Next Gen (film)
|Story by||Wang Nima|
by Wang Nima
|Edited by||Matt Ahrens|
|Box office||$2.4 million |
Next Gen is a 2018 computer-animated science fiction action film that is based on the online Chinese comic 7723 by Wang Nima, and is directed by Kevin R. Adams and Joe Ksander. The film stars the voices of John Krasinski, Charlyne Yi, Jason Sudeikis, Michael Peña, David Cross and Constance Wu. It tells the story of Mai Su, a lonely rebellious teenage girl living in a world where sentient robot technology is commonplace, and 7723, a top-secret weaponized robot, who, through a chance encounter, meet each other and form an unlikely bond that they must use to stop a vicious threat. The film was released on Netflix on September 7, 2018.
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In the futuristic city of Grainland where robots and bullies are ubiquitous, the father of a girl named Mai leaves for losing his job. Some time later, she and her mother Molly attend a product launch at the IQ Robotics headquarters. Mai, annoyed at Molly's ignorance of her, wanders off and stumbles upon the secret lab of Dr. Tanner Rice, who's been working on an attack robot called 7723. Mai accidentally activates 7723, before being apprehended by security and returned to her mother. At the launch, Justin Pin, CEO of IQ Robotics, unveils the next generation of Q-Bots to the public with the promise to put "one in every home", however he secretly designed the Q-Bots to explode. Meanwhile, 7723 leaves the lab to find Mai, but causes a high-speed pursuit on an elevated freeway. The situation escalates when he uses his weapon systems, making the police forces respond with deadly force. Falling into the lowest levels of the city, he awakens later to find the fall damaged his memory core, preventing him from keeping memories in the long term.
The next day at school, Mai is beaten up by an athletic group of bullies with Q-Bots. Mai comes home with a black eye much to Molly's shock, but the two's strained relationship prevents any meaningful discussion, and so Mai runs to her room. Later that night when Mai goes outside to check on her foulmouthed dog, Momo, she finds 7723 in her backyard. She initially tries to dismiss him, but impressed by his weapons system, she allows him to stay in the yard shed.
Later, Mai confronts the bullies with 7723 at her side, who destroys one of the bullies' Q-Bots, forcing them to flee. The two then embark on a montage of shenanigans throughout the city, but as 7723 accumulates more memories, he struggles to decide which ones to keep. When Mai confronts him about it, he reveals that if he reaches full capacity, he will undergo a total system reset, losing his memories in the process. Mai suggests deleting his core systems to make room, but he warns that he would lose functionality.
7723 becomes apprehensive about using his abilities despite Mai's orders, who has become power-crazy, and refuses to blast Mai's school bully when she orders her hurt. He subsequently deletes his weapons system to save his memories and prevent himself from hurting people any longer. He finds Mai and promises to her to never let her down again (unknowingly being seen by Molly's Q-Bot's visual feed in the process). Returning home, they find Dr. Rice waiting for them to format 7723's memory and take him away. While explaining he built 7723 to prevent an upcoming crisis, Pin and Ares arrive. Pin reveals his heartless plan to kill people, and a fight erupts. Unable to fight back without his weapons, 7723 is unable to stop Pin from kidnapping Molly and flees with Mai and Momo into the sewers. Mai snaps at 7723 for deleting his weapon systems and not saving her mother. Storming off to IQ Robotics to rescue her, she is quickly apprehended, but 7723 arrives and the two make up in the heat of the battle. They find Dr. Rice, who warns them of Ares, but before he can say much more, Pin appears and vaporizes him, but Mai has noticed that Pin's mannerisms are mimicking Ares', and the resulting battle is taken to a nearby sports stadium, where the truth is eventually and publicly revealed: Ares had killed Pin and has been using a bionic skeleton in his body. When Pin created Ares, he told him to make the world "perfect", which Ares believes will only happen through humanity's extinction. With his plans exposed, Ares arms the Q-Bots and merges with a powerful assault armor to overpower 7723, while Mai rescues Molly and evacuates the stadium, but is captured by Ares' Pin body. Unable to fend off Ares, 7723 makes the decision to reboot himself, restoring his weapons and beginning the process of wiping his memories. Saving Mai, he shares one last goodbye with her before battling Ares on equal footing. After an arduous battle, his system reboot completes before he can neutralize an immobilized Ares, becoming inert. Ares attempts to use his now-weakened Pin body to destroy the vulnerable 7723, but Mai stops him by swiping Ares' head off. 7723 re-activates but fails to recognize Mai.
