In the world of Next Gen, household robots have become as commonplace as cellphones. Teenage loner Mai, takes a crazy killer robot on a joyride and amidst the wonton destruction the two become friends.
The trailer makes Next Gen look like a very forgettable Big Hero 6/ Iron Giant wannabe. I went into Next Gen with low expectations but after finishing the film I had to pick my jaw up off the floor and rush to write this review.
The original music is really “edgy on purpose.” The film opens with a song where the lyrics are literally “rebel girl.”
During the climax of Iron Giant, the film’s giant robot uses crazy SciFi weapons before choosing not to become a weapon himself. The Robot in Next Gen however, has those weapons from the start and Mai is all too happy for him to use them to murder other robots!
Tonally speaking, this reads like an Adult Swim parody of a Pixar film. There are moments in Next Gen where characters point out kids movie clichés right before subverting them. The plot takes some surprisingly dark turns and there’s a lot of violence designed as “SciFi action.”
However, even with Next Gen’s edgy humor and the questionable morals of its protagonists, it still has heart. The genuine relationship between Mai and the Robot sells the film.
The Robot has a limited memory capacity and must delete memories every day to avoid shutting down. The problem occurs when he has to decide which memories he wants to keep as he grows more attached to Mai. Does he just want to remember the good times with her? Or is it more important that he understand all aspects of Mai including her flaws?
So is Next Gen better than Big Hero 6? I think Big Hero 6 is a better choice for parents who want something safe and positive for their kids to watch. Personally, I find the majority of CG films to be too saccharine, so I preferred Next Gen. It’s a blast to watch and perfectly caters to an audience of people in their 20s looking for subversive content in kids cartoons. Whether you watch the film ironically or un-ironically there’s more to Next Gen than meets the eye.