"Knight Thoughts" - exclusive web content
Abigail Breslin stars in a energetic but whisper thin south sea adventure that borrows heavily from Home Alone and Jewel of the
4-11-08 "Knight Thoughts" web exclusive review
By Richard Knight, Jr.
Two gay audience favorites, Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler, take backseat to Abigail Breslin in the energetic but whisper thin south
sea adventure Nim's Island. The film, acceptable though not particularly fresh family fare, is neatly cut into three different stories
that converge at the end and favors Breslin as the title character who lives on the tiny tropical paradise of the title alone with her
scientist father. Butler is obsessed with finding a particular type of protozoa and leaves the self-sufficient Nim alone on the island
while he hunts down a tantalizing lead. Foster plays the author of a series of books featuring an Indiana Jones type character
named Alex Rover that Nim is an avid fan of. But Alex is really Alexandra and she's an agoraphobic San Franciscan who can't even
make it out to her mailbox. When Alexandra needs encouragement she visualizes Alex (also played by Butler) who urges her to
break out of her self-imposed prison. Alex is working on a new book about volcanoes and emails Nim's father after seeing an article
he's written in National Geographic.
But Nim's father is off on his expedition when the email arrives and it's at this point that all hell brooks loose. A tropical storm hits
that nearly capsizes his boat and knocks out communication between he and Nim. Meanwhile, an advance party from a cruise ship
has discovered the island and decided that it's the perfect place for day excursions for their passengers, though Nim is determined
to make the island appear a nightmare to the interlopers.
Nim has also been corresponding with Alexandra, thinking she is he, Alex, after reading the email to her father. She confesses her
plight: her father is missing, the cruise passengers are about to descend, AND her knee is infected after she took a tumble exploring
the island's volcano. She implores Alex to head for the island to help her out and stat! Overcoming her fears, Alexandra, in a
series of low comedy physical scenes, does just that (the scene where she encounters a snotty gay airport security guard is
amusing). Nim's father is also figuring out ingenious ways to keep his sinking ship afloat and is also heading home. As both
approach the tiny atoll Nim, with the help of her island friends (a lizard, pelican, etc.) is devising a series of catastrophes, ala those
Macaulay Culkin engineered in Home Alone, that will shoo away the cruise passengers for good.
If pretty much all of this sounds familiar it should - there are elements of Jewel of the Nile, Swiss Family Robinson, the aforementioned
Home Alone series, a slew of Disney pictures, and even the low budget Pippi Longstocking movies worked into the script (there's even
a bit of Dead Calm). But the familiarity doesn't exactly breed contempt as the movie bounces back among the many plot points
quickly enough, has lots of pretty tropical scenery, nice eye candy in Butler (and Foster for the ladies), and the presence of Breslin
who has yet to see her "real kid" acting abilities congeal. Foster plays a timid grown up character not unlike several she had to
reassure when she worked as a nonplussed child actor for Disney decades ago, a role that's about 180 degrees from her vigilante in
last year's The Brave One and a nice change of pace. For gay audiences there's also some ironic gender subtext to contemplate:
Foster fantasizing herself as a big, strong MALE hunk for one and seeing the actress once again walk off into the sunset with her
leading man (the physical incarnation of her character's fantasy) for another. Oh, the tangled gender webs those movie actors
weave for gay audiences to try and unravel!