Friday, November 28, 2014

Big Hero 6 Review

Disney's latest animated feature film is the first one I can think of that features super heroes. I suppose this shouldn't be much of a surprise, since Disney bought Marvel back in 2009 and has been making tons of money with their Marvel Super Hero/Avengers movies. They have been championing Big Hero 6 (2014) as being from the creators of Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph, and those are some pretty good titles to compare to their new release. Does their first animated Marvel super hero feature hold up?
Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) is a fourteen-year-old robotics genius who lives in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, and spends his time participating in back-alley robot fights. Hiro is learning to harness his genius, thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) and his like-minded friends; adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago (Jamie Chung), neatnik Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), chemistry whiz Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), and fanboy Fred (T.J. Miller). When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to his closest companion, a medical robot prototype created by Tadashi called Baymax (Scott Adsit). Hiro transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes determined to solve the mystery.
I didn't know it at the time I saw the previews, but after Big Hero 6 hit theaters everyone started talking about how it's based on a Marvel miniseries. The team of heroes called Big Hero 6 are fairly obscure within the Marvel universe, but have had their own miniseries of comics. Spider-Man has called upon Big Hero 6 to help him fight Doctor Octopus, and for a time Wolverine's enemy, the Silver Samurai, was a member of Big Hero 6. Since this is technically a Marvel movie, you should stick around for a traditional post-credits scene, and watch for the king of cameos to make an appearance.
The characters in Big Hero 6 were adorable to say the least. I have no idea how they measure up to original comics, but I like the ones that were depicted in the movie. I said in my Real Steel review that child prodigy characters are very unrealistic and often indicators of bad writing. Hiro occasionally pushes credibility here, but he is still a kid; he's got the attention span, emotional maturity, inflated confidence, and insecurities of any adolescent, and these are incorporated into his character beautifully. Sure he's got a well-above-average skills with robotics, but he's still just a kid and the movie doesn't forget that.
Tadashi acts as more of a role model for Hiro than an actual mentor. Hiro has to learn some pretty tough lessons on his own. At one point, Hiro's desire for justice goes overboard and he makes some very serious mistakes, but he still didn't have a mentor to teach him what to learn from his mistake. I thought this was a particularly interesting bit of character development since Hiro had no one to help him figure out what to do with the experiences, and yet we still see him learn and mature as a young man and as a hero.
The other major character is Baymax. There is nothing about this character that isn't superbly lovable. The way he moves, talks, and interacts with the world around him is absolutely adorable. He resembles a semi-inflated balloon and looks so huggable. There were several clusters of small kids in the theater when I saw Big Hero 6, and nearly every time Baymax did anything at all there was an eruption of giggles from them. Baymax offers a compassionate and healing voice for those suffering, and a hug that can be felt through the screen. He sells the movie; it wouldn't have been nearly as fun without this irresistible blob of a roly-poly robot charisma. 
Big Hero 6 is a PG animated Disney movie and was chockfull of physical gags, funny characters, and silly jokes. There's also a lot of exciting super hero action and villain combat. There are also lots of hugs and love. It also features the kind of stellar animation we've come to expect from Disney. Big Hero 6 combines Disney wonder and charm with Marvel awe and action to deliver a movie that exhibits the best of both studios. While the action is good, it's the central character's heart that is the real appeal. Big Hero 6 has got something for everyone; there's a lot to enjoy in this movie. Kids will love the fun characters and silly stunts, older viewers will appreciate the action and animation, and everyone will love the heartfelt, genuine emotion these characters exude. I recommend seeing Big Hero 6 in theaters if you can. It's worth the ticket price. It's also worth getting a copy of on Blu-Ray when it becomes available.

Here's the trailer so you can get a feel for how Baymax was animated:

So, what do you think about Disney's first animated Marvel movie? I think it's good, but out of sorts with Disney's usual fare. Comment below and tell me what you think!

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