Sunday, May 25, 2008


I don’t need to spend too much on this one. I lamented in my Horton Hears a Who review that 2008 was devoid of any great family films. Nim’s Island is probably the most well-meaning and the worst-made of all of them. It is truly horrible. Badly written, directed without any true vision, and acted with great vigor by Jodie Foster, Abigail Breslin, and Gerard Butler…but damn, how wrong they all are for this material.

Breslin might make a credible Nim in a stronger script, but here she just seems to be going through the motions. Butler hams it up in two roles (though one of them requires him to be off-screen for the majority of the film, which works out for him), but he can barely pull off a convincing American accent, let alone make us believe in his two characters. As for Foster, uh, yikes…she gives it her best, but this role is such a complete comic deadzone that it makes even an Oscar-winning icon like Jodie Foster seem like a simpering idiot.

Nim’s Island was directed by Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, and together they possess the filmmaking prowess of less-than-one competent director. Their film is imagination-less and ugly-looking, with ham-fisted camera moves and lousy special effects. The story is based on an apparently-beloved children’s book that I haven’t read—but it better be a masterpiece compared to this movie, which makes me never want to take my kids to the theater again. Not because there is anything immoral or wrong for them to see, but because I want them to grow to appreciate films that challenge them, make them think, and appreciate what fine filmmaking really is.

Nim’s Island is one of the worst examples of any of those three criteria, and one of the worst films of the year.

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