Nimona (2023) online

Year: 2023
Country: United States
Time: 1h 41m
Nimona is a 2023 American computer-animated science fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane from a screenplay by Robert L. Baird and Lloyd Taylor. It is based on the 2015 graphic novel of the same name by ND Stevenson. Set in a sci-fantasy world influenced by the Middle Ages, the film features the voices of Chloë Grace Moretz as the titular character and Riz Ahmed as her sidekick and former knight, with Eugene Lee Yang and Frances Conroy voicing supporting roles.

Originally a production of Blue Sky Studios, it was originally set to be directed by Patrick Osborne, with an initial release date of 2020. Following the Walt Disney Company's acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Blue Sky, the production received pushback from Disney's leadership due to the film's LGBTQ themes, after which it was delayed multiple times before being canceled due to Blue Sky's closure in April 2021. However, Annapurna Pictures revived the project the following year, with Bruno and Quane announced as directors, DNEG Animation providing animation, and Netflix acquiring worldwide distribution.

Nimona had its world premiere at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival on June 14, 2023, was released in select cinemas on June 23, 2023, and made its streaming debut on June 30, 2023, by Netflix. The film received highly positive reviews from critics for its animation, themes, humor, characters, musical score, tone, and vocal performances (particularly that of Moretz and Ahmed).

In a medieval-futuristic kingdom, the citizens are protected by the Institute for Elite Knights, established by the legendary heroine Gloreth, who, a thousand years ago, vanquished a "Great Black Monster" and enclosed the kingdom with a high wall for its protection.

Ballister Boldheart, along with his confidant and lover Ambrosius Goldenloin, is about to be knighted, with Ballister being the first commoner to achieve this, as Queen Valerin is trying to change tradition so that "anyone can be a hero". During the ceremony, Valerin is murdered by a mysterious laser shot from Ballister's sword. Ambrosius tries to stop this by cutting off Ballister's right arm, and he is hunted by the Institute and its Director.

As Ballister crafts a prosthetic replacement arm, he is visited by Nimona, a mysterious teenage shapeshifter, who has faced persecution for her powers. Seeing a "villainous spirit" in Ballister, as he is facing similar treatment for his commoner origin and the murder of the Queen, Nimona hires herself as his new sidekick.

To clear Ballister's name, the duo kidnaps Diego, the squire who gave him the murder weapon. Diego gives them evidence revealing that the Director is the murderer. The duo confront Ambrosius and the Director with the evidence (a video) which gets shot down by Todd and a fight ensues. After reconvening, Ballister and Nimona return to the Institute and trick the Director by having Nimona impersonate Ambrosius. The Director admits the truth of her actions, as she objected to the Queen revising tradition by allowing commoners to become knights, fearing that doing so would lead to the kingdom's downfall. Ballister records her confession and posts it online, leading to public outcry.

The Director, recognizing Nimona's powers, discovers through ancient scrolls that Nimona is the Great Black Monster defeated by Gloreth. She uses this to convince the public that Ballister used Nimona's powers to fake the confession, while also stating that Nimona could be impersonating anyone, leading to distrust among the citizens. Ambrosius meets with Ballister and reveals Nimona's past, insisting that the two were deceived by her. Shocked by the revelation, Ballister argues with Nimona and questions their friendship; feeling betrayed, Nimona flees into the woods.

Stopping at an old abandoned well, Nimona reminisces about her past: a thousand years ago, she wandered the world and turned into other animals to try and fit in with the wildlife, but none of the creatures she encountered accepted her. One day, she encountered Gloreth as a child by the well, and turned into a human for the first time. After seeing Nimona, Gloreth immediately welcomed her and the two became best friends, even after Gloreth discovered Nimona's powers. Eventually, the rest of Gloreth's village discovered Nimona and quickly accused her of being a monster. While attacking Nimona with pitchforks and torches, the village was accidentally set on fire. Instead of defending her friend, a confused Gloreth turned on Nimona after her parents called Nimona a monster, having been raised to believe that anything called a monster was bad, choosing to expel the chaotic Nimona to protect the villagers.

With Ballister's abandonment and Gloreth's betrayal echoing in her head, a distraught Nimona breaks down, and transforms into the Great Black Monster. She then attacks the city, intending to end her life by impaling herself on the sword of Gloreth's statue. Meanwhile, the Director orders a laser cannon to be fired from the wall to kill Nimona; Ambrosius protests, knowing that firing the laser into the city will kill innocent civilians. The Director then turns on them using the same laser she used to kill the Queen.

Before Nimona pierces her own heart, Ballister stops her and apologizes to her. Nimona changes back to human form as they embrace and make amends, while the whole Kingdom watches and are touched by it. The Director, unmoved, prepares to fire the cannon herself. To save the kingdom, Nimona assumes a giant, red phoenix-like form and flies into the cannon, resulting in her death as well as the death of the Director. The resulting explosion destroys part of the wall, revealing a beautiful, mountainous valley behind it.

Sometime later, the kingdom undergoes several changes: the breach in the wall has become a trade road, Nimona and Ballister are honored as heroes, and Ballister restores his relationship with Ambrosius. Ballister then visits his old hideout; he hears Nimona's voice, and joyfully observes that she has presumably been resurrected.

In the post-credits scene, Nimona shakes an aerosol paint can and draws an "A" surrounded by a heart, the symbol of relationship anarchy.
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