boat driver also makes a great impression though filmmakers should’ve used subtitles for some of his dialogue. Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin write and direct this wonderful fantasy adventure, which was filmed in Australia. This dynamic duo makes extraordinary efforts to entertain the audience by going above the call of duty with their talented crew. For example, filmmakers use creative location shots spanning the whole globe with no text instead of the traditional transition with subtitles of the locations.
The appealing story animation enhances the film’s appeal while the tropical settings are realistic enough so the audience doesn’t feel like they’re on a movie set (though a couple of volcano scenes don’t quite make the grade). British film composer Patrick Doyle provides a great music score and the special-effects and creative animations enhance the visual appeal. Filmmakers also use modern elements to connect characters together.
Other woes usually associated with stress (911, airport security, plagiarism, etc.) connect the characters even more while providing some great comic relief. A successful extravaganza of escapism, based on the book of the same name from another collaborating couple, Wendy Orr and Kerry Millard. This 96 minute film comes highly recommended (***1/2 out of four stars) and is rated PG for mild adventure action and brief language. Watch the ending credits for a creative curtain call highlighting the funniest animal moments.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler