Pixar Dreamworks Marvel Oh it’s a Disney film Disney have another hit on their hands. This wonderfully animated, charming, creative, heartfelt and humorous movie is not only perfect for the kids but has that grip to entertain absolutely anyone who enters that theatre no matter what age.
Big Hero 6 is a very loose adaptation of the rather obscure Marvel superhero team of the same name. The grammatically invalid name refers to six characters, none of which have any superpowers, but benefit from the wonders of their own scientific creations. The main guy is 14-year old Hiro Hamada, a genius who spends his time competing in illegal robot fights. Hiro meets his older brother Tadashi’s friends at the robotics lab at his university, GoGo, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred. Tadashi also shows Hiro his creation, Baymax, a personal healthcare robot (a big, lovable and soft personal healthcare robot). I don’t wish to talk too much about the events that transpire, but a changed Hiro ends up forming a superhero team with Baymax and Tadashi’s friends to take down a mysterious masked villain.
The movie is set in…San Fransokyo! Yes it’s a combination of Tokyo and San Francisco, yes it’s the coolest damn thing ever and yes I want to live there now! What I found intriguing…and I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but how the city screams Tokyo at night but feels very American during the day. A simple Eastern/Western culture merge has made the world of Big Hero 6 so much more exciting, with the bridge, the trams and the Japanese scripts.
Hiro goes through many changes and development through this fast-paced movie. In the beginning I cheered for his cunning tricks in the robot fights but I definitely enjoyed seeing him live up to his potential as a science student and triumph through tragedy. Baymax will of course be the huge draw to this movie. The innocent robot stands out in every single scene he’s in, and not just with his physical presence. All he knows as a personal healthcare robot is to do no harm to any individual. He looks and feels like a big cuddly marshmallow, and naturally this leads to slapstick comedy. It’s also great watching Hiro try to transform him into a fighting superhero, with hilariously mixed results.
The other four members of the group almost felt like peripheral characters rather than part of the main cast, and that’s a shame because they all have likable personalities, brought together by a love for science. Honey Lemon appears at a glance to be a combination of the lovey dovey touchie-feelie blonde, with the fascinated nerd girl, but there’s more to her than that. GoGo is the tough tomboy of the group, but it isn’t beneath her to show compassion. Fred is a “DUUUUDE” kind of guy, but not of the douchebag variety, while Wasabe is the reserved and sane one without being dull. It’s a refreshingly diverse cast both ethnically and in the female heroes. I hope GoGo’s call to arms, “woman up”, becomes the feminist catchphrase of 2015.
Aside from early on when the friends are introduced, you don’t get to spend much time with them outside of the action scenes. If there’s a sequel (and that’s an if, because Disney’s not a sequel machine like Dreamworks or new-age Pixar), it’d be great to see them develop as they work efficiently and believably as a friendship group bound together by a love of science.
Speaking of which, the whole movie has a pro-science message, which is drawn into Baymax and the other characters’ powers. The love of science adds to the usual superhero story, by using their brains to make brawns they take down the villain at the end by being clever. It does this without actually boring the audience with scientific content. The twist of the villain’s identity I bet everyone will see coming, but the important thing is his motivations which I thought was handled admirably.
The lack of time to breathe is this movie’s biggest flaw. It does move at a fast pace, which is a strength but also a weakness. Big Hero 6’s short running time did not create something meaningful out of the plot’s shift into a superhero movie. The movie is called Big Hero 6 but it really is Hiro‘s story, with Baymax as his co-star. Now this criticism isn’t a scolding, because who am I to complain about awesome superhero costumes and powers? If a sequel is made, it would be great to explore the other heroes, because they have interesting personalities. In spite of all that, Hiro and Baymax are the heart of the film, and the heart beats strongly.
Big Hero 6 is a really great movie that left me wanting more. No it’s not quite as amazing as Frozen or the best of Pixar, but it’s definitely as great as Tangled or Wreck-It-Ralph. Disney seems to be on another streak of great movies, and Big Hero 6 will be loved by generations, for generations. Go see it!