DUH-DUHMMMMM. It's the noise so many people hear at least two or three times a day as they turn on the biggest streaming service, and really, the company that kicked video streaming off. Netflix has been making a name for itself in animation over the last couple of years, and it recently paid off with an Oscar for "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio."
Netflix's next big animated film is one the streaming service resurrected from the dead, and it's called "Nimona."
"Nimona" is based on a graphic novel of the same title published in 2015. And its journey to a cinematic adaptation has been anything but smooth. An animation studio called Blue Sky (known for its "Ice Age" franchise) started working on "Nimona." But the studio was owned by Fox, and after Disney bought the parent company, the House of Mouse shut down Blue Sky in 2021.
Deadline reported "Nimona" still had 10 months of production left to complete, and the shut-down left the movie unfinished. Enter: Netflix. The streaming giant has since picked up "Nimona" and set it for release this summer.
The movie business sees projects stuck in development hell all the time, but once in a while, a stalled film gets a second chance at life thanks to another studio snatching it up, as Netflix did here.
Creator ND Stevenson brought the "Nimona" graphic novel to life, and this isn't the first project of his to find a home at Netflix. In 2018, Stevenson developed the popular reboot "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power," which won him a dedicated fandom (and an Emmy) as his magical warriors fought to save Etheria from the evil Hordak.
The series was widely praised for its inclusion of gay characters, which should've came as no big surprise since Stevenson himself is an LGBT creator. And "Nimona" is no exception, featuring a gay knight trying to prove his innocence after being framed for murdering his queen.
In "Nimona," Ballister Boldheart (Riz Ahmed) goes on the run after he's falsely accused of killing his city's ruler. His boyfriend, Ambrosius Goldenloin (Eugene Lee Yang), works to track him down and figure out what really happened to their queen.
To clear his name, Boldheart must team up with a shapeshifter named Nimona (Chloë Grace Moretz), and overcome his prejudices about who the real "monsters" are in their city. The project isn't just notable for front-and-center gay characters but also balancing heavier themes of self harm and mental health. Hopefully, after the success of animated movies like "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish," the topic of mental health will only continue to be expanded on and respectfully approached in more cartoons.
The world Stevenson created is one he called "Monk Punk," and Directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane have helped to bring that vision to life, envisioning a futuristic city with flying cars, yet still retaining medieval imagery like knights and castles. It's a unique blend that sets the film up for a creative adventure so different from what other animation studios are offering their audiences right now.
"Nimona" further cements Netflix's commitment to unique cartoons as the streaming giant recently announced its slate of animated films for 2023 and 2024, including a new "Spongebob" movie, a sequel to 2000's "Chicken Run," and more.
And if Netflix wanted to perform another act of necromancy to save a worthy animation project, perhaps it could consider rescuing the "Medusa" cartoon that Sony announced in 2014. Director Robert Rugan wrote on his website in 2019 that the project was shelved. The concept art looked wonderful, so hopefully Netflix can conjure another resurrection.