Review: The pirates next door: The ninjas from the other side (2022)

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The pirates next door: The ninjas from the other side (2022)

Directed by: Pim van Hoeve | 92 minutes | family | Actors: Egbert Jan Weeber, Tygo Gernandt, Jung Sun den Hollander, Sarah Janneh, Samuel Beau Reurekas, Matti Stooker, Celeste Holsheimer, Peter van Heeringen, Kyana Pacis, David Lucieer, Nyncke Beekhuyzen, Bert Hana, Sytske van der Ster

Reggie Naus loves all things adventure. De Brabander would have loved to become a pirate, but when he once boarded a ship and ended up in a storm, he became so seasick that he put that dream out of his head. Because he firmly believes that you should do what you enjoy, he surrounded himself with old books that he could rummage through for hours. At some point he decided to try writing books. Because he became most happy writing adventure books for children, he started to specialize in them. One of his best-known book series is ‘The pirates from next door’, about a riotous pirate family that settles down in the quiet coastal town of Zandwijk aan Zee and experiences adventures with the local population. Director Pim van Hoeve and screenwriter Sander de Regt adapted Naus’ book into the surprisingly entertaining family film ‘The pirates from next door’ (2020), starring Egbert Jan Weeber and Tygo Gernandt, among others. With colorful sets, sets, clothing and make-up, an infectious cast and playful visual inventions, Van Hoeve and De Regt have created a charming adventure film for young and old.

As is often the case with successful (youth) films, a sequel film was released: ‘The pirates next door: The ninjas from the other side’ (2022), after the third book in the series of the same name. The Donderbus family – father Hector (Egbert Jan Weeber), mother Betsie (Sarah Janneh) and now teenage son Billy (Samuel Beau Reurekas) – has now settled nicely in Zandwijk aan Zee and the Zandwijkers are also used to the sometimes rather unusual habits of the pirate family. But then a new family comes to live in the street; not ordinary people or pirates, but ninjas. Maybe you weren’t aware of it, but pirates and ninjas hate each other. They are like water and fire and have been at odds with each other for centuries. Billy talks tough language to his friends Elizabeth (Celeste Holsheimer) and Michiel (Matti Stooker), but then he meets Yuka Katana (Kyana Pacis), the ninja daughter. Although he is a shaggy pirate and swordsman and Yuka a light-footed and agile Eastern warrior – they couldn’t be more different – they seem to like each other equally. But they have to keep that a secret from families, because pirates and ninjas, they just don’t go together. Meanwhile, Billy’s parents and Yuka’s mother Mia (Jung Sun den Hollander) try to fight their feud at the neighborhood tournament, but whether that’s the place to get closer…

Never change a winning team, producer Johan Nijenhuis must have thought when he started this second part of ‘The pirates from next door’. Almost all the main characters from the first film – both before and behind the scenes – are once again making an appearance. Child actors Reurekas, Stooker and Holsheimer have aged a few years, with a few more years of experience, and are joined by debutante Pacis, who, together with Reurekas, can show some cleverly choreographed fight scenes. Tygo Gernandt turns up as an old acquaintance Bony Krelis in a crucial supporting role. If there is anyone in the Netherlands who can convincingly play a pirate, it is him. Central is the forbidden friendship between Billy and Yuka – or is it more than friendship. The forbidden friendship and budding puppy love is elaborated in a very sweet way, à la Romeo & Juliet. The mysterious atmosphere of kung fu and Eastern martial arts is very different from the pirate world, but is cleverly woven into the story. The humor comes mainly from the adult actors, whose characters blindly stick to the proportions they have always been: pirates and ninjas don’t mix, period. Their half-hearted attempts to get closer, especially because their children and the Zandwijkers want the hatchet to be buried, regularly brings a smile on the face.

A forbidden friendship, exciting battles and a twist that not everyone will see coming – ‘The Pirates Next Door: The Ninjas From The Other Side’ has it all. The film also looks great, with beautiful costumes and sets, beautiful effects and of course that beautiful pirate ship in which a large part of the action takes place. Everything is made with great care and attention and the cast radiates plenty of fun. This entertaining second film is certainly not inferior to its predecessor. If Van Hoeve and co are able to maintain this level, then as far as we’re concerned there may be a third film!

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