Table of content    
  1. #1. Nimona is a cute and chaotic cinnamon roll.
  2. #2. The chemistry between Nimona and Ballister is simply unrivaled.
  3. #3. The movie makes the best out of its unique setting.
  4. #4. Many viewers can find themselves in both Ballister and Nimona.
  5. #5. You can’t take your eyes off the movie’s action scenes.
  6. The movie handles queer relationships very well.
  7. The lack of main characters is actually a good thing.

7 “Metal” Reasons Why Nimona Is One Of The Best Animated Movies Of 2023 So Far

Hollywood cartoon enthusiasts are in for a treat in 2023, with a handful of critically acclaimed animated titles to be released at the box office, from the fan-favorite The Super Mario Bros. Movie to the much-anticipated sequel in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. The Netflix movie Nimona is the latest addition to the roster, and it didn’t disappoint.

In fact, Nimona immediately receives positive reviews from both fans and critics right from the start, and is widely considered one of the best-animated movies of the year so far. Based on the bestselling graphic novel by ND Stevenson, the project almost didn’t come to fruition as the previous distributor, Disney, shut down the Blue Sky Studios and removed the film back in 2021, but luckily, Annapurna Pictures and Netflix brought it back to life just one year later. So, what is the secret behind Nimona’s success? Let’s find out.


#1. Nimona is a cute and chaotic cinnamon roll.

Firstly, we got to address the elephant (weirdly, Nimona doesn’t transform into an elephant even once in the movie) in the room. I mean, what would you do if a mysterious girl with a unique and powerful shapeshifting ability barges right into your life, asking to be your sidekick in crime? 

While wanting to be Ballister’s right-hand woman, Nimona effortlessly steals all the spotlight onto herself with her cute, sweet yet mischievous personality, and never fails to make us laugh with her hilarious antics. Her chaotic nature bodes well with her shapeshifting quirks, which allows her to transform into anything she sees, from animals such as rhinoceros, whale, and shark (chomp chomp), to a random kid on the street, or even Ballister himself, leading to many hysterical moments throughout the movie. 


Behind her energetic and anarchic actions, deep down Nimona is still just a little girl who wants to be loved by anyone, but can’t due to her ability. Her dark and tragic past is slowly unveiled as the story goes on, and we can’t help but feel for her, and many times in the movie, we just want to jump into the screen and give her a hug like Ballister did. Besides, many kids who struggle to make friends might find Nimona relatable. Nimona has everything you could ask for in a great villain’s sidekick: sweet, adorable, and chaotic, while also has a vulnerable and human side of her own.


#2. The chemistry between Nimona and Ballister is simply unrivaled.

At the start of the movie, Ballister and Nimona couldn’t be more different: one is anxious and timid, while the other is loud and frenzied like an untamed animal. Just like a stereotypical villain, Nimona feels the need to wreak havoc everywhere she set foot, contrary to his boss, who wants to settle things in silence. The clear difference in personality has created many hilarious moments between the two, with Nimona often causing trouble and Ballister playing the straight-man role to retort her.

 However, the two share a common ground: they are both shunned by the majority of society and treated like outsiders. Their bond grows over this very fact, and Ballister gradually accepts his sidekick for who she is as the story goes on, and even stands against his lover, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, to protect her.


#3. The movie makes the best out of its unique setting.

While Disney films are either set in medieval times or a futuristic timeline, Nimona combines the best of both worlds into one: a medieval-themed futuristic world. This bizarre setting is full of surprises for the audience: from the flying wagons, the hi-tech knight armor and cannons, to the cereal commercial in the subway. Every nook and cranny of the fictional city is brimming with unique and lively features, and we feel the 90-minute-long movie isn’t enough to portray the best parts of the town.


#4. Many viewers can find themselves in both Ballister and Nimona.

Nimona’s overall theme is about difference and acceptance, and the message is very well-conveyed throughout the movie. Though taking place in a fictional setting, there are many relatable stories and matters in the animated film that we can all relate to in real life. The first thing to address would be Ballister and Ambrosius’ romantic relationship. Many LGBTQ audiences would find their stories to resonate with the two, and how Ballister struggles to earn acceptance from society for who he is.

The same can be said about Nimona. In her 1000 years of existence, she is treated like a monster due to her unique ability, by not only the people around her, but also by the ones she considered friends, such as Gloreth and even Ballister himself at the start. While she can change her shape at will, Nimona doesn’t want to force herself to be a normal girl like everyone else, and according to her, not being able to change is a feeling worse than dying. The heroine’s story can be related to many of us, who struggle to fit into society and don’t want to confine ourselves to people’s expectations.


#5. You can’t take your eyes off the movie’s action scenes.

Learning from modern animation such as Arcane, Nimona has a quite distinctive 3D animation style with 2D shadings that brings out the best in the action throughout the whole movie, especially the protagonist’s shapeshifting sequences. The actions are incredibly smooth and detailed, with a lot of one-shot sequences and camera swings that are made to look like real-life shots. The animation style also allows the characters’ expressions to be very nuanced and brings out their emotion, especially Nimona’s.


The movie handles queer relationships very well.

The stats have shown that very few animated movies can insert their LGBTQ characters into the story successfully (Disney has tried many times and still fails), but this doesn’t seem to be a problem for Nimona. Instead of serving as a side affair, the romantic relationship between Ballister and his boyfriend Ambrosius is one of the main features of the film, and it’s perfectly transitioned from the novel to the big screen. The intimate interactions between the two are very casual and natural, without feeling awkward and forced. We can also see how the two deeply care about each other, even when they are on two opposite sides.

Besides, the film also makes the LGBTQ community feel represented by their real-life struggle to be accepted by society through the story of both Ballister and Nimona. Without directly addressing the matter throughout the film, we can see how queers can relate to their story: Ballister going through hardships to be a knight despite his humble upbringing, Nimona’s struggle to get people to accept her because of her differences, and Ballister’s acceptance of who she truly is. The film has done a great job tackling such a sensitive subject, and uses it well to make the audience feels represented.


The lack of main characters is actually a good thing.

Nimona’s main cast is unexpectedly scarce when you think about it, with only Nimona herself, Ballister, Ambrosius, and the Director as the main characters of the movie. However, this is a really good move by Annapurna Pictures. The lack of characters means that they can focus on two things: the relationship between Ballister and Nimona, and between Ballister and Ambrosius. As a result, these three’s chemistry is easily the best aspect of the movie throughout the 90-minute watch.

What do you think about Nimona? Is it a good enough animated movie to be on par with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse? Share your thoughts in the comment.

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