Nimona (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, written by Robert L. Baird, Lloyd Taylor and Pamela Ribon and starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Riz Ahmed, Eugene Lee Yang, Frances Conroy, Lorraine Toussaint, Beck Bennett, RuPaul, Indya Moore, Julio Torres, Sarah Sherman, Karen Ryan, Nick Bruno and Troy Quane.
Nimona, directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, is the type of movie that the Academy Awards would probably love to honor with a nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. That’s because it’s everything that good art should embody with its themes of bravery, hope, perseverance and a whole lot more. If the movie doesn’t play as wonderfully as it sounds due to some minor script decisions, it’s still a lot of fun to watch with Chloe Grace Moretz expertly voicing the title character, Nimona, who teams up with the disgraced Ballister Boldheart (Riz Ahmed) in a touching story of being true to one’s self and not allowing oneself to be pigeonholed into a distinct type. Nimona is about individuality above all else and is inspiring in most of the themes it presents to its audience.
Set in the future where medieval clashes with high-concept ideals, Ballister is about to be the first everyman to become a knight and Queen Valerin (Lorraine Toussaint) has been very impressed with Ballister’s qualities despite the fact that he has risen from nothing to become a nobleman of tremendous integrity. Valerin get killed by an accident in which Ballister’s sword is involved, and Ballister (who loses one of his arms) is sentenced to prison for the crime. Enter an interesting and quirky teenage girl named Nimona who quickly takes an interest in Ballister. In a hilarious scene, she believes that Ballister is planning on taking out revenge on those who wronged him. He’s not. Nimona’s got a lot of spunk and personality and the character also has a whole lot of heart as well.
It turns out that Nimona is a shape-shifter who can transform into pretty much anything or anyone and she turns into a young child at one point to try to help Ballister in his attempts to clear his name of wrongdoing. Nimona declares herself to be Ballister’s sidekick but Nimona is not simply a girl. She can become an ape or pretty much anything (she even becomes Ballister at one point) and Nimona doesn’t like to be categorized by Ballister in any distinct fashion. The Director (voice of the great Frances Conroy) is actually the one responsible for Valerin’s death which further complicates the fact that Nimona and Ballister are wanted by the authorities who are in hot pursuit of both of them.
While the Director is certainly villainous, Ballister makes it known to the public that this character is dishonorable. Nimona is discovered to have great powers that derive from a powerful history. The Director tries to further push blame on Nimona because Nimona is different from everybody else and the Director doesn’t want non ordinary types to be recognized as honorable in the society which she oversees.
This story is very moving. Nimona’s checkered past is chock full of sorrow which includes the fact that Nimona was considered something of a monster at one point in history. Nimona gives the people who think she is evil what they want by transforming herself accordingly and sacrifices everything for the greater good.
Nimona takes a fairly simple story and makes it immensely enjoyable to watch with compelling themes sprinkled throughout. Its positive message is not to be taken lightly. Chloe Grace Moretz voices Nimona in a fine performance full of heart and energy but the animation equally defines the character as well. Riz Ahmed is the perfect voice for Ballister Boldheart and the two play off each other phenomenally. It’s a beautifully orchestrated pairing. They are two unique characters determined to make a difference in the world.
This movie moves at a fast pace though it isn’t as great as some other animated movies this year (some plot choices happen too haphazardly) but it must be seen. That’s because the themes the movie presents are important for old and young viewers alike and the message of overcoming differences in the name of diversity is something that is very special in this day in age to see displayed in an animated movie’s story line.
It’s also a tale of good and evil that has plenty of humor tossed in for good measure. Moretz’s charisma is the perfect counterbalance to Ahmed’s seriousness. The characters complement each other to a tee and will be among the most memorable characters in the animated movies which are offered this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nimona makes it into the top five animated movies come Oscar time and scores a nomination.
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