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The Student News Site of CFHS

The Lantern

The Student News Site of CFHS

The Lantern

The Student News Site of CFHS

The Lantern


The movie Nimona redefines children’s fantasy movies while simultaneously captivating audiences.
Kalie Campbell-Moline
Netflix’s Nimona redefines LGBTQ+ representation in children’s movies.

Everyone has dreamt of a fantasy world with knights in it, or a one with extremely advanced technology like flying cars. By combining those two worlds into one, it results in an action-packed fantasy movie with incredibly advanced technology.

In the movie Nimona, this world is the reality. Everyone is protected by knights who go through extreme training in the institute to become protectors of the realm, but not anyone can train. One would have to be born into a bloodline of knights, unless it is Ballister Boldheart. 

Ballister Boldheart is not from a line of knights. When he was young, he would sneak into the institute and try to train. Eventually, the queen of the realm recognized his talent, and allowed him to train properly, making him the first person that wasn’t from a bloodline of knights to become one. He trained alongside everyone else, and surpassed everyone in his class – even the esteemed Ambrosius Goldenloin. Ambrosius Goldenloin is the institute’s champion. He is from the most esteemed bloodline of knights, and is considered the best. He befriends Ballister, and eventually begins to date him. 

The movie begins with Ballister and Ambrosius at their knighting ceremony. When Ballister approaches the queen, he hands her his sword and she knights him. She hands it back to him, and when he takes it, a bright green light shoots out of the handle, hitting and killing the queen. Ballister looks over to Ambrosius, who disarms him, but cuts his arm off in the process. Ballister runs away, and is framed for killing the queen. He runs into hiding, and his face is framed all over the TVs of the kingdom as the terrifying “Queen Killer.” A teenage girl named Nimona spots him, and decides to become his sidekick, thinking he has actually killed the queen. 

Nimona is the last of the protagonists in this movie. She is a chaotic, violence-loving, shapeshifting, and slightly scatterbrained teenager. Nimona is seen many times throughout the movie messing with people by shapeshifting into different things and quickly moving her focus from one thing to another.  A 6th-grade student said “I love how she represents people with disabilities, like people with ADHD. It’s just overall a great movie.” 

Nimona finds Ballister in an abandoned building and becomes heavily disappointed to find out that he in fact did not kill the queen. Nimona tells him that she is his only hope for proving his innocence, since she is the only one that believes him. He storms out saying the people from the institute will believe him. They don’t believe him and they put him in a prison cell in the institute. Nimona shows up and breaks him out. They go through the large building to get out and get cornered into a closet by guards. Nimona turns to Ballister and makes him promise multiple times that he will not freak out before she turns into a huge, pink rhino, and breaks them out. She turns into a handful of other animals along the way. After this huge revelation, Ballister accepts Nimona’s help, and together they prove his innocence and find out who framed him. 

The movie started as a webcomic that creator ND Stevenson created and published in 2012 while he was in college. Stevenson has said that not only was Nimona originally named Nightshade, she started as an idea in his later years of highschool. He has also stated that as a transmasculine person, Nimona was a character he had really needed at the time. By Stevenson’s senior year in college, the comic had caught the eye of publishers. In 2015, it was published as a book and was named a National Book Award Finalist. It was also announced that Blue Sky Studios would begin creating an animated adaptation of the book. As they created the movie, producers began to disagree on the direction the story should take. As a result, all production for the movie was shut down in 2019. In 2020, Stevenson and Bruno, a fellow producer who agreed with Stevenson, became the producers for Nimona. In 2021, Disney shut down Blue Sky Studios. Still, Stevenson and Bruno persisted and finished the film, which after its long process came out in July of 2023.

“I love how she represents people with disabilities, like people with ADHD. It’s just overall a great movie.” 

— CFMS student

I absolutely adored this movie. I first watched it with my little sisters during a movie night, and I have been obsessed with it since. I adore the style of the animation and the way the characters are designed. The animation reminds me of an action comic book, with the bright colors, exaggerated expressions, and comic-like style action. I have always been a huge fan of fantasy movies, but the way Blue Sky Studios combined fantasy with mystery and action was amazing. 

Nimona is a wonderful mix of action, fantasy, and mystery. I have been hooked since the first minute. Between the representation for the LGBTQIA+ community with Ballister, Ambrosius, and Nimona. My favorite scene of casual representation from this movie is when Ballister asks Nimona what she is and she simply responds “I’m Nimona.” Many fans have seen this as her being genderfluid, and have used this as a way to connect with the movie more. Nimona’s official age rating is PG, but Nimona really suits any kid of any age range. I know adults, first graders, and third graders that enjoyed it. “I absolutely love Nimona, it is a great movie. It’s extremely well written, and it hits you right in the feels,” says Grey Springer, an 11th grade student. I highly recommend getting cozy on the couch and watching this movie.

“It’s extremely well written, and it hits you right in the feels.”

— Grey Springer

This review is published in the Torch, a middle school online paper, and is being submitted to the Best of SNO middle school section

About the Contributor
Kalie Campbell-Moline, Visual Arts Editor
Hi, my name is Kalie Campbell-Moline and I'm a senior. My main skill is creating and I love almost anything sweet or macabre. I get complimented a lot with, "I can't even draw a stick figure..." and it's infuriating!  Otherwise, I'm in Speech, Yearbook, and Interact. Toodles :)