• 20 Oct - 26 Oct, 2018
  • Farheen Jawaid
  • Reviews

The Netflix released animation, (produced by Baozou Manhua, Alibaba Pictures and Tangent Animation), Next Gen, is a gorgeous looking feature that is little too high on cartoon violence for its PG rating.

Based on the comic 7723 by Wang Nima, the movie is directed by debutants Kevin R. Adams and Joe Ksander. The plot is set in a futuristic world where A.I (artificial intelligence) and robots are at an everyday norm.

Living in that world is the misfit Mai (Charlyne Yi), an angry and ignored teen whose family was broken when her father left her mother Molly (Constance Wu) years ago. Her mother found solace in technology and is almost entirely wired to the internet, flourishing attention on many robots in their lives. The daughter only finds priority as an afterthought, which in turn made Mai hate robots like anything.

Her school life is full of neglectful teachers, and bullying classmates who have gone to the extent that she is beaten by their robots. She has only one connection in the world – her tiny, bigheaded dog Momo (Michael Peña).

Mia then encounters Project 77 (John Krasinski), a secretly made new robot by Dr. Tanner (David Cross), a genius behind the trending robot company called Q-Bots. The face of the company, Justin Pin (Jason Sudeikis) is the equivalent to Steve Jobs, sporting a man bun. At a Q-Bot grand unveiling, Pin declares that he wants everyone to get addicted to these new robots and wants them in every house.

Project 77, accidentally activated by Mia, follows her home. First appalled by 77, Mia soon finds a use for him. Mostly motivated by her anger issues, 77 does every evil and violent deeds against whatever thing that annoyed or caused emotional or physical harm to Mia.

Next Gen has a good enough message, but the way it is put forth is brash and insensitive. If the creative team behind Next Gen wanted to be more serious, they should have gone with a higher certification that catered to an older audience. Instead, they wanted to play in Pixar’s backyard, which Next Gen visually reflects. The theme builds on the wrong impression of solving everything with violence for the bulk of the story, culminating with the moral of letting go of one’s technology overindulgence at the very last scene. Next Gen is tonally deaf, but visually pleasing feature that is definitely not suited for audience younger than 12.