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2.5 stars

 2.5

Return to Nim's IslandTarget audience: This is a live-action adventure comedy, aimed at ages about 8 to 12 years.
Themes/values: You can't run away from your problems; "Embrace the chaos".
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Release date: 28 March 2013
Classification: G (very mild violence)


This is a sequel to the 2008 movie Nim's Island, about an 11-year-old girl, Nim, who lives on a remote but idyllic South Pacific island with her marine-biologist father. The original film starred Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler and Abigail Breslin as Nim.

In Return to Nim's Island, the premise is the same, but the cast is completely different. Nim is now played by Bindi Irwin, who sports an American accent. (Nim and her father are American.)

Nim is still the same intrepid, active 'nature girl' with a sea lion, marine iguana and cheeky rainbow lorikeet as best friends. But she is now 14 years old, and although still a tomboy, is not entirely uninterested in boys.

Enter Edmund, a 14-year-old boy who was a minor character in the first film. Because of trouble at home, Edmund runs away to the paradise of Nim's island, but unfortunately happens to bring a trio of poachers with him. With Nim's dad away in Brisbane trying to save the island from developers, it is up to Nim and Edmund to save the island's wildlife – and themselves – from the poachers.

As stories go, it's pretty much The Famous Five meets The Swiss Family Robinson, but without the Jodie Foster character, Return To Nim's Island doesn't have the heart of the original film. Fortunately, the filmmakers haven't laboured the teen-romance angle. Instead, Nim and Edmund start out as antagonists, then become allies and, ultimately, friends. Apart from a couple of hugs – one out of relief and one of affection – there is no icky smoochy stuff to get in the way of the good, old-fashioned adventure.

Besides, the target audience knows that cute animals are far more appealing than teen boys – and, thankfully, this film has plenty of those.


Language: No swearing, but a few insults, including: "Numbskull," "Little sucker," "Gross," "Stupid," "Dumb," "Idiot," "Ugly mug," "Chubby nerd," "Such a weirdo," "Dummy," "Runt," "Shove it," "Shut up" and "Pooping".

Violence/distressing scenes: Being a goodies vs baddies adventure comedy set on a tropical island, there is some necessary peril and violence. Most of it is mild physical comedy, in which no-one gets seriously hurt. However, there are one or two suspenseful scenes where Nim and Edmund face possible death, which could distress very young or sensitive children – but, of course, everything turns out all right in the end.

IN DETAIL <SPOILER ALERT>: A sea lion pushes a man in the backside, causing him to fall over (done as comedy); Nim and Edmund tumble down a steep hill, but neither is hurt; a man accidentally runs into a tree (comedy); Edmund slips and falls down a waterfall and Nim dives in to rescue him, but neither is hurt; a man gets trapped in a net (comedy); the bad guys get chased by bees (comedy) and one of them is badly stung in the face; a poacher threatens Nim and the sea lion with a knife; Nim and the poacher have a brief scuffle, but neither is seriously hurt; Nim and Edmund climb a steep and dangerous cliff; Edmund slips and nearly falls, but Nim catches him; Nim and Edmund get trapped in a cave by the poacher who, for no apparent reason, tries to kill the kids (!) by hurling rocks at them and setting fire to the cave; Nim's father hits the poacher on the back of the head with a piece of wood, then punches him in the face.

Sex/nudity: A young man is seen shirtless in one scene; a man's overalls get torn, revealing his colourful underpants; Nim and Edmund hug twice.

Bodily functions/grossness: A bird poos on a man's spectacles; a flock of birds rain poo down on the bad guys.

Drugs/alcohol/smoking: None.

Trailer:

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