“Nimona” Is The Best Animated Movie You Haven’t Watched Yet — No Spoiler Review

There are a million and one reasons why “Nimona” should be on your watch list, but may have slipped under your radar. Despite having a stacked voice cast, and an even larger stack of accolades, this animated movie produced by Annapurna Pictures never had a major theatre release and only streamed on Netflix.

I say that’s exactly why you should check it out right now.

Based on the 2016 Eisner award winning graphic novel by ND Stevenson (of “She-Ra and The Princesses of Power” and “Lumberjanes” fame), “Nimona” follows the story of a knight who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Unfortunately, the only person who can help him prove his innocence is a Nimona, a shape-shifting teenager who might also be a monster he’s sworn to kill. And that’s only the first ten minutes of the movie.

Much like Nimona herself, the movie never takes its foot off the gas for a single second. Its storyline is equally shocking as it is exciting, serving up heartwarming moments and light comedy in one beat, then shifting into high-octane action sequences and heavy plot beats without breaking a sweat.

Even though it may have the bones of a classic misunderstood villain storyline, the movie does everything to subvert the viewer’s expectations; from its modern-medieval setting, to its exploration into generational cycles of classism and racism. In fact, for a movie that’s less than 2 hours long, it manages to deliver a depth of storytelling and character study that would give plenty of major releases a run for their money.

Not to mention, its animation and musical score send the same message. “Nimona” features a colourful, vibrant art direction that practically explodes off the screen, and a headbanger musical score that captures our eponymous character perfectly; paired with a stellar voice cast featuring Chloë Grace Moretz and Riz Ahmed voicing our dual protagonists, and Eugene Lee Yang making an astonishing voice acting debut as Ambrosius Goldenloin.

However, perhaps the most remarkable thing about “Nimona” is the fact that it got made at all. The project was originally meant to be produced by Blue Sky Studios (“Ice Age”, “Rio”, “The Peanuts Movie”), but faced delays due to the movie’s strong LGBTQ+ representation, then eventually got cancelled after the studio’s closure following Disney’s acquisition of Blue Sky Studios’ parent company, 21st Century Fox.

Thankfully “Nimona” was revived by Annapurna Pictures and has since gone on to enjoy a highly successful awards season. The movie scored 10 nominations at the 51st Annie Awards, beating out “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” at 8 nominations; and both movies were nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. The winners have yet to be announced, but at least know that this reviewer is going to have a hard time picking favourites.

Verdict: 10/10

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