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NIM’S ISLAND – Patrick Doyle

Original Review by Clark Douglas

The rather silly family adventure film “Nim’s Island” tells the story of a young girl (Abigail Breslin) who is stranded on a deserted island when her father (Gerard Butler) is lost at sea. The girl requests the assistance of her favorite author (Jodie Foster), who in turn reluctantly attempts to rescue the young child.

The “Romancing the Stone”-influenced flick is scored by Patrick Doyle, who provides a perfectly pleasant lightweight action score. Things begin on a bit of a predictable note, with a sweet main theme for piano, strings, and acoustic guitar. It’s a nice piece, if not especially memorable. It pops up every now and then, but the album features a reasonably diverse array of thematic ideas.

The music is a tad schizophrenic early on, with a variety of nice ideas that rarely stick around long enough to make an impression. It’s not quite Mickey-Mousey, but certainly somewhat bitty. At times, it’s a little reminiscent of the sort of thing Doyle was writing for Nanny McPhee, with a bit less inventiveness in the orchestration and a bit more swashbuckling vigor.

Later in the album, the action music begins to focus a bit more, and we are given some very entertaining cues such as “Helicopter Storm”, “Woman Overboard”, and “Alex Nearly Drown” (a back-to-back-to-back trio of fun). The expected heartwarming swelling strings appear in the final two cues, providing a nice finish to the album. I know I’m not the only one who thinks that Doyle’s writing has been a little less than top-drawer in recent times, but as with his score for “Igor”, this one provides just enough quality to make up for the shortcomings.

Rating: ***½

Track Listing:

  • Nim’s Island (3:57)
  • Baby Turtles (2:44)
  • Galileo Helps Jack (4:11)
  • Volcano and Door (3:28)
  • Buccaneer Ship (2:46)
  • Become the Hero (5:43)
  • The Great Outdoors (1:48)
  • Airport, Whale (3:09)
  • Lizard Attack (3:45)
  • Volcano Erupts (5:10)
  • Helicopter Storm (1:42)
  • Woman Overboard (3:42)
  • Alex Nearly Drowns (2:43)
  • Alex Swims Away (3:17)
  • It’s Empty (2:28)
  • Nim Sees Jack (2:22)

Running Time: 52 minutes 55 seconds

Varèse Sarabande VSD-6889 (2008)

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