Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.


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» Saturday, June 20, 2009
Unfulfilled Fantasies
James came home sticky—it's hard to air condition that civic center—and dehydrated, and tired from having been on his feet all day. Two of his models placed third.

I was hoping to go to JoAnn to pick up a couple of gifts with the coupons, but he was almost asleep on his feet and I didn't feel like driving. There will be other 50 percent off coupons.

He warmed up the rotisserie chicken we picked up at BJ's yesterday and had it with Ramen noodles. Later I put on the movie I'd gotten from Netflix: Nim's Island.

Warning: spoilers:

Nim Russo, age 11, lives on a volcanic tropical island in a cool treehouse (fitted with solar panels and satellite phone/internet) with her father, a marine biologist obsessed by plankton. He's trying to discover a new species which he promises to name after Nim. Nim's mother died when she was small; an oceanographer, she died when she was "swallowed by a whale" (Russo's tale to Nim). Nim, a resourceful, ingenuous child, has three friends, Selkie, a sea lion; Freddy, a bearded lizard; and Galileo, a pelican, and lives vicariously through the books that come with supplies sent monthly to the island, especially those adventure tales written by Alex Rover, an intrepid explorer in the Indiana Jones mode. (Nim was originally supposed to have imaginary friends in the guise of Huck Finn and Alice [in Wonderland], but theese were removed and the scenes refilmed.) Russo goes off for two days, leaving Nim behind because she is concerned about sea turtle eggs. A storm comes up, leaving Russo adrift and Nim increasingly afraid, especially when a "pirate ship" called The Buccaneer appears to be invading the island. So, using their satellite e-mail, Nim sends a desperate note to Alex Rover, who earlier wrote to Russo for some information about the island's volcano, and pleads with Rover to come help her. But "Alex Rover" is really Alexandra Rover, an agoraphobe who hasn't left her house in over 20 years, not even to get the mail. Can Alexandra conquer her fear and help Nim?

Sounds exciting, no? Well, it was disappointing, which was sad because Nim (Abigail Breslin) was a great character and the storyline promised a rousing adventure. Sadly, Alexandra's efforts to leave her home, and then to make her way to Nim, unlocking her own life, are mostly played for laughs. Dad's plight is sort of suspenseful, but he's got help since the pelican keeps bringing him tools to help him (the animals are slightly anthropormorphized, which is annoying). The "pirates" turn out to be a cruise ship crew looking for a lone island on which to host a luau for a bunch of fat Australian tourists. (Apparently what the book explains that the movie doesn't is that Nim's mom died because a bunch of rowdy tourists from a cruise ship frightened the whale she was studying, which is why Dad told Nim to beware of the ship.) Nim's ingenious "solutions" to drive away the tourists includes having Selkie fart after eating rotten fish and launching Freddy and his lizard friends as bombs. Alexandra finally makes it to the island, doesn't help Nim at all, but is there when Russo returns, and the two apparently fall in love at first sight. Sigh...I know this was supposed to be an adventure/kids' fantasy, but the plot at least needs to make sense, have suspense, and above all the movie should have a little heart. Nim's relationship with her dad and her animal friends was sweet, but not enough to carry the movie. We're not sure why we should care about Alexandra, unless it's just because of her disability. Several exciting things happen, but only about half of them are really suspenseful.

Frankly, I enjoyed all the making-of shorts, including a neat one with Breslin befriending the sea lions, more than most of the movie.

YMMV...but I wouldn't pay for it. Borrow it from the library or Netflix.

We started our new chat schedule tonight. Way back when Remember WENN was still on the air, we used to start at nine, with those on the West Coast joining later. As the years have gone by, chat has gotten pushed back and pushed back until we were starting at eleven. Since James went on his new schedule, I asked if we might start it at least an hour earlier, if it wouldn't disadvantage those on PDT. But they said it was okay, so we started at ten.

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