This movie came up on my radar about a month ago, thanks to Netflix’s advertising on their own website since it’s a Netflix original. Somehow I knew that I would like this movie, and had been eagerly awaiting its release. Well, folks, it finally came out yesterday, and I must say, it didn’t disappoint. Next Gen is a charming children’s cyberpunk tale about humanity and adolescence woven through the narrative of robots and machines.
The story is about a young girl called Mai who was part of a happy family until one day her father gets into an argument with her mother and decides to leave. This causes a lot of anger and angst in the young girl, who grows up to become a rebellious teen. Her mother decides to get a robot to fill the space that her father left, but this results in her mother loving robots while Mai despises them because of how they can never replace a proper human.
In case you’re worried this is ruining the movie, have no fear. Mai’s entire backstory is told wordlessly at the beginning of the movie alongside the movie credits, which was an interesting artistic touch but personally I’m never in favor of a movie needing to explain its world to you before it even starts. Some of my favorite movies have always been ones where they never held your hand or helped explain their world to you, where instead you as a viewer have to make it out as you go along.
Anyways, a friendless Mai meets a new robot, 7723, who might make her change her mind about the value of robots. Together they then band together to help save the world from a nefarious plot that I will not reveal, but being a true cyberpunk movie, you can probably guess what might happen well into the movie.
I personally loved this movie. There is a good amount of action, and the direction and scenes are incredibly creative and felt akin to the visuals I might see in a high-quality anime or intense big-budget video game.
The soundtrack was quite good, the characters were believable and relatable (especially Mai), and the visuals were beautiful as well.
Considering that this is a children’s movie and I wasn’t their target audience, I thought it was still a very enjoyable movie. I look forward to more cyberpunk movies like it, especially because for me, the cyberpunk tropes can get a bit too violent (like Altered Carbon), too slow (like Blade Runner), or too dark and depressing (like Black Mirror). To watch a neon high-tech movie where humanity is slipping away with an excess of robots in their false utopia was highly refreshing when considering how light and fun all the robots were. For instance, the robot toothbrush fighting to get into Mai’s mouth so it could fight her tartar was a laugh-out-loud fun moment. You don’t get a lot of those these days with Cyberpunk.
In summation, I would give this movie a 10/10 taken as it is, unless you don’t like kids movies or expect to have your mind blown, in which case it’s probably not for you. I can’t seem to find any faults in it really.
Let me know what you think below!