Prepare to be taken on a dazzling tour of Netflix's animation gem, Nimona, with your faithful guide, Phil Smith, aka Phil the Filipino. We're not just talking a casual stroll here, we're diving into the depths of this film's turbulent history, character evolution and sophisticated themes. From its initial concept at 20th Century Fox, through to Disney and finally reaching its home at Netflix, it's a journey that almost didn't happen. We'll celebrate its representation of a unique young heroine, peek behind the curtain of its production and revel in the joy and heartbreak that came with its creation.
Join Phil as he unpacks the powerful themes that Nimona grapples with, from acceptance to gender identity, and depression. We'll dissect the voice acting and animation, the real lifeblood of the film, and share our admiration for the resilience and courage of Indy Stevenson, the creator who saw it through against all odds. Not just a film review, this episode is a homage to storytelling and the importance of giving a voice to those who often feel voiceless. So take a seat and listen closely, because every story is worth hearing - and yours is no exception.
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Welcome to your go-to source for entertainment Wait for it Gaming, wait for it Anime Plus, ultra. Mr Eric Almighty and Phil the Filipino Yeah, they've got you covered And all you gotta do is Wait for it. Hey, everybody, welcome back to the Wait for it podcast and welcome to the July edition of Netflix and Phil. I'm your co-host, phil Smith, aka Phil the Filipino. Thank you guys so much for joining me here today. I am doing something monumental on this month's episode of Netflix and Phil. We have back-to-back Netflix movies. Last month, i reviewed and recommended Extraction 2, which is a Netflix exclusive film starring Chris Hemsworth, and this month we are running Netflix back-to-back baby with Nomona, which is an animated film that is really taking the world to the next level, and it's really taking the world by storm right now. Netflix has been doing some amazing things when it comes to animation. Eric and I, maybe a month or so ago, we did a late-to-the-party episode about Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio And while it wasn't necessarily my favorite simply because I'm not the biggest fan of Pinocchio as a story animation-wise, storytelling-wise they deserved all of its flowers and certainly deserved its Oscar nomination. Now, should it have won? Hmm, that's a debate for another time. They've also put out films in the past couple of years, such as The Sea Beast, mitchell and the Machines a couple movies I have yet to see, but I absolutely need to check out soon And they struck gold with Nomona. I'm going to go into a brief history about this film during this episode and you'll see how Netflix really benefited from Disney essentially fumbling the bag here. For those of you that have never listened to an episode of Netflix and Phil, this is a series in which I will recommend different shows or movies from various streaming sites such as Netflix, hulu, a lot of Apple TV, amazon Prime has been in there as well Pretty much anything you can find and stream right now. If you are listening to us because you met us at Bold Matt's Siri a couple weekends ago in Jacksonville, florida thanks so much for checking us out And if you're looking for some recommendations as far as anime, make sure you check out my co-host episodes called Why You Should Watch, and you'll find some anime recommendations there. With all that being said, i am just giddy to talk about this movie. As you can see there in the title, we are talking about Nomona Now. Nomona is a film based off the 2015 graphic novel of the same name, written and created by Andy Stevenson. The film is set in a sci-fi fantasy world influenced by the Middle Ages. It features the voices of Chloe Grace Moretz, which a lot of you may know from the kick-ass film. Chloe voices Nimona and Riz Ahmed plays the other main character, named Ballester. You've probably seen Ahmed in Rogue One, nightcrawler or The Sound of Metal. Now, back in 2015, 20th Century Fox actually acquired the rights for an animated feature film adaptation of Nimona. The film was to be produced by Fox's former subsidiary, blue Sky Studios, and it was originally scheduled to release in February of 2020. In March 2019, when Disney completed its acquisition of Fox, the film was then delayed to March of 2021. In November of 2019, the film was delayed again to January 2022, and throughout all of 2020, the word was the film would be released in 2022, which Stevenson even stated in June of 2020 that the film was still happening. Fast forward to February 2021, disney actually announced that they would be shutting down Blue Sky Studios and that production of the film had been cancelled. Stevenson said that it was a quote sad day and that he wished for the best for everyone who worked at Blue Sky Studios, as well as the original film's director, patrick Osborne, saying that he was truly heartbroken by the studio closing its doors. This decision kind of sent ripple effects throughout the animation world. A lot of people were really, really bummed. They thought Disney had a really big opportunity here to present a very different kind of young heroine, which is what Webcomics commenter Gary Terrell said in criticizing the decision. Anonymous staffers at Blue Sky, interviewed by The Business Insider, were really upset because they said this didn't look like anything else in the animated world and they also believed that it would never be completed or released. The film was said to be the first use of Blue Sky's conduit, which was a system that allowed artists to find, track, version and quality control their work. Had it been made, it would have been Blue Sky's first film with LGBT representation, as confirmed by a few staffers to Buzzfeed News. Fast forward again to April 2022, it was announced that Annapurna Pictures had actually picked up Nimona earlier in the year and it would be releasing on Netflix in 2023. The voice cast was also retained and Nick Bruno and Troy Quain also stepped in to be the new directors of the film. So Nimona had quite the production process that I wasn't even aware of until I started researching for this episode. I can only imagine how heartbroken the people that worked on this movie were, and I would love to know how they feel now. I did watch a couple of interviews that Indy Stevenson did discussing the fact that this film is out, how he felt when he saw it, and you could just see the pure joy and happiness in his eyes and you can hear it in his voice Just how proud he is of this film and how excited he is that it actually came out. There are so many fantastic things about this movie that I don't even know where to start, and I just mentioned a moment ago that this film does have very important LGBTQ representation. If you listen to this podcast for long enough, you know how passionate we are about being allies and we understand the importance of having these stories available in different mediums, whether it be animation, whether it be live action, whether it be an anime. Whatever it is, it's so important for these stories to be told. Nomona is beautifully animated. For the most part, it's incredibly funny, but it can also be devastatingly heartbreaking in some moments, and it's in those moments that I think are the most important. I don't want to make this episode all about Disney, but I am going to bring up a few of their most recent projects. Elemental is currently in theaters. I have not seen it yet. I do plan on watching it when it comes to Disney Plus, but I had no desire whatsoever to see it in theaters. Neither did my daughter. Now she's a little bit older, she's 15, so she's not as eager to run out and see each and every single animated feature that Disney puts out. Strange World was an absolute flop, but it's another film I have yet to see and I don't really know if I will watch it. I haven't really heard too much about it. And then the film before that Light Year, again a character that I didn't really care to know more about. To be honest with you, some people are wondering if we're entering another dark age when it comes to Disney animated films. I wouldn't really necessarily go that far. There is something to be said that some of the best animated films that we've seen recently, none of them are Disney. We're talking about Nemona, we're talking about Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, and then we're talking about Puss in Boots, the Last Wish, and again, i haven't even seen the aforementioned Sea Beast or Mitchell of the Machines, and again. I've heard those movies are fantastic. We are approaching a time where we have to have a real conversation about Netflix being a legitimate competitor to Disney. They already are, if we're being honest. I don't know if mainstream audiences think of it that way because we don't get to see these films on a big screen, but as far as quality, the stories that they are telling, animation, everything is up to par and sometimes, at least as far as recent examples, it's better than what Disney is putting out. One of Pixar's greatest strengths is that usually you go into that film expecting to cry, expecting to feel some sort of emotion. Nimona is rich with that, from beginning to end. Again, i told you that it can be absolutely heart-breakingly devastating in some moments. Nimona's backstory is so tragic, but the mask and the disguise that she has put on to cover that pain that is in her past has resulted in one of the most charming, electric and likable and lovable characters in animation that I've ever come across. I am absolutely obsessed with Nimona. I will actively look for Nimona merchandise at conventions, whether it be art, whether it be figurines, whatever it is. I have ordered the Nimona graphic novel on Amazon just to like, honestly, right before I recorded this episode it's gonna be here in a couple weeks just because I wanted to add it to the collection and I wanted to support the creator of this wonderful story. I do want to talk a little bit about the characters, ballister Balthard, who again is played by Riz Ahmed. They are essentially tied to the hip throughout this entire story. I'm not gonna say that this is the absolute perfect film. I do wish we'd learned a little bit more about Ballister. The film does kind of just throw you right in the action right away, and sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes that's a bad thing. I think, as far as fleshing out the world, there could have been a little bit more. The movie's an hour and 41 minutes already. So I mean, if you tacked on an extra 20 minutes to world build give 10 minutes here, 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there could have made this film a 10 out of 10 for me, but it's still very close to that which I will give my grade at the end of this episode. There are a few moments where, in the background of what's going on for the film, it's just so blank and barren that it's almost impossible to ignore. So that's one thing I would have liked to, maybe just to just fill out the world a little bit. One thing we talk about in like open world video games, is, you know where there is a large open world to explore, but really nothing in it. It doesn't feel like it's lived in, and you don't really feel like the world that this is based in is fully lived in until probably the final act of the movie, and that's a pretty nitpicky thing. To be honest with you. Again, it doesn't make or break the film. It's just very obvious in some points that it's just empty. That being said, though, getting back to the characters, the voice acting is great. The art direction and the animation is stunning, for, again, what is in the foreground? It is seriously one of the best movies I have seen all year. Now, if not for Across the Spiderverse, this would easily take my best animated film. Now, again, we have a whole another six months left in the year. I don't know. I don't have the movies that are going to be releasing for the remainder of the year, but I already know that Nimona is going to be a strong contender. I would be hard-pressed for this not to be in my top five films of 2023. I've already watched through it twice. That's how much I have enjoyed it, and while there are so many important themes when it comes to this movie I mean we were talking about acceptance, figuring out who you are, depression, thoughts of taking your own life, gender identity all of these things It still makes for an enjoyable ride, and that is again a testament to Nimona as a character. Indy Stevenson himself has written about being transgender in some of his other web comics. As I mentioned before, i cannot express the importance of stories like this existing in this space. One of the reasons Disney pushed back on this film is because this is a very minor spoiler. There is a same sex couple that kisses at the end of the film, and Disney pressed very hard to get that scene removed from the movie, and I believe what I saw as, ultimately, blue sky did end up giving to their wishes, and one of the best things to happen was Disney ultimately deciding to close blue sky studios and thus relinquishing the ownership of this story. I watched a few different YouTube videos again in preparation of this episode, and one of the comments annoyed me so much. It was talking about how good the movie was. However, it had a controversial ending And I don't know if the person was referring to a heartbreaking moment that Nimona and Ballester are going through or if they were referring to a same sex couple kissing And if it is the latter, go fuck yourself. Honestly, i just, I honestly, just don't have any other way. All I can tell you is I know for a fact there are a lot of Nimonas out there. Hell, i have been a Nimona at certain points of my life And if you feel like you are alone and that no one cares about you, i'm here to tell you it's not true. There are very important resources in the show notes of this episode. Please check them out. If you have ever come up to any of our booths at any convention, no matter where it may be, and you feel like you're alone or you are misunderstood, you come talk to us Because, again, i promise you, there are people out there that care about you and they are happy that you are here. Nimona is a beautiful film I'm going to watch it over and over again And much like extraction to last month, to two totally different stories. However, i wish I could have seen Nimona on a big screen And, who knows, maybe we'll get the opportunity to do so one day, but watch it on whatever screen you have available to you now, because it's incredible. I give it a nine out of 10. And there are just some nitpicky things that honestly prevent it from being a 10 out of 10 for me. As far as a story, it's a 10 out of 10. When it comes to world building and maybe some of the animation choices. That's what bumps it down just a little bit, but I have all the confidence in the world that you're going to enjoy. This film Currently sits at a 94% tomato meter score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 92% audience score, and it is currently available to stream on Netflix right now. It's so refreshing finding animated films outside of the Disney and Pixar space that are so incredibly memorable. Between this and Puss in Boots of the Last Wish last year, when I finally got to watch Wolf Walkers, animated films are in an incredibly healthy place right now. If you are willing to look outside of that Disney bubble, because people are out here telling stories that are going to withstand the test of time, just look a little bit past the mouse man. I promise those stories are out there. But that's it for this month's episode of Netflix and Phil. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy Nimona. Please reach out to us on social media. Let me know that you are watching this movie. Once again, check out the show notes of this episode to find some very important links, not only for the podcast, which is our social media and everything like that, where you can find the rest of our content, but, again, just important links for yourself. If you're ever feeling like you just need a little bit of help or a little bit of guidance, those links are included. You'll also find links to our Patreon page, which gets you access to exclusive content, such as video recordings of our episodes. Bonus content You get a special shout out, like our Patreon prior gets each and every single episode only. If you have the means, though, and if you feel like maybe supporting us in a different way, head on over to Apple Podcast, spotify, wherever you're listening, and give us a five star review another great way to support the show. Folks, i am your cohost, phil Smith, aka Phil the Filipino. Do not forget. We release new episodes every Monday and Wednesday with additional bonus content over on our TikTok page, and all you have to do is wait for it. So I heard you're looking for a go-to source for entertainment. Wait for it Gaming, wait for it Anime Plus Ultra. Mr Eric Almighty and Phil the Filipino Yeah, they've got you covered And all you gotta do is wait for it. This is the Wait for it podcast.