Next Gen

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Next Gen Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Great animation, solid messages; lots of cartoon violence.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 95 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 28 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain and inspire rather than educate.

Positive Messages

 "Memories make us what we are. Don't let bad memories stop you from making good ones." Promotes using technological advances for good and fighting against injustice.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Spirited but troubled young heroine learns to deal with long-standing anger and hurt, channel her feelings into positive behavior. She becomes effective force for good. Well-intentioned but neglectful parent learns value of being present for her child. Standard bully changes her ways.   

Violence & Scariness

Frequent animated violence: robots in heated battle, explosions, gunfire, laser fire, human characters held captive, falls, chases, kids in peril, young bully and her victim fight. Destruction of robots. Villain fiercely threatens humans with death; obliterates one man.

Sexy Stuff

A small dog is equipped with a profanity-bleeping device. He erupts in angry gibberish to simulate swearing, which is then bleeped. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Next Gen is an animated sci-fi adventure that takes place in a futuristic city where robots play a significant role in citizens' lives. The story centers on the relationship between an angry 12-year-old girl named Young Mai (voiced by Charlyne Yi) and an AI (Artificial Intelligence) called 7723 (John Krasinski), who join together to fight a villain. While relationships are at the core of the story, viewers can also expect lots of cartoon mayhem: robot battles, human fighting, explosions, laser and gunfire, falls, chases, a human held captive, bullies, and threats to the entire populace. A quick-tempered pet erupts in angry gibberish to simulate swearing, which is then bleeped. The film also offers thoughtful messages about dealing with loss, healing, and the importance of memories in each individual's life. Based on friendship, love, grief, evil, and justice, this story has lots of characters and story elements, but kids in middle grades and up who are used to some complexity should be able to follow it.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjacjacjac September 12, 2018

Parents be warned

The story was ok but as soon as they tried to mask the F word with a beep while still being able to clearly see the characters mouth miming the word I turned it... Continue reading
Adult Written bySylvia D. September 15, 2018

Too much bleeping!

I agree. It went way too far with the swear words and violence! Not a little kids movie.
Teen, 13 years old Written byMisterObvious September 29, 2018

Not for immature/young kids.

This movie was beautiful. I'll admit I cried during it. If you liked 'The Iron Giant' and 'Big Hero 6', you'll like Next Gen.

Sin... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTeamKeefe12 April 10, 2020

Not for younger kids

Very angsty. I couldn't handle it at all.
On top of it, the bullies were very VERY OVER THE TOP violent.
This is more of a movie for teens.

What's the story?

Young Mai (voiced by Charlyne Yi) is one angry girl in NEXT GEN. She hates robots; she's bullied; she can't seem to get her mother's attention. And she's never recovered from her father's leaving her and her mom, Molly (Constance Wu), years earlier. Molly hasn't helped matters; she's obsessed with robots, as well as Justin Pin (Jason Sudeikis), the genius behind IQ Electronics, who like Steve Jobs before him, is revered as the face of the future. But unbeknownst to Justin Pin, in a secret lab at IQ Electronics, Dr. Rice (David Cross) has created an extraordinary prototype AI (artificial intelligence), whom he calls 7723 (John Krasinski). When 7723 escapes from the lab, in a stroke of great serendipity, it's Mai whom he encounters. Bent on revenge, Mai sees 7723's powerful strength and abilities as the answer to what she calls her "unfocused rage": getting back at the bullies and the robots. Awed by his first real view of the world outside the lab, 7723 sees Mai as a new and wonderful friend in need of his guidance and protection. As their relationship surges, changes, and ultimately becomes a very important one, the two discover a dire threat to the world that only they may be able to stop.

Is it any good?

A warmhearted story lies beneath the vibrant animation and imaginative cartoon mayhem, all made distinctive by the outstanding cast of actors and the original characters they've created. Charlyne Yi's Mai is unique: surly, funny, needy, and smart. John Krasinski is wonderful as 7723, evolving almost magically from robot to almost-human. Jason Sudeikis and David Cross are simply terrific. Next Gen is long and packed with many characters and plot complications that probably didn't need to be as complicated, and it has some striking changes in tone. But it's easy to see why Netflix came up with a lot of money when the film was up for sale in Cannes, France. Recommended.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Next Gen. Most of the victims in the story are robots. Does it have the same impact as when human characters are killed or injured? For kids? For adults? Why or why not? 

  • In the movie, a scientist says "Perfect is the enemy of good." What do you think he meant? Has "trying to be perfect" ever gotten in the way for you? How so?

  • Track the evolution of Mai's character as the story progresses. She started out angry and hopeless. How did she end up? What events made the changes possible?  

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animated tales

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