“Nimona” is based on ND Stevenson’s graphic novel. I was bored and went to Netflix. “Nimona” was the first recommendation, and all I knew was that some people liked it. It wasn’t until I saw a young child become a knight that I started asking questions, wondering what would happen next with this kid. Becoming more invested, I was drawn to the screen. After being bought and shut down by Disney, Blue Sky made this impactful and relatable final movie. In the final moments, I was left crying and more attached to the different characters presented in this movie.
“Nimona” follows selfless and cautious commoner Ballister Boldheart (Riz Ahmed) who was given the opportunity to become a knight the queen. The queen was killed while knighting Ballister, and he was framed. He was forced into hiding until a fiery and mischievous Nimona (Chloë Grace Moretz) found him. She wanted him to be her villain boss, but Ballister tells her he isn’t the villain he is made out to be. Nimona eventually agrees to help Ballister clear his name if she can become his sidekick.
This movie allows room for character development for all characters as well as room to connect to the audience and let them feel heard. The main characters all represent something an audience member could be going through. Nimona’s shapeshifting powers can be seen as someone who’s genderfluid or transgender, and she is shunned for her changes.
A problem close-minded people have with “Nimona” is the ‘forced inclusivity’ and queer representation. In the comic, the relationship between Ballister and famed knight Ambrosius was one of the friends turned enemies. The movie provides a different perspective where the two characters were once in a relationship, and this allowed them to be connected in a different way. With Ambrosius being the top knight and having the responsibility of finding Ballister, we see the betrayal, the hesitation Ambrosius is faced with, and the tension between friends and lovers.
With recent movies becoming such a success for their animation such as “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” and “Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse,” “Nimona”’s animation is just as enjoyable. The cinematography is attention-grabbing with the blocky yet smooth animation style compared to the average Disney movie or mid-2000s DreamWorks. The animation is something that anyone could enjoy because it is a little goofy but also colorful in a homey way. Many of the small animation details changed and influenced a large portion of my view of the film. Ballister explained to Nimona he wasn’t a criminal, yet he did it while yelling with a broken bottle in his hand. He tosses it to the side after realizing it. The animation shows a change in his face and a little regret as he feels he isn’t helping himself. The graphics kept a dynamic setting that wasn’t overwhelming.
The humor isn’t forced and jokes aren’t overused like other films have been recently criticized for. The comedy in “Nimona” works to add to the adventurous and heartfelt story. The jokes are part of the characters. Nimona is a misunderstood girl who copes with her trauma in a comedic tone that doesn’t dismiss her character and also isn’t cringe. Her ability to be her carefree self makes her funny. Ballister is cautious and does his best to stay under the radar. With Nimona making that difficult for him, the audience enjoys his attempts to continue this life with Nimona spicing it up, and it’s part of his character. Our two main characters’ dissonance creates the perfect comedy.
The plot of this film is something we’ve seen before two opposite characters work together to save their home. One of them is different from the norm and the main character doesn’t accept them, but later they begin bonding. An argument separates them, but they reconcile and finish their job. It’s not new. The approach is what makes the movie great. The provided backstories solidify the skepticism, longing for a new friendship, and disagreements. We see why Nimona doesn’t like people, why Ambrosius is so uptight and obedient, and why Ballister’s so cautious to move about life as a “criminal”.
Strong character development made this great, too. Side characters with minimal purpose in the story better themselves to help the heroes or redeem themselves. Ambrosius becomes more poised, standing up for himself and against the monarchy. From childhood, he was trained to be the best and to live up to his legacy of being a descendant of the kingdom’s savior. He has a reluctant responsibility, but he learns to be his own person in the end.
The movie is something anyone can enjoy with an open mind. That acceptance can make this movie greater than it already is. It isn’t perfect because of the generic plot and predictable moments, but it’s a relief of a movie that leaves you emotional. I wanted to skip scenes because of anger or foreshadowed downhearted moments.
“Nimona” is available on Netflix, with a message reminding the audience it’s okay to reach out and there are available resources at www.wannatalkaboutit.com. It hits harder after watching the movie, too.