NIMONA is an inclusive second-rate version of THE IRON GIANT. It tries extremely hard to be “metal” but ends up a bit more like “soft rock.”
What soars in NIMONA are the themes and the titular character. Both subvertly shine a light on the fact our institutions aren’t the problem. It’s the people that run them. It also covers political fears, monsters, what it means to be an ally, and the consequences of building a wall.
While watching and being impressed with the various themes and characters in NIMONA, I was trying to figure out why the film isn’t a 🤩. And it’s due to the protagonist’s journey isn’t that exciting. This is because the lead, Ballister (Riz Ahmed), doesn’t change much. Instead, it’s the characters around him that do. A complacent protagonist is a mechanism that works well in film noir (CHINATOWN/THE BIG LEBOWSKI), but it makes for a sloppy first and second act in NIMONA.
After the animated visuals in ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE and THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE, NIMONA’s animation leaves a lot to be desired. It feels like second-tier Dreamworks, AKA Blue Sky. Audiences will be impressed with Nimona’s visuals, but the rest of the characters feel bland and recycled from other movies.
I wanted to love NIMONA. It tries to be different and packs a positive message for parents to talk to their kids about. Yet, just like Nimona, the character, the entire movie is just messy.
NIMONA is available on Netflix.