BIG HERO 6
Directed by Don Hall, Chris Williams
Starring Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, T.J. Miller, Damon Wayans Jr, Maya Rudolph
When the name Walt Disney is attached to anything you know you're in for a treat. Even if the film isn't quite as memorable as Sleeping Beauty or The Lion King, it's still a fun time at the movies. There's a reason people refer to a thing as "Disney magic" when it leaves you feeling emotional and special. With Big Hero 6, the Disney magic is mostly there. It's a fun ride that kids will definitely appreciate and parents can enjoy.
The film is set in the melting pot city of San Fransokyo where the world of robotics is cool and the people that build them are even cooler. Hiro, our appropriately named hero, is a young teen set on becoming a master robot-builder. It's his passion and he isn't letting anything get in his way. His older brother is just as brilliant as he is and has created an robot named Baymax intended to revolutionize healthcare. Quicker than expected, Baymax becomes the driving force for all things endearing in the film. He is hilariously large like a giant marshmallow man and patiently polite and kind. Tadashi, Hiro's brother, specifically programmed Baymax to help people. A few plot lines later and Hiro is in charge of Baymax and enlists the help of Tadashi's friends to save San Fransokyo from an evil nemesis. The Marvel tones show up here as things get outlandishly crazy and one of our fearless saviors must make the ultimate sacrifice.
Big Hero 6 is based on a Marvel story, which is a little bit of a hindrance in the overall arc of the film. The action and peril work way better here than other Marvel flicks because the over-the-top scenarios play better in an animated world than in one that is supposed to be believably real. But, there's a certain heart tug that doesn't happen here like we've seen in other recent Disney projects. In all fairness, though, I'm probably comparing recent Disney animation to that of Pixar, Disney's sister. Last year's tour de force Frozen didn't necessarily pull at heartstrings (though Olaf's speech about melting for people was a close contender), but it did give a different kind of anticipation and overwhelmingly good vibes. Big Hero 6 is a lot of fun, tries really hard to be moving, and even comes very, very close, but it's more about the action sequences here, which quickly disintegrates any almost-feels.
The animation is top notch and the characters are all interesting. Hiro is a great addition to the Disney canon of leading characters, especially for the boys in the crowd. I have a feeling Disney will be making a fortune from Hiro-inspired wardrobe similar to the rush for Elsa styles after Frozen. While Hiro might be a great hero, it's Baymax who steals the spotlight every single time he's on screen. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants a Baymax for my own personal healthcare and friendship.
If I was a kid, I think I would definitely find Big Hero 6 enthralling and emotional. It's more clever than it should be and is a great sign of things to come from Walt Disney Animation. It's worth seeing and will probably end up in a couple Oscar categories. Parents, don't worry, this one will be fun to watch over and over again.
Runtime: 102 minutes