Return to Nim’s Island opens with 14-year-old Nim (Bindi Irwin) swimming among colourful coral with her best friend, Selkie the sea lion, and collecting protozoa samples for her scientist father, Jack (Matthew Lillard). The only other human inhabitant of Nim’s Island is Jack’s research assistant, Felix (Nathan Derrick). But the island is under threat from developers, who want to buy it and build a resort. Intent on stopping the sale, Jack heads off to mainland Australia to meet with the Minister of the Environment. Nim convinces Jack to leave her on the island with Felix. She intends to prove that three endangered animal species exist on the island, which would ensure the island’s protection from the developers.
Fourteen-year-old Edmund (Toby Wallace) lives on the mainland. He has been planning his own adventure for years, saving his money and buying camping equipment so that he can run away to Nim’s Island. To get to the island, he hires a charter boat captain named Booker (John Waters) and Booker’s two sons (Sebastian Gregory and Jack Pearson). Unfortunately Edmund doesn’t know that the unscrupulous Bookers intend to poach the island’s native and endangered animals.
Edmund and Nim get off to a shaky start when they first meet, but when Edmund proves his usefulness, Nim warms to him. When Booker and his sons start poaching the island’s animals, events take a nasty turn for Nim, Edmund and Felix.
This movie has infrequent violence, which is slapstick and comical at times. For example:
- In a couple of scenes, Edmund’s parents have heated arguments and shout at each other. Edmund gets upset, packs his bags and runs away.
- In one slapstick scene, a seal shoves Felix with its nose, pushing him over a bench in a laboratory. A liquid nitrogen cylinder accidentally goes off. It freezes the seat of Felix’s pants and makes the material break and crumble away, showing his underpants beneath.
- In a comical scene, a swarm of bees attacks three men. The bees drive the men into the sea, and the men slap at their heads and bodies as they run. After the attack, one of the men appears badly stung. His face is covered in lumps, and his eyes are swollen shut.
- Booker threatens Nim with a hunting knife. He says, ‘I’ve gutted fish bigger than you’. Nim throws a rock at Booker’s face, and he falls over. A bookcase falls on top of him.
- A man threatening Nim with a hunting knife says that he’ll hurt Nim’s seal if Nim doesn’t do what she’s told.
- Nim and Edmund edge their way across a cliff face. Rocks fall from above and threaten to knock them off the cliff. Edmund slips and falls, but Nim grabs him by the shirt collar. While they’re trying to squeeze through a narrow fissure in the cliff face, Booker throws large rocks from above, narrowly missing them. Booker also throws flaming branches into the fissure’s entrance, trapping Nim and Edmund.
- Jack comes up behind Booker, hits him over the head with a log and then punches him in the face, knocking him out.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- Booker’s two sons fall into quicksand and sink up to their shoulders.
- Edmund loses his footing and slips and falls into a stream. He is washed over a high waterfall and plummets down, screaming, into a deep pool below. Nim jumps into the stream and plummets down the waterfall after Edmund. They both swim to the bank and get out unhurt.
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:
- Nim and Edmund find Nim’s pet seal, Selkie, trapped in a cage in a distressed and dehydrated state. Nim and Edmund pull Selkie down onto the beach and into the water where she recovers.
- A couple of scenes show the poachers’ hoard of dozens of caged animals. Nim unsuccessfully tries to let the animals out of their cages.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Nothing of concern
This movie has some low-level sexual references and innuendo. For example:
- Nim says to Felix, ‘Your crush on my dad is so embarrassing’.
- A young man mentions sending his girlfriend a ‘kiss goodnight text’.
- Edmund is talking to Nim’s father and says, ‘I just came here for an adventure with your daughter – no funny stuff’.
- Jack is talking about Edmund staying with Nim and says, ‘I don’t trust teenage boys. I should know – I used to be one’.
- A young man says that his brother has had experience dating ugly animals. The brother says, ‘You should know – your girlfriend looks like a warthog’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
None of concern
Nudity and sexual activity
None of concern
The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Apple computers; Duracell batteries; and Walmart/Ozark Trail outdoor equipment.
This movie has some name-calling and put-downs that children might copy.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Return to Nim’s Island is a sequel to Nim’s Island. It’s a family movie with lots of positive messages about the importance of saving the environment and endangered animals. The movie is likely to entertain older children and young teenagers with its balance of comedy, adventure, suspense, very mild romance and attractive teenage stars.
Despite its G rating, the Classification Board warns that the movie has ‘very mild violence’, and we don’t recommend the movie for children under seven years. It does have some violent scenes, as well as scenes of people and animals in danger. These are likely to scare children under seven years and children slightly older than this, so we also recommend parental guidance for children up to nine years.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include selflessness, problem-solving, courage and perseverance.
You could talk with your children about how Nim is a strong female role model. But you might also want to talk about the possible real-life consequences of putting your life in danger by going up against hardened criminals as Nim does.