Where it’s apparent something like Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” changed hands mid-production on its way to the screen when you watch it, that’s not the case with “Nimona.” Instead, the film, which was revived by Annapurna Pictures and Netflix after Disney closed Blue Sky, plays like a re-imagining of ND Stevenson’s source material guided by a singular creative vision. Perhaps even more importantly, the film — which centers on the noble aspiring knight Ballister Boldheart (Riz Ahmed) and his newly self-appointed sidekick, the anarchic shape-shifter Nimona (Chloë Grace Moretz) — remains true to the original comics’ themes about the fluid nature of identity, the ways history can be rewritten, and the need for institutions to evolve with the times. It’s also an explicitly queer movie, which may’ve well not been the case had it remained under the House of Mouse’s supervision.
Stevenson, as it were, agrees with me. “I always knew that things were going to change about the story, and that they should change because I made the comic that I set out to make, and now it was going to be something new,” he told NPR. “It was going to do its own little shapeshift, if you will, and become a whole new thing.” Stevenson added:
“But Nimona [the character] to me really felt like what it is about the story that makes it special. So in a lot of ways it’s very recognizable. It has a lot of familiar elements of heroes, villains, monsters, this medieval world, but it’s set in the future with some tropes associated with both of those kinds of extremes.”