Disney did not become the all-consuming beast it is today by mistake. The family friendly company has made all-ages entertainment their bread and butter and while a great chunk of their movies are animated, they have always appealed to children and adults alike. Big Hero 6 represents the first animated theatrical release to boast both Walt Disney Animation Studios’ and Marvel Studios’ involvement since the Mouse House acquired Marvel back in 2009, so the bar that the movie had to leap was set pretty high. So high, in fact, that it was almost impossible to clear that jump without stumbling. Well, Disney is in the business of magic and pulling off the impossible is what they do best. Big Hero 6 is shining, glorious, wonderful proof that the Disney magic is alive and well and continues the tradition that Walt started back in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Big Hero 6 is the story of a young genius, Hiro Takachiho, and his adorably wonderful health care facilitator robot, Baymax. The story starts as Hiro is taking part in a “bot fight”, which is basically like a dog fight to the death but with remote controlled robots. Within the first ten minutes of the film, the audience learns almost everything that they need to know about Hiro: he’s 13, he’s a genius, he’s a bit reckless, and he’s a part of a loving family that includes himself, his brother, and their aunt. After a tragedy changes his life, Hiro is lost until he rediscovers Baymax, whose only goal is to make people feel better. After Hiro uncovers clues that convince him that the tragedy he experienced was no accident, he sets out to make things right. Along the way, he recruits some friends that he “upgrades” with various technology, effectively turning them into a superhero team bent on justice.
Big Hero 6 is a brilliant display of just what Disney can do with superheroes, even without the help of Pixar. Not only is the story pure Disney, the animation is top notch. There are several scenes throughout the movie in which viewers will find themselves marveling at the depth of facial expression that the characters are able to exhibit. More to the point, there are several scenes throughout the movie in which viewers will find themselves completely engrossed in the animation, be it the characters or the world that they inhabit. The city of San Fransokyo is so well thought out and so well constructed that it plays like a city that most people would love to visit and even though there are obviously a few technological miracles that are quite a bit beyond us, it even fits perfectly in the real world.
The characters are every bit as fun as they should be and it is amazing that the writers behind the flick (Robert Barid, Daniel Gerson, and Jordon Roberts) were able to give us full, fleshed out players, even when those characters have minimal screen time. Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams have a firm grasp on their project and balance action with humor as if it was easy. Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter ) displays the perfect amount of teen angst while he struggles to discover just who he wants to be. Go Go (voiced by Jamie Chung) is wonderful as the tough one in the group with the heart of gold. Her demands for people to “woman up” will have many people cheering. Honey Lemon (voiced by Genesis Rodriguez) is cute and brilliant and happens to be one of the few characters that actually tries to pronounce Hiro’s name correctly! When it comes to the laughs, Fred (voiced by T.J. Miller) and Wasabi (voiced by Damon Wayans Jr.) bring on the hilarity in spades. Fred is the mascot of the group who excels at sign spinning and Wasabi is a brilliant scientist that spilled wasabi on his shirt “one time people!”, and who should never be flown over the water. Together, the duo will have faces hurting and sides sore from laughter. The real star of the film, however, is Baymax (voiced by Scott Adsit). Baymax was invented by Hiro’s brother, Tadashi (voiced by Daniel Henney), as basically a robot nurse, though that hardly gives credit where credit is due. Baymax can scan someone in seconds to determine what their medical issue may be, whether it’s a bump on the head, depression, or even puberty. Once the diagnostic is run, Baymax can then provide appropriate medical attention. All of this is the clinical explanation, however. In short, Baymax is a big, inflatable vinyl robot that is programmed to help people. He is curious and wonderful and along with Groot and Rocket Raccoon, Marvel has another character that people will fall in love with during each viewing.
Big Hero 6 is based on the Marvel comic book team of the same name. The names of main characters of the team remain basically the same but the movie has definitely taken a few liberties when it comes to the source material. Luckily, Big Hero 6 isn’t one of Marvel’s more popular books here in the States, so the property seems very new and the differences between the source material and the movie itself are absolutely of no consequence. What matters here is the content of the movie itself and this movie is jam packed with goodness. If you are a rabid fan of the comic books, however, prepare yourself for quite a few changes and then sit back and enjoy the ride.
This has been an absolutely stellar year for animated movies and Big Hero 6 still manages to set itself apart from the pack by providing entertainment that the entire family can enjoy. The subject matter is suitable for little ones while still providing plenty of laughs for the parents who are toting their kids to the local cinema, and even teenagers can find plenty to love, considering the main character is also a teen. The 3D is absolutely amazing and worth the extra price that comes along with it. Hell, even the animated short that plays with the film, Feast, is an accomplishment in entertainment. All in all, Big Hero 6 satisfies on pretty much every level, even with the fairly easy-to-solve mystery at the heart of the story. In the end, like with all Disney movies, Big Hero 6 is about friendship and family, and just how important it is to keep those we love as close to our hearts as possible. Really, is there a better lesson for kids to learn?
Big Hero 6 hits theaters this Friday.