Nimona is an animated film created for Netflix that came out a few weeks ago. It’s directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, the latter of whom has only really directed the animated Will Smith film, Spies in Disguise.
Nimona itself is a really interesting animated project. Most straight-to-Netflix films don’t tend to do too well, especially animated ones- they have a bad reputation. This had writers from films like Big Hero 6 working on it, so it definitely had some pedigree to it. Not to mention that it did very well via word of mouth. This film has definitely built some buzz through Twitter conversations alone, and Netflix actually did a decent job marketing it.
To cut to the chase, Nimona is really a film that you should watch if you have a Netflix subscription. I really like this movie.
The plot itself centres around the knight, Ballister (Riz Ahmed), who after being framed for killing the Queen, is broken out of prison and saved by a young shapeshifting girl named Nimona (Chloe Grace Moretz), who in return, insists on making herself her sidekick in villainy. Ballister uses this to recover his image. Whilst discovering there is more to this conspiracy than initially thought.
The thing that really does this film justice is the animation, while not incredibly detailed, is incredibly expressive and stylistic. The performances are great also. Riz Ahmed and Chloe Grace Moretz give some of the best performances of their careers, they are absolutely fantastic in these roles. Chloe really brings Nimona to life, and she’s probably one of my favourite animated characters in recent memory now. I really dig the design that they went for as well as the sheer off-the-wall nature of the character, Ballister makes for a very good protagonist – he’s very likeable and has good development, particularly with that fact that Nimona is one of the few films that really examines the nature of power structures and historical interpretation of those structures. Without going into detail, it’s actually a very mature film, particularly with how it handles the view of Nimona by people in the town.
It’s also a very interesting idea. Unlike projects like Bright, or Onward, this fantasy film goes a little further- they say what if we had swords and sorcery in a world like Cyberpunk of Final Fantasy 7. There’s a technology like futuristic cars and laser weapons, and it makes it a very unique and interesting world to explore. It does do a very good job of paying homage to the roots of its inspirations, particularly Dungeons and Dragons.
I thought that they did a very good job establishing the relationship between Ballister and Ambrosius since it’s one of the most realistic relationships I’ve seen in an animated film in a long time, and considering I reviewed Elemental last week, that’s saying a lot. Both the connection and divide between them are very well handled. Helped by the fact that Ambrosius gets a great performance from Eugene Lee Yang. In fact, there are lots of good performances here, even from RuPaul!
The film mercifully only goes on for an hour and forty-two minutes, it isn’t needlessly stretched out, and it uses that time very well.
Something else that really made me like this film was the fact that it feels very well thought out, it subverts your expectations at many points and it really understands its subject matter and how to move the plot along. It delves into a lot of socio-political issues and makes them understandable to families, and it does this in an excellent way.
This film is obviously going to get some backlash, but frankly, if you’re going to bash this film I don’t want you to be reading my reviews anyway, particularly if your criticism about the film comes from the fact that this film features a gay couple. The fact that it would get that backlash from people that would support bigotry shows that this film is doing the right thing in my opinion. You wouldn’t have to make too many changes to make this film set in our world!
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