Everything Big Hero 6 Could’ve Been
I watched this film when I came home from work, I was a bit tired and had seen this film’s teasers on Twitter so I thought “why not?”. I was impressed; Netflix has a track record of making “meh” films but this impressed me, it’s not without flaws but i still really enjoyed it. I was planning on reviewing The Secret life of Walter Mitty but now I want to do this.
Next Gen is directed by Joe Ksander and Kevin R Adam. The film follows the story Mai (Charlyne Yi), a teenage girl struggling with loss and bullying at school, who finds a secret experimental robot, 7723 (John Krasinski), which helps her take revenge on the robots which she hates so much. After a robot revenge killing spree, some new truths emerge and truths about 7723 existence and the full nature of the company IQ, the company making the very popular G-bots. As well as the intentions of its leader, Justin Pin (Jason Sudeikis).
Ksander and Adams worked together on films before, but have never directed any full length films. They have both worked in Art and Visual effect and this is more than evident by the stunning visuals here. The graphics beautiful, this is unexpected from one of Netflix’s few animated films. The look is well polished with a wide range of colour creating something visually amazing, there is this slight blandness on some of the objects so they not too bright and blinding, and makes everything look more real. The hair was really good, Icould see every hair and the light coming off it. The visuals go as far as to show dust and general roughness on the material of the objects – most notably the scene when Mai and 7723 meet.
The main character, Mai, is an angsty girl who is bullied and hates everything, partly due to her dads death. Mai has this edgy style, with purple short hair with one side shaved; she pulls the look off and this punk style is a bit refreshing to other animated protagonists – normally other companies attempts at having a character whose ‘different’ is just smart or geeky(tell me I’m wrong), instead Netflix has a kid who’s troubling with loss and has a distinctive different personality to the cookie cutter clichés done by other Studios. The overall outcome fits her character however I don’t think it fits her age. In the film Mai is about 13-14 however, i feel like the character would be better and more interesting if she’s older. This would break the clichés even more and add new elements to explore as well as make the characters “rage” more believable as well as her edgy punk style.
7723 is a good character with a clear conflict, he’s running out of memory and is deleting memories every night but will soon run out. Overall the execution of this arc is done not-too-badly, however side characters in this film need much improvement: there’s Greenwood (voiced by Kiana Lede which the film decides to redeem but never gives her a reason to be a bully (which is kind of an unspoken rule), the relationship between Mai and Greenwood is very interesting but never fully developed or worked on. The relationship between Ani (Anna Akana) and Mai was brilliant. Mai is lonely and had no friends, then she finds someone who wants to be friends, and the relationship is never developed? and this could be a perfect part of Mai’s development into being a good person again and instead Molly gets about five minutes screen time?!
The second to last fight had an odd but successful filmography style in that there’s really long shots following the characters and zooming in and out erratically. Weird thing is, the outcome is really successful and they managed to keep the intensity and action of the scene while still doing this. I’m impressed they managed to get away with this.
The final battle between 7723 and Aries/Justin Pin was cool and emotional. Justin Pin has been exposed as being the robot Aries, who killed the real Pin – the fight gets to the point where 7723 has to erase all his memories, to get his weapon system back online and win the fight against Aries. The way this is executed is brilliant, showing the individual moments erased from his head. The movie is full of stunning moments like these. There is one moment i was like “what?“; at the scene where 7723 is running through the sewer, there’s that random bit which only left me confused where theres a random rewind for no reason apart from to look cool. One scene needing review is where Mai and 7723 talk about 7723’s memories and how he’s got Mai’s back. the scenes a little wired and doesn’t flow as smoothly as one would hope and overall feels wrong.
A lot of the crew who worked on this film, also worked on the very impressive animated movie – 9, the film is about an alternate reality where weapons made for war turned against humanity and killed all life on earth. A scientist who helped make the machines made 9 tiny robots named 1-9 to help restore life on earth. I like this film for its message; technology used incorrectly can be bad however technology used for the right reasons can fix everything. Next Gen has the same message and I love that it covers a big subject made for small people. (i also strongly suggest watching 9)
END OF SPOILERS
This film is better than Big Hero 6, lots of reviews said they looked the same – BUT THEY’RE NOT Both films are well animated but their stories, although similar (involving death), are very different. Big Hero 6’s villain is unbelievable and side characters get in the way, the robot is stupid and is made a weapon. Next Gen’s villain is decent and shows the dangers of AI as well as the beauty of AI on 7723. The side characters in this don’t get enough screen time which is annoying but not as annoying as them just being there. In this the robot has a heart breaking conflict and tries to help a girl while Big hero 6 the robot is just along for the ride while a kid is on a rampage. I will admit a somewhat similar plot but if i was going to watch one, im picking Next Gen…..definitely.
The movie is fun, enjoyable, interesting (not surprising as most of the crew made “9”) and emotional. At times the relationship between 7723 and Mai came off as slightly awkward at times but still the less flowed well for most of the film. The fights were good and emotional. On the whole the movie was brilliant. You can tell that the artists and animators had a vision and cared about this a lot. I give it
Thanks for reading, it means a lot. If you see any spelling, grammar or literary mistakes, please tell me. I’m dyslexic and would appreciate this so I may improve.
by Frederic Hall
Facts taken from imdb