Blu-ray Disc Review
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Film Year: 2008
Film Length: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Video Codec: AVC @ 35MBPS
Disc Size: BD-50
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Film Rating: PG / Canadian G
Release Date: August 5, 2008.
Starring: Abigail Breslin (Nim Rusoe), Jodie Foster (Alexandra Rover), Gerard Butler (Jack Rusoe/Alex Rover)
Screenplay by: Joseph Kwong, Paula Mazur, and Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett
Directed by: Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett
Be the hero of your own story.
Nim’s Island is an adventure about Nim and her Father Jack whom live on their own isolated island in the middle of the ocean. The story’s problem begins to unfold as Nim’s father leaves on a two day expedition while leaving her behind; at this point things quickly begin to go wrong.
Inclement weather strands her father at sea and forces Nim to hold down the fort. Without knowing the fate of her father, Nim must also deal with unexpected and unwelcome visitors while in the process contacting Alexandra (Foster) for help.
As an adventure movie it’s not all that bad, although definitely geared more towards a younger (early teens) crowd. If you are willing to let your imagination loose it can be alright for adults as well. There is the key to enjoying this film: try not to take it too seriously.
VIDEO QUALITY /
The overall video quality of this BD is quite good. Only a couple things prevented me from awarding that final star. I did notice a few grainy scenes near the beginning of the movie but probably fewer than 5 overall. This appears to change as the film goes on. I also felt that those few scenes looked flat colour-wise. Without knowing the intention of the filmmakers, it’s hard to say if this is intentional from the filmmakers or if this is problematic. I haven’t seen the film during its theatrical run so I have no other reference at this time. Otherwise the colors were warm and rich for the remainder of the film as I would expect on a tropical island. Again…it’s all expectations…a dirty word in my opinion because it can easily lead to flawed judgement on an otherwise perfectly good transfer.
Resolution is quite good throughout. There are several wide angle shots of the island that make you feel like you are there. It is not consistently that good though as some photography appears softer than others. I never saw and evidence of compression artefacts or edge enhancement.
AUDIO QUALITY /
This is not really a movie that requires a lot of busy audio, and as such makes pretty subtle use of all 5 channels.
The dialogue is dominant throughout the movie really working the center channel, a little too hard at points for my tastes. Basically if someone is talking they are centered on the screen so… The surrounds provide ambience but aren’t particularly immersive with the exception of the storm scenes.
Overall it does the menial task its given well. However, considering the abundance of dialogue I feel a little more attention could have been paid to its relative level at times and perhaps the audio design could have utilized the main channels a bit more when the scene allowed. This would have lessened the focus in the middle and offer a wider soundstage.
SPECIAL FEATURES /
We have quite the list of special features here.
Unfortunately it would seem that there is some long running desire to conserve space (or something?) when it comes to the special features. After watching the feature in 1080p, the drop to sub SD (think YouTube, ok well maybe not that bad, but still reminiscent) was pretty drastic for all the “special” features. A plus is that the aspect ratio is retained for all but one or two quick scenes.
Audio takes a hit as well, down to 2 channels, but still of decent quality. I didn’t find this to be all that big a deal.
In this commentary Jodie and Abigail describe their experiences leading up to and during their time filming. Jodie is somewhat interesting as she describes what it was like and providing some information about the islands, environment, etc… Abigail is, well, young. Abigail is not particularly offensive, but not really entertaining either.
About what one would expect from a Director/Writer combination. They talk about casting, scene setup and inspiration, as well as working with the animal actors. I want to sum this up by saying that although the content may not be all that interesting to some, they do present it in an inviting manner.
The majority of the deleted scenes were part of a plot element that was removed from the movie. I felt that calling them deleted was a bit inaccurate.
I tried the “explorer” mode, which is kinda like watching a “Pop-Up Video”. Basically interesting tid-bits of information about the cast, scene, etc… pop-up through-out the movie. The “view” mode is a PIP representation of similar information.
This is a behind the scenes look at Nim’s three prominent animal co-stars, Selkie (Sea-lion), Fred (Bearded dragon), and Galileo (Pelican). It’s pretty much like a video trip to Sea-World: you don’t really get much out of it, but it’s neat to see the animals up close.
This segment is devoted to Abigail and her role as Nim. There is feedback from Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett again, as well as Jodie describing how they felt about Abigail in the roll. Abigail also talks about her experiences on set as well as talking about her daily routine.
Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett talking about filming the water scenes. Abigail shares her experiences as well. Mostly behind the scenes footage.
Remember those choose your own adventure books you read as a kid? This was a somewhat interesting take on the idea. You fill in the blanks on a more or less established story, pick your theme music, and press play. “Your” story is then presented in book form with illustrations, complete with animated page advance and of course your theme music. I have to give credit for something different.
I grouped these together because I’ve never gotten the point of trying to put anything resembling a game on a DVD/BD. I just can’t picture anyone saying “Hey, I feel like playing the Coconut Soccer Game on the Nim’s Island BD disc today” and I “played” this movie on a PS3.
I did give Coconut Soccer a quick try and it basically re-enforced my feelings on this topic.
More information pop-ups.
IN THE END...
Nim’s Island is a fun adventure film that kids and open minded adults should enjoy. On occasion I did shake my head at the film but overall I enjoyed it.
James Ferfolia guest writing for Michael Osadciw
August 20, 2008.
*James's review system consists of
Playstation 3 BD source with HDMI to Sony KDS-50A2000 SXRD,
Tributaries Optical to Marantz SR-5300 functioning as pre-amp,
2 Anthem MCA-30 amplifiers,
4 Paradigm Atom v2,
1 Paradigm CC-170 v2
1 Paradigm PS-1000 v1,
Monster m550i interconnects, Audioquest F14 speaker wire