Nimona (2023)
June 30, 2023 7:20 AM - Subscribe

A knight framed for a tragic crime teams with a scrappy, shape-shifting teen to prove his innocence. But what if she's the monster he's sworn to destroy?

Now streaming on Netflix, after its original studio, Blue Sky, was shut down by Disney in a mega-merger.

Critics Adore Netflix’s Adopted Adaptation
posted by 1970s Antihero (34 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Within the first 15 minutes, I decided that Nimona is a real a-hole. I LOVE HER!

Director: You!
Nimona: Me!
posted by SPrintF at 2:10 PM on June 30, 2023 [2 favorites]

It was everything I'd hoped and dreamed.
posted by kyrademon at 3:13 PM on June 30, 2023 [3 favorites]

Ooh, this was an excellent film to kick off the weekend.
posted by WedgedPiano at 8:41 PM on June 30, 2023

my teenage progeny squealed repeatedly.
posted by roue at 8:49 PM on June 30, 2023

Watching it right now, the kids are giggling maniacally. The boy (10) is a huge fan of the comic and has been looking forwards to it. Zero disappointment.
posted by Jilder at 9:20 PM on June 30, 2023

Oh man, what a movie. I’m so glad it was rescued and eventually saw a wide release. I sobbed openly at “I see you” and had to pause to compose myself.

I sometimes show Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse in my high school classes when final exams have finished. A beautiful, cool, funny, irreverent movie that plays in the background while they play on their phones and study for other tests. I imagined how easily Nimona checks those same boxes and how meaningful it could be for this movie to become the comforting background noise of teenage life, and my heart grew three sizes that day.
posted by lilac girl at 10:12 PM on June 30, 2023 [12 favorites]

Better than I could of hoped for - especially considering the behind the scene production woes.

Am grateful it got finished and it is so good !
posted by Faintdreams at 12:01 PM on July 1, 2023 [1 favorite]

I never loved the animation style but I also understood what it was doing (the look did grow on me after a while though). I absolutely adored this, though. It's so colorful and fun and it balances the weighty issues with humor and playfulness while never downplaying them. Yes, there was crying.

I'm glad this got made. Or rather, I'm glad this got finished. I know it's a longshot but I'd love to have a Blu-ray release.

I will watch this again.
posted by edencosmic at 3:26 PM on July 1, 2023 [1 favorite]

So much knowledge of and love for animation history in the shape-shifting montages, and so much fun over all. Absolutely loved the whole thing, and especially Nimona as a character (this was my first exposure to her).

edencosmic, I’d be surprised if this didn’t get a blu-ray release; Netflix has been pretty good about allowing them for their animated co-productions lately.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 11:55 AM on July 2, 2023 [4 favorites]

As a follower of the original comic, who skipped a lot of RL stuff going "oh, damn"-- finally seeing this... I'm thrilled. I really hope the creator is thrilled too. As these things go, this was an AMAZING job.
posted by The otter lady at 6:35 PM on July 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

I love that they let Nimona be a jerk, because Nimona should get to be a jerk. I love that BlackheartBoldheart still saw Nimona and cared for her. I love how unabashedly queer the entire movie was. I'm impressed with how it managed to be deeply silly and chaotic and also heart-wrenchingly meaningful. I'm still grappling with the idea that, okay, then: be the monster they all say you are.

If you've not seen Nate's newsletter about revisiting his tumblr posts about Nimona, you should. It's delightful and was immediately familiar to me and, I'm guessing, a lot of queer folx, in its "oh, sweetie, how did you not see this earlier?" vibe about your earlier self.
posted by sgranade at 8:19 PM on July 2, 2023 [9 favorites]

So glad this was rescued from Disney (I'm sure they used to not suck?).
posted by Marticus at 1:36 AM on July 3, 2023

Hm. I liked this version but didn't love it - I know that film works differently from books, but it flattened out some of the roughness of the storytelling and felt much less like the perspective of one author. I know! This is part of the deal with adaptation! But I prefer the comic.

I am glad it got made and I wish it every success.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 7:03 AM on July 3, 2023 [2 favorites]

I really hope the creator is thrilled too.

ND Stevenson was pretty heavily involved with the movie, and even voiced Qwispy, the cereal dragon mascot.

I'm still grappling with the idea that, okay, then: be the monster they all say you are.

