When Ballister Boldheart (Riz Ahmed), a knight in a futuristic medieval world, is framed for a crime he didn’t commit, the only one who can help him prove his innocence is Nimona (Chloë Grace Moretz), a mischievous teen with a taste for mayhem – who also happens to be a shapeshifting creature Ballister has been trained to destroy. But with the entire kingdom out to get him, Nimona’s the best (or technically the only) sidekick Ballister can hope for. And as the lines between heroes, villains, and monsters start to blur, the two of them set out to wreak serious havoc – for Ballister to clear his name once and for all, and for Nimona to…just wreak serious havoc.
Imagine Steampunk forwarded to the future but still keeping today’s tech advances and you’ll have Nimona (now on Netflix) an amiable animated mixture of King Arthur, Dune and Star Wars anime.
The title character (voiced by Chloe Grace Moretz) is a shape shifter with a personality that is half Bugs Bunny and half the Joker who wants to be the sidekick of a disgraced Knight, Sir Ballister (Riz Ahmed). Both are trying to redeem themselves- Ballister from a false accusation of regicide and Nimona from the perception that she is an evil monster in human guise.
Nimona prefers to buck description of what exactly she is- ”I’m not a girl, I’m a shark”, she announces early. Her transformations from pink-haired miniskirted punkette to otter, ostrich, rhino, gorilla, girl-shaped and boy-shaped humanoids, kitty cat, pizza rat and blue whale who swallows its enemies and squirts them out of its blowhole with a snide delight- reflect her current fears and aspirations for human acceptance.
Nimona was once in development hell at Disney because its subplots involved several blooming LGBTQ liaisons. It was eventually acquired by Netflix and hastily completed and dumbed down considerably from its ND Stevenson graphic novel source. The result is a rush job- an uneven blend of adolescent angst and characters that never fully wants to grow up. It still has enough polish to throw off some rust and develop its own shine.
The ending is visually stunning and somewhat moving. It transcends its allegory of social paranoia that have politicians building their nationalistic visions on the backs of LGBTQ adolescent identities.
Nimona gets a 3.0out of 5 or a B.
- Robert L. Baird
- Lloyd Taylor
by ND Stevenson
- Karen Ryan
- Julie Zackary
- Randy Trager
- Erin Crackel
- June 14, 2023(Annecy)
- June 23, 2023(United States)
- June 30, 2023(Netflix)