Disney has been on a bit of a role lately when it comes to animations and their latest installment, Big Hero 6, is no exception. Based on an obscure old Marvel comic of the same name Big Hero 6 starts out in the vibrant futuristic city of San Fransokyo, a cultural mish-mash of San Francisco and Tokyo as we know them. Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) is a boy genius, who graduated high school at 13 but has since put all his time and talent into illegal robot-fighting, a choice that his brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), thinks is a waste of his potential. In order to convince Hiro to place his talents in a more productive environment, Tadashi drags Hiro along to his university where he and his “nerd” friends are working on their own scientific projects.
Hiro is amazed by their creations, but he falls completely for Tadashi’s project: a medical care robot named Baymax (Scott Adsit) whose pudgy inflatable exterior makes him the most cuddly robot ever created. Responding to calls of distress Baymax activates and scans his patient for illness or injury and provides the appropriate medical care to help them feel better. A sharp turn in events, however, sees Hiro teaming up with Baymax and his new friends from the university in order to stop an evil masked villain from destroying San Fransokyo, creating new identities and forming a superhero gang. With a boy genius and a huggable robot on side, surely nothing can stand in their way… right?
This film has one major advantage that works for its entire duration and that is Baymax. Baymax is the most adorable, hilarious and lovable Disney character since Olaf from Frozen, and he completely steals the show. As a medical robot whose primary function is to care for others, Baymax is as innocent as a child, but has the body of an incredibly tall and extremely fat man providing material for some fantastic gags. If Baymax were the only character in the entire movie I would be happy to just watch him for 90 minutes going about his day to day life. But all the characters here are well constructed including the adventurous and passionate Hiro, along with his superhero mates Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), Go Go Tomago (Jamie Chung), Fred (T.J. Miller) and Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez). It is this collection of wacky-but-wonderful characters that injects such emotion into this animation, in one moment making you giggle like a six year old, the next crying like a baby.
The other incredible thing about this film is the animation. Disney has gone all out for this release, using technologies and software that have never been used before and the results are really something that has to be seen to be believed. It’s amazing how far animation has come in such a short space of time but its the little details that make a world of difference: the singular strands of hair on a characters head or the way light bounces in a shot. San Fransokyo in particular is a sight to behold and the remarkable visual effects alone warrant a trip to the cinema (in 3D if possible).
My reservations about the film come from the way the plot developed. I was really impressed with the balance directors Don Hall and Chris Williams were able to strike between appealing to both a child and adult audience and the film was continually hilarious and moving. In saying that I found myself wishing it wasn’t a superhero film. Being a Marvel film this is kind of expected but I thought these amazing characters and the phenomenal world in which they lived was a little wasted on a formulaic superhero movie, the same kind that are being pumped out by Marvel in a constant never-ending stream. Big Hero 6 has incredibly witty, clever writing and awe-inspiring visual effects, but it is essentially another superhero origins movie, left open-ended for various sequels and franchises to swoop in and take it one step too far.
In saying this, Big Hero 6 is a film with such a big heart. It might be an animation, but it definitely isn’t just for the kiddies and I recommend people of every age should check it out, purely for its imaginative spirit and, of course, the gorgeous Baymax.
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