But ultimately, Nimona isn't that monster, no matter how hard she tried to be - which is why she shifts from rage to suicidal ideation. And it's why what saves her is Ballister finally saying that he sees her for who she is.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:03 AM on July 3, 2023 [4 favorites]

Ooh, I loved this version. The graphic novel is great, of course, but I adore the marvelous mad madam mimness of movie Nimona so much. And the Gloreth backstory! And Julio Torres as the squire! And the soundtrack!

I so glad Netflix resurrected this, but also bummed not to be able to buy a copy. Netflix should allow you to purchase at least a digital copy of one Netflix original for each year you subscribe. Or something, any plan that allows me to purchase this and their Eurovision movie for safekeeping when Netflix inevitably fails.

ND Stevenson in the Hollywood Reporter:
“Early on, I was getting so much of, ‘How do we relate to her if we’re not teen girls?'” he recalls of the beginning days of the film’s production, a time when Stevenson felt Nimona could be losing her leading status. “I think this, ‘The character is not relatable enough’ — this not white enough, not male enough, not hero’s-journey enough thing of, if it’s not that, people will get scared or not like it — is not true. All stories are universal, even if they represent something very specific, niche or personal.”
posted by the primroses were over at 12:37 PM on July 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

Roughly 25 years ago I was - for some reason - poking around in the educational psychology section of the university library, and I opened a book and read that when people all around you tell you that you are a certain way, or have certain stereotypes, you tend to fulfill those stereotypes. Just because everyone around you expects it.

This reminds me of that.

I loved the webcomic, I bought the comic book, I gave it away and bought it again, and I love this too.
posted by bunderful at 8:38 PM on July 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

To me this felt perfect. It really hit all the buttons for me - beautiful animation, excellent voice acting (Chloe-Grace Moretz was excellent, but I also loved Frances Conroy who did the voice acting for the Director, so silky and menacing), the use of a visual medium to flesh out of the world of the graphic novel. It's been a while since I read the graphic novel, but I felt that much of Nimona's backstory - her friendship with Gloreth, for e.g. - may have been a new addition? Either way, I really enjoyed that.

It kind of felt like a bunch of people sat around a table and thought "What would make unicorn chaser happy?" and came out with Nimona. I'm glad ND Stephenson was able to be involved in the making and I am so glad they didn't back away from a really beautiful aspect of the story which is the queer love story. In fact they kept it front and centre. Really delightful - made me so happy.
posted by unicorn chaser at 4:13 AM on July 4, 2023 [4 favorites]

Wow, what a wonderful adaptation!

Two amazing outsider stories with the price of one?

Yeah, I agree about the flattening, but also, it was well re written to fit into the 115 minutes available

As well as written into a complete story. Which the original isn't.

but the best part of the original is how it evolved from one off comix poking fun and having fun, into a narrative, then a world. and readers physically cannot interact with the story this way over streaming.
posted by eustatic at 6:03 PM on July 4, 2023

So like, damn, this is so good.
posted by eustatic at 6:04 PM on July 4, 2023

While the comic was a subconscious trans allegory (as discussed in Stevenson’s newsletter, linked above), the movie feels like a much more conscious one. Not too heavy-handed, but still unmistakable. For example, the voices that keep replaying in Nimona’s head: “Why can’t you be normal?” “It’s just easier if you’re a girl.”

And the forces that demonize her (represented by the Director) are explicitly doing it to uphold a conservative social order that is also threatened by Boldheart. But Boldheart has too much respectability, so he has to be attacked first through dirty tricks, and later by associating him with Nimona, the “monster.”
posted by mbrubeck at 4:08 PM on July 6, 2023 [3 favorites]

I almost didn't watch this, I'm glad I did. It was fantastic.

I was tearing up early in the film and crying towards the end, because it was such an encapsulation of my personal struggles for and against the patriarchy. It felt so on-the-nose that I decided I must be reading into things deeper than they were intended, and just enjoyed it for what it was.

Just, everything. Defining difference as evil. The love for the "trickster" character. The portrayal of authoritarianism as "fake news, be afraid, protect the children" in such a relatable and sophisticated manner. The depiction of "you don't have to be either a girl or a monster." The centering of naming someone a monster, of the practice of othering and casting out, as a harmful behavior. The scene where the wall's defenses hurt the people they were supposed to help. The fantastic character animation, showing a ton of ideas and story packed into very economical movements, while lovingly matching the original comic. The feeling of joy, when you can help someone see how beautiful they are. The pain and fear of trying to accept something you've been trained to fear.

