BIG HERO 6
By Gary Murray
Starring the voices of Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit and Damon Wayans Jr.
Written by Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson and Jordan Roberts
Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams
Running time 108 min
MPAA Rating PG
Selig Film Rating FULL PRICE
Disney has been trying to break into the fan-boy realm for years but with little success. With films like Treasure Planet and Atlantis, they have been attempting to capture that anime look while still keeping with the Disney family spirit. At best, they have been a moderate success. Big Hero 6 should change that.
The story takes place in a future place called San Fransokyo a metro-plex melding of San Francisco and Tokyo. Two young orphaned boys Hiro (Ryan Potter) and Tadashi (Daniel Henney) live with their aunt. Tadashi goes to the local technical university but Hiro is the true progeny.
When we first see Hiro, he is doing an illegal underground robot battle. His little robot turns into a stunning destructive machine, showing that bigger does not mean better. It is obvious that the kid knows more about robots than most adults will ever know. His older brother has been working on a giant soft balloon of a medical robot called Baymax (Scott Adsit). The robot’s job is to make patients feel better.
Very soon, Hiro is a part of the Nerd Lab and soon after that he is creating mircobots. They are small computer robotic components that work together as a larger complex system. On the night of his unveiling of the mircobots, a tragedy happens and Tadashi is killed.
