We’re in the futuristic city of
Grainland and robots are everywhere, helping humans with all aspects of
life. From robotic teachers and police, right the way down to the
smaller, task orientated robots. Friendly robot hairbrushes leap on kids
heads and start brushing their messy hair while robot toothbrushes,
programmed by mum to ensure their kids regularly brush their teeth, seek
out the children who are trying to avoid them. It’s all done in good
humour, even if in reality it would all be just a little bit creepy. The
opening credits introduce us to Mai Su, whose parents split following
an argument. As Mai grows up, her mother compensates for her loss by
filling her life with servant robots called Q-Bots, making Mai feel
neglected and eventually resentful towards all robots. She’s a very
unhappy teenager, bullied at school for being different.
At the big launch of the next generation of Q-Bots, Mai breaks free from her excited mum and, following a run in with some security robots, finds herself in a hidden lab. There, Dr Rice, who is the technical brains behind the Q-Bots, has been developing a robot of his own: Project 7723 (voiced by John Krasinski). As the curious Mai goes to investigate the robot, security bots catch up with her once more and she has to leave quickly, leaving behind her backpack. Project 7723 picks up the backpack and sets about returning it to its rightful owner at all costs. As 7723 travels along the highway, following the car that is transporting Mai home, we begin to discover just how technologically advanced 7723 is – packing some serious weaponry, which it uses to effectively take out the police robots that are in pursuit. Nothing stands in its way.
The backpack is eventually returned, but Mai is initially disinterested in the robot. That is, until it takes out the annoying robot toothbrush with a laser! The pair form a friendship, and Mai hides 7723 away in her garage at night. Unfortunately though, 7723 sustained damage to his core memory during the earlier chase and each night has to decide which of the memories he made with Mai that day he can delete in order to prevent his storage from reaching critical capacity. As they have fun together and become good friends, this gets harder to do each day, and you just know that eventually this isn’t going to end well.
I really enjoyed Next Gen. It’s very reminiscent of movies like Big Hero 6 and The Iron Giant and John Krasinski brings 7723 to life brilliantly. The animation is of such a high standard, beautifully detailed, and there are some fantastic action sequences, along with plenty of good humour throughout. And, as suspected, it does manage to pack a real emotional punch at times too. I sat and watched this with my daughter and it really is just a great family movie.
- The Verdict