Netflix’s ‘Next Gen’ Review: A More Realistic ‘Big Hero 6’ That Surprisingly Works [Opinion]

It's pretty much 'Big Hero 6' if it chose to go way darker.

'Next Gen' is a surprisingly realistic coming-of-age tale.
Netflix

It's pretty much 'Big Hero 6' if it chose to go way darker.

Next Gen is reminiscent of another popular movie, namely Big Hero 6. Whether Next Gen is as successful or memorable as Big Hero 6 to the Netflix audience, only time can tell.

Summary

Next Gen is about a girl named Mai, who lives in a world filled with robots. Everyone in Mai’s world seems to own their robot, much like people today own a smartphone or mobile phone. Mai, however, is not very fond of robots. One could say she hates them. One fateful day, however, Mai meets 7723, a robot unlike any other. She doesn’t know this during her first encounter with the robot, of course. After some chasing — on the robot’s part — the two eventually embark on a journey together which changes the world.

Plot And Character Development

There were some deep, dark themes explored in this movie. Given that the creators of this film were Kevin Adams and Joe Ksander, the same duo that worked on the animated movie 9, it’s no surprise.

Initially, Mai seems like a typical teenager. Later throughout the movie though, her angst turns a bit dark. Mai’s character development seems to go in reverse. She appears to be ready to explode. She can’t take being around robots. She can’t take the humans obsessed with robots. Her character devolves in front of our eyes from this angsty teenager whose good at heart to that of an angry person with a hard core.

Mai’s need for real justice through her weaponized robot is an issue that begs many questions. She is not introduced as someone particularly violent at the beginning of the movie, but she grows to be one later. Her possession of a powerful robot instills confidence in Mai that is terrifying. By the climax of the movie, Mai and the main villain are only a veil apart. They’re just rooting for different sides.

As for the 7723, he might be a good contender for Baymax. He wasn’t as cute, but he was thoughtful, kind, and just as lovable. Between the two, the robot became easier to sympathize or empathize with in the movie. He also has to make some tough decisions on his own.

Verdict

Next Gen has excellent art. Its visuals can rival that of Big Hero 6, almost. The plot and character development are interesting but are not cohesive enough to be labeled perfect. Mai can be downright unlikable sometimes which makes her unrelatable. Her background isn’t explained well either which is sad because understanding Mai’s past was necessary for the audience to empathize with her. The tragic history of her family was glazed over and not given enough time to brew in the audience’s minds to invoke sympathy for Mai.

Given all that, Mai and 7723 seemed to go down the path that Hiro and Baymax didn’t in Big Hero 6. The entire movie seemed to want to push the envelope and explore everything Disney or Pixar didn’t with their animated robot films. As noted by Geeky Rant, Next Gen is pretty much a more serious Big Hero 6, with a dash of The Iron Giant thrown in for good measure.