It is still a Wednesday and still a couple of days to go for the weekend to start, and I thought of going the lesser explored animation route for my next review. With that, I finished watching the new English animation film Nimona which is streaming on Netflix. In times of Disney-Pixar and Illuminati animation studios, the Netflix animation originals are the ones lesser discussed. Animation films generally are safer bets that have a fairy tale like story while giving out a sweet little message at the end. And with that hope, I did venture in Nimona without having an inkling on what the film had to offer. So then does Nimona manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Nimona follows the story of a knight framed for the murder of the Queen, who teams up with a shape-shifting teenager to resolve the crime. The story here is heartwarming but it has many levels with respect to its story. Firstly, it does give an impression of a fairy tale while adding its share of nuances with respect to the setting. This, while ticking quite a few boxes with respect to its storytelling. The screenplay standing at a shade under a 100 minutes does make for a compelling watch wherein I did feel the tale had a few shades of ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ as well.
The drama sets up a quick context on how a medieval queen emerges as the savior of the town from the ‘monsters’. Cut to a thousand years later when the medieval setting is still prevalent but with added fururistic streaks that instantly added to the innovation. The world itself was fascinating wherein you are tactfully introduced to the protagonist, a commoner to achieve knighthood. He is shown to be gay and the LGBTQ angle was handled with sensitivity right upfront. I think this was an important detail given how children also need to be exposed to this part of the reality with the mindset that this is normal. Amidst the celebrations, the writers introduce the first twist in the tale in the form of the murder of the queen in full public eye. This leads to the protagonist teaming up with an unlikely teammate to resolve the crime while being on the run.
The proceedings are interesting and entertaining while keeping things light and frothy despite dealing with a serious subject of the murder. The second act has a few hilarious moments that did put a smile on my face. But the main USP is the bond that the two protagonists share while also blurring the concept of an anti-hero. There are frequent twists and turns in the story before the grand reveal around the halfway mark which is kind of predictable. But the situations leading up to the reveal including the fun chase did make for an enjoyable watch.
I did get hints of ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ perhaps from the halfway mark that catered to a similar emotion of perception towards creatures. But nevertheless, the emotions were on point and it made for a warm watch. My little criticism did come late in the day in the final act which was still good but a little too simplistic given its setup. The face-off could have been further fleshed out to make for an even better watch. But taking nothing away from the journey as well as the themes that the screenplay tackled in what was a fascinating watch.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are well written and they make a case for a solid impact. The music and the BGM hit the right notes with the kind of emotions that it was catering to. The cinematography is glittery and coupled with some fast paced editing, it did make a compelling watch. The animation is outstanding and it added so much depth to the characters and the situations that ideally was made for a big screen watch. Directors Troy Quane and Nick Bruno have done a stunning job by tackling various themes with sensitivity. The emotions are on point and it did give me an impression that the directors were well aware of the pulse of the audience, thereby serving just that. The drama was fascinating, entertaining and engaging and for that, the directors deserve distinction marks.
The voiceovers are fabulous to witness. Lorraine Toussant as The Queen has her moments to shine. Beck Bennett is spot on as the voice of Todd. Frances Conroy as The Direction has a calm and calculative demeanor which did add depth to her character. Eugene Yee Lang as Ambrosius is assertive and authoritative while maintaining a composure which suited the character very well. Chloe Grace Moretz as Nimona is outstanding and almost playful in nature with bouts of sensitivity. It was a joy to witness her voiceover. Riz Ahmed as Ballister is phenomenal ranging from being aggressive to desperate to caring and hitting all the right notes along the way.
Nimona is a sweet little glittery gem that makes for a fascinating watch. Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended.