OUTPUT drive – in, The exploitation of children in Asia: this serious subject matter is addressed, among others, in a cartoon in denmark that combines the serious and the entertainment, the moments of reflection and the sequences to be humorous, My Ninja and me (in French theatres this Wednesday, July 15).
The film begins in a hangar of Thailand, where children are regularly beaten with sticks, make to the chain of dolls ninjas. The importer Norwegian of these toys, a certain Phillip Eppermint, wicking blonde and air dismissively, visit the shed and, annoyed, beats to death one of the children-slaves.
He had time, before dying, to make a last doll ninja, but with a fabric scarf plaid of the industrial. In favor of a storm and unbeknownst to all, the Ninja comes to life and, secretly, finds himself on a boat bound for Europe, carrying with him the credit card of the villain Eppermint.
On the boat, it is recovered by an old alcoholic Danish, which returns from its holiday in Thailand and who is going to give birthday gift to his nephew, Alex, a student of 5th at the age of 13. The young boy will soon discover that his new toy comes alive and it speaks.
Blended family and school harassment
Alex, sweet and intelligent, but shy and unsure of himself, lives in a reconstituted family where Sean, the son who of his father-in-law, the persecuted. And at school this is no better: he has the hots for the lovely Jessica but doesn’t dare to tell him, and he suffered the humiliation and daily harassment of Glenn, the gross of the college.
But everything will change thanks to his Ninja speaker: “Do you suffered with your problems, be you the affrontes”, he said to his new friend, that will teach him to become stronger and more skilled, to master the martial arts, to be courageous, to not be afraid –all of this to approach Jessica, put Sean in his place and rembarrer Glenn. In exchange, the Ninja wants Alex’s help to find Phillip Eppermint, for revenge…
The children will help the French cinema to find this summer its viewers after three months of closure of the theatres due to coronavirus? After Us, the dogs and Scooby!, here’s a third cartoon family to which parents may bring their offspring. But after the dogs, abandoned or not, here the fate of child slaves in Asia encouraged to advise the film for more than 8 years.
Because, between two gags and replicas to be humorous, there is a good dose of darkness and seriousness in this My Ninja and me, with allusions to the modern world and sequences that do not lend themselves to laughter: a child beaten to death in the shed thai, Alex briefly interned in a psychiatric hospital, of children who plan to go to an event for the climate, the mom who is cooking cookies gluten-free, the alcoholic uncle who does not hesitate to put hands on the buttocks (“no One has the right to do that, now. Hashtag MeToo!”, sneers-t-il), a drug dealer, which is rampant in the neighborhoods of the small Danish town…
A vengeful spirit-old five centuries
Even the Ninja, who seeks revenge, sometimes attitudes and ominous words. Moralistic, authoritarian, manipulator: this is not a nice plush toy, it is for Alex more of a prof of courage, and a coach of hardness that a friend tame and sweet. And most of all, the doll is alive, the incarnation of the spirit of a Ninja old of five centuries, seeks to punish the evil magnate of the toy to avenge the children who are victims of injustice.
Slave children, stepfamilies, bullying, the transition from childhood to adolescence: it is the backdrop of the story. But it’s still a nice cartoon family for kids and teens, funny and fast-paced, full of suspense and sprinkled with humorous scenes and dialogues are funny, most of the time to the credit of the Ninja tiles (“Species of waste non-recyclable!”, “You would not be a bit mono-neuronal, are you?”).
Freshness and candor of children
The film denounces the attitude of those who do evil by arguing: “If I don’t, someone else will in my place, anyway.” This cynicism is modern, My Ninja and me –which, at its output in Denmark in December 2018, has attracted 950.000 viewers, a record for an animated film in this country– contrasts with the freshness and the innocence of children all over the world, in Thailand as in Denmark. “The message of the film is that it is necessary to always give the best of yourself, believe in yourself, and always think that the good will triumph, and never to abandon this idea”, says Anders Matthesen, one of the two co-directors with Thorbjørn Christoffersen.