As life returns to normal, Mai begins making new memories with 7723, and even regain pieces of his old ones, and both are accepted by the community.
- John Krasinski as 7723 (credited as "Project 77")
- Charlyne Yi as Mai Su,[Note 1] Molly's daughter
- Jason Sudeikis as Justin Pin / Ares
- Michael Peña as Momo, Mai's foulmouthed dog, which 7723 uses a translator to understand him
- David Cross as Dr. Tanner Rice / Q-Bots
- Constance Wu as Molly Su, Mai's mom
- Kiana Ledé as Greenwood
- Anna Akana as Ani, Mai's friend
- Kitana Turnbull as RJ
- Jet Jurgensmeyer as Junior
- Issac Ryan Brown as Ric
- Betsy Sodaro as Gate
- Fred Tatasciore as Police Robots / Robot Podium / Announcer
Next Gen is a Canadian-American-Chinese co-production.
In May 2018, it was announced that Netflix had purchased worldwide rights to Next Gen, an animated film directed by Kevin R. Adams and Joe Ksander, for $30 million. The deal excluded China. Charlyne Yi, Jason Sudeikis, Michael Peña, David Cross, Kitana Turnbull and Constance Wu would lead the voice cast.
Regarding the project being acquired by Netflix, Ksander stated:
Buying the film for the price they [Netflix] did was great for everybody involved, but more importantly, they've been a partner who's been really supportive of what we were trying to do.
R. Adams added that:
Studios weren't sure how it [Next Gen] fit an animated children's film with Marvel-like action. Netflix was the most generous and they're in a place where they can take a risk.
In Richard Roeper's review for the Chicago Sun Times, he criticized the film's indecisiveness in what audience it was aiming for and said "It's a chore just to keep up with all the shifts in tone, and by the time Next Gen reaches the finish line, we're more exhausted than exhilarated."
However, Joel Keller of Decider found no major problems to prevent enjoyment of the film, writing, "Our Call: STREAM IT. Great voice performances, some funny moments, and a central relationship that will immediately suck you in make NextGen a fun watch for the entire family."
- Pronounced like "May".
- Cycles for Animated Feature Film Production. In: YouTube. Blender. 16 November 2017, retrieved 24 December 2018.
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- "Netflix Buys Animated Film 'Next Gen' for $30 Million". 11 May 2018.
- Jr, Mike Fleming (11 May 2018). "Netflix Makes $30M Worldwide Rights Deal For Animated 'Next Gen' – Cannes".
- Setoodeh, Ramin (11 May 2018). "Cannes: Netflix Buys Animated Robot Movie 'Next Gen' for $30 Million Worldwide Deal".
- 'Next Gen': Netflix's $30-Million Animated Pickup Taps the Sentient Robot Zeitgeist
- ""Next Gen" - Blender Production by Tangent Animation soon on Netflix! - BlenderNation". BlenderNation. 2018-08-20. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
- "Next Gen". Netflix. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "Next Gen (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- Roeper, Richard (September 7, 2018). "'Next Gen' overloads its animated robots with too many shifts in plot and tone". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- Keller, Joel (September 7, 2018). "Stream It Or Skip It: 'Next Gen' On Netflix, About A Lonely Girl And The Robot Who Becomes Her Best Friend". Decider. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
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