Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dear Charlie:

It's amusing to me how often either research or mood-setting for a book puts me in touch with stuff I'd have never been interested in otherwise.

See, I was looking for stuff with the feel of The Secret Garden. Stuff with offbeat kids, imagination taking a front seat, adventure, self-discovery. That kind of thing. Fairies, maybe, like the Spiderwick Chronicles or Fairy Tale: A True Story. Even The Little Princess.

Heh, I'm sure the people at Family Video don't know what to make of me. One week, I'm renting horror stock. The next, anything with an explosion. The next, children's flicks. Heheh.

Anyway, as I was perusing the family movie section and bemoaning the dearth of quality children's fair -- for God's sake, does EVERY MOVIE have to star either the Olsen twins or Hannah Montana?? -- I stumbled upon Nim's Island. I recognized the title because... wait for it... Gerard Butler's in it.

Yes. I rented this flick because of an actor I like. Ugh. You'd think I'd have learned from that mistake in past, but oh well.

Turns out, this one's pretty cute. I don't usually like cute, but this is cute in that "spunky kid, build a village out of bamboo and coconuts, good God is Gerard Butler gorgeous" kind of way that I can stand. Nim is precious, but she's also smart, imaginative, inventive, and resourceful. She's a nice mix of precocious and fragile, having lost her mother but having a loving (if a bit absorbed) father.

Mr. Butler actually plays two parts in this flick. One is the loving father who has raised a gem of a daughter who can take care of herself but needs the security of a parent figure. The other is a character in a book. You read that right. Nim's favorite author is Alex Rover, supposedly a great adventurer. The real Alex Rover is not only not Gerard Butler in some seriously kickin adventurer boots... but not even a man. He's a woman, and the woman is an OCD agoraphobic who hasn't left her apartment in ages.

But that doesn't stop both Nim and the real Alex from conversing with him. Those conversations are the real gem of this flick. Nim talks to him to keep her father close while he's struggling for his life lost at sea. Alex talks to him first for inspiration for the latest story, and then to psyche herself up to help Nim, who she finds out is all alone and scared out of her mind for her missing father.

Good times.

But I gotta admit... if not for Gerard Butler, I totally wouldn't have watched this. From what little I'd read or seen of it, it looked a little... Disney. God, I'm so sick of Disney kid movies. With helpful animals. And cutesy plots.

However, I'm glad I was wrong. This is an entertaining flick. Maybe not one I'll rush out to buy, but one I'm glad I rented.

Um... not sure it helped with story inspiration, though. Heh. Oh, well.

Win some, lose some.


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