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Soundtrack review: Next Gen (Alexis & Sam – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Next Gen (Alexis & Sam – 2018)

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This explosive animated thrill ride is based on the comic “7723” by Wang Nima. NEXT GEN is an off-beat action/comedy that tells the story of the unlikely bond between a girl and her combat robot as they team up to defeat a madman’s plans for domination. Set in a high-tech city of the future, NEXT GEN is a funny, exciting and heart-warming adventure that explores the bittersweet nature of memory and celebrates the value of friendship. Alexis Marsh and Samuel Jones wrote the score and this is my first contact with their music.

After a soft opening nostalgia makes its way to me through “Next Gen”, the main theme in the second cue, a perfect combination of 80s rock and electronics that takes me back to arcade games, TV shows and all sorts of goodies from my favourite decade and it doesn’t even need 2 minutes to take me on this journey. The rock vibe continues with electric guitar and keyboards and the music is bold and playful without getting overwhelming; this is a story for kids and teenagers and the composers keep that in mind and don’t add extra weight to the music. There’s also just the right dose of heroism to fire up imaginations.

I would categorise the music of “Next Gen” as experimental and this is how it should be; I haven’t seen the movie yet but for the this score would work very well on a computer game where I was involved, controlling the characters. It’s a mix of electronic and rock with a few ambient touches that work very well with the science fiction setting of the movie. There is no central idea or clear identity in the score, just a collection of cues remotely related through sound. The music is simple and this gives it even more an 80s vibe because back then instrumental music was rarely complex. I think the composers had fun writing this one and experimenting with all this sounds, mixing them together; at some point I get a big band spy movie cue which in reality is a 40 seconds long insert called … “Brush your teeth” and I think this contradiction is representative for the score.

“Next Gen” is nice and warm to the touch; it puts me in a good mood with its mostly joyful electronic sound and it also makes me wish for simpler times. Sometimes I like it a lot, especially when it gets ambient and reflective, other times it makes me smile and it’s never boring. It’s a simple and intimate electronic story, here dreamy, there wonderfully emotional, other times action oriented and it left me with a very nice overall feeling inside.

Cue rating: 77 / 100

Highlights:
Next Gen
I’m Broken
Out Of Options
Rainbow Machine
You Are Very Evil

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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