Big Hero 6, 2015.
Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams.
Featuring the voice talents of Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Daniel Henney, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., James Cromwell and Alan Tudyk.
The special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.
With Pixars’ John Lasseter and Edwin Catmull involved, you know they’ve probably done well, and in Big Hero 6, there is very little disappointment. This is the next film to surface after the “redemption quadtrilogy” of The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Wreck It Ralph (a personal favourite), and the musically unending smash hit Frozen. Since bringing these guys in, Disney have totally turned it around, with some saying that Pixar has actually taken a little hit in creativity since Catmull and Lasseter assumed control of both studios.
Tangents aside, Big Hero 6, directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, is an adaptation of a little known Marvel comic, about a 14-year-old boy called Hiro (spectacularly mispronounced as “Hero” by seemingly everyone, bar one character in the film), a total robotics prodigy, with genius level intellect, who participates in underground robot fighting. Keeping the pledge of “no spoilers” (or no proper spoilers?) alive, he ends up making friends with a nurse robot called Baymax; a rotund, inflatable, and charming friend.
The relationship between the two is at the heart of the story, it’s both emotional and hilarious; Baymax is programmed to help everyone, and is always determined to do so, which gives an opportunity for a lot of humour, but also a degree of conflict to the story. Baymax is surely one of the most charming and endearing characters to grace the big screen; just his walk can incite fits of laughter, and a heart that could possibly reduce anyone to tears. Whatever you may think of superhero fights or toy selling animation, like the great animations of Pixar and classic Disney, this film has heart and humour at its core, making it a joy from start to finish.
In terms of plot and story, it isn’t the greatest animation ever made, with its first half making much more sense than its second. But it only serves to highlight how good the core aspects of the film are, there are far more real laughs than you would expect, keeping both children and adults (and everything in between) engaged with the fun. For the parents reading this, its infant pacifying power is great; Disney’s advertising must have worked well because everyone was going crazy about Baymax and co. before the start of the screening.
The score for Big Hero 6 is solid, but nothing that will have soundtrack sales soaring particularly. It’s an east and west hybrid much like the film’s setting, the fictional, futuristic city of San Fransokyo, it’s a vibrant mash-up. The city itself is great to look at, and provides an entertaining backdrop for the story, musically though, probably a little annoying for more adult audiences but with children as the target audience it shouldn’t count against it.
The world they have created for Big Hero 6 is expansive and detailed, providing scope for the characters big story. Taking advantage of a 55,000-core supercomputer, the animation is fantastic, delivering realism to its fantasy. This brings us to one of the more impressive points of Big Hero 6. The film features a large measure of action and frenzied movement; the finished product never feels overloaded (which was a criticism of the well received and Oscar nominated The Lego Movie). The action is surprisingly clear, with the focus rarely faltering; with so many animations opting for a much denser, clustered style, its good to see this film do much better in that regard, making it more eye friendly.
Another bonus for the film is its voice acting, with these big budget animations usually carrying some huge names; they have a good cast but no stand out big guns this time around (although Damon Wayans, Jr. is fairly well known as coach from New Girl, and Scott Adsit of 30 Rock fame as Baymax). Its well-delivered performances all round, with special mention to T.J Millar as Fred, who is outstandingly ridiculous throughout as one of Hiro’s friends. The friends are introduced early on but are not as well developed, as you would have hoped throughout the film; but their involvement adds an extra layer of humour to an already comical effort.
Big Hero 6 is a vastly enjoyable film, for all audiences. Its script is far too good for only kids to watch it; it’s a well-produced, visual powerhouse; which provides real emotion and heart to what is essentially an animated superhero film. You can feel Lasseter’s presence throughout, the little tweaks and subtle gags that has permeated through his extensive collection at Pixar, now bringing Disney Animation Studios back to prominence. The directorial team of Hall and Williams has brought us a real feast for the eyes; the animation really is spectacular at times, pushing the boundaries of just how much detail you can control, while not making it overwhelming on the viewer. The relationship between Hiro and Baymax is as touching as it is funny, bringing real heart to the superhero genre. A load of visual gags to an already tight script makes this an instantly re-watchable film. Highly recommended.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★