I wish I had watched this movie when I was a kid.
posted by rebent at 1:15 PM on July 7, 2023 [4 favorites]

That was really good! I seem to recall in the Webcomic Nimona was captured and experimented on, and frankly I was happy to miss that part. This was great.
posted by suelac at 9:47 PM on July 7, 2023

Fans find the first piece of Nimona art posted (so early that Ballister hadn't been named!)
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:31 AM on July 10, 2023

NoxAeternum, that link didn’t get linked correctly...
posted by mbrubeck at 1:02 PM on July 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

Oops - here should be the link.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:35 PM on July 10, 2023 [3 favorites]

> So much knowledge of and love for animation history in the shape-shifting montages

Agreed! I was especially charmed and moved by the wishing-well flashback on the subway, which starts with the choppy kinetoscope look of a tile mosaic seen from a moving train, and smooths out as it gets up to speed. Sure to delight anyone who's ever drawn a flip-book movie on a pad of graph paper.

Can't wait to watch it again, as the things that made me laugh hardest were brief gags* tucked into the corners or sped past quickly, and I bet I'll catch more on another viewing.
*My favorites: river otters vs. sea otters; pizza rat; "Careless Whisper" sax solo on a subway platform
posted by miles per flower at 10:31 AM on July 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

I also laughed pretty hard at Pizza Rat.

The only aspect of the movie I didn’t wholly love was the opening montage of 1000 years before. The trope of telling ancient history via voiceover and still images is a bit tired for me in general, and especially in instances like this that offers none of the “now” setting to ground it and help me feel context/investment. Yes, having more context—such as parent and child reading a book together—may take away some of the fun-shock of seeing the mix of future tech and medieval aesthetic (which was wonderful). But I don’t care. I largely hate prologs in novels and cut scenes at the beginning of video games. It’s not simply that I have a short attention span, it’s that when I’m learning a new story, my brain wants a foundation of the primary substance (main characters, A-plot, gameplay loop) before adding on the flavor-enhancers of setting backstory, world lore, etc.

Still, it’s a pet peeve that takes this movie from 12/10 to 11/10, so I think it’s doing ok.
posted by itesser at 1:17 AM on July 26, 2023

The only aspect of the movie I didn’t wholly love was the opening montage of 1000 years before.

The opening montage serves an important point other than setting up the world, though.

Because as we find out later in the movie, that history we see in the montage is false. Gloreth isn't some noble hero vanquishing a rampaging monster, she's a scared kid who doesn't know who to back and winds up siding with her family. Nimona isn't a fell beast, she's a scared girl who has struggled to belong. And the village wasn't destroyed because of a monster, but because of bigotry. And we need the false history to make the true one hit harder, and to set up that Nimona, for all her trying, isn't a monster - which is why she goes from "I'll be their monster" to "maybe I just shouldn't be."

And why what saves her is someone saying to her that they see who she is, and wants her in their life.

posted by NoxAeternum at 3:57 PM on July 26, 2023 [8 favorites]

Just watched it this weekend, and what an excellent movie. This is certainly easily enjoyable by young children, but also a complex, thoughtful, and engaging tale for adults. Highly recommended to everyone!
posted by obfuscation at 5:44 AM on August 7, 2023

Finally resubbed to Netflix and oh my god this was amazing. Absolutely loved it. I read the comic as it was originally posted (and bought the collection when it came out) but just hadn't really had a chance to see the movie and there's so many changes from the comic but I have zero complaints about any of them. Wonderful, wonderful movie.

For example, the voices that keep replaying in Nimona’s head: “Why can’t you be normal?” “It’s just easier if you’re a girl.”

Ballister's "Not everybody is as accepting as I am" was a real "oh yes they know exactly what they're doing here" moment and so perfectly done.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:17 PM on September 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

Netflix has released a 350+ page digital artbook for Nimona.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:25 AM on October 13, 2023 [5 favorites]

I just watched it a second time, really savoring the whole thing.

I feel like this could be a generation's Labyrinth, as in 5-10 years from now in college dorms this is going to be one of those formative touchpoints for a pretty large subset of people.
posted by bjrubble at 8:13 PM on October 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

If you haven't seen the movie because it's on Netflix and you don't have a no longer have an excuse.
posted by NoxAeternum at 6:57 PM on February 19

*raises hand* I don't have a Netflix sub for Chappelle-related reasons, but: it is indeed free -- and entirely ad-free, to boot -- on YouTube at the moment and wow, that was really good.

The huge form Nimona took at the end, and the way it was animated, felt very Miyosaki-influenced, I thought.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:38 PM on February 25

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