Plot: What’s it about?
Nim (Abigail Breslin) lives on an isolated tropical island, with her father Jack (Gerard Butler) and a few close friends to keep her company. Her father is a scientist who studies the ocean, so the remote island is ideal and while her friends are all local wildlife, she still has quite a bond with them. When Jack needs to spend a couple days out on the water as part of his studies, Nim is allowed to stay behind. She wants to oversee some turtle eggs about to hatch and after all, her friend Selkie the sea lion is there to watch over her. But when a typhoon strikes and Jack’s boat is lost at sea, Nim is alone and forced to relive the same kind of tragic events that took her mother’s life. Alone, she reaches out to author Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster), but will the famous writer even respond and if so, how will Nim’s situation impact her own life?
The success of films based on children’s literature has sparked a run of such projects, with Walden Media’s Nim’s Island being one of the productions. This isn’t the grand adventure as seen in The Golden Compass or The Chronicles of Narnia however, more of a smaller scale tale. As long as you can overlook some logic gaps needed to make some unlikely events roll into motion, Nim’s Island is decent fun. The story has some moments that will make adults scratch their heads, but for younger audiences, it offers beautiful visuals, fun animals, and brisk humor. Jodie Foster is actually quite good here too, despite the light material, while Abigail Breslin and Gerard Butler are solid as well. I wouldn’t put Nim’s Island with the best children’s book adaptations, but it is fun and worth a rental if you have younger viewers to please.
Video: How does it look?
Nim’s Island is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. This might not be the best Blu-ray transfer I’ve seen, but it is one of the best, to be sure. I was dazzled by the visuals here and even after a few viewings, I was hard pressed to find quibbles. The visuals really shine in the island scenes, which are so lush and vibrant, bursting with color and detail. The smallest of textures is visible, while overall depth is simply superb. The scenes off the island look excellent too, with gloomier colors, but still well detailed and with accurate contrast levels. Simply a wonderful visual effort, well deserving of the full five stars.
Audio: How does it sound?
DTS HD 5.1 option isn’t as dynamic as the visuals, but it still packs a nice punch. The surrounds are used for ambient noise and atmosphere for the most part, which is vital for the island scenes. After all, when you hear the little details of that kind of landscape, it adds so much realism. A few scenes ramp up the total power, such as the storm at sea sequence, but the movie doesn’t have a lot of intense scenes. So when the need arises, the mix supplies some boom, but even in the more laid back scenes, this soundtrack delivers top notch performance. This disc also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
You can choose between two audio commentaries, one with stars Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin, the second with writers & directors Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. The track with the stars is more relaxed and conversational, so it is more enjoyable, but the technical track offers some nice production insights. So each track is good for what it is and regardless of which one(s) you sample, it is time well spent. Nim’s Spyglass mode supplies some picture in picture content as you watch, similar to other PIP modes found on Blu-ray discs. This disc also includes some brief featurettes, deleted scenes, a trivia track, and some interactive games for younger viewers to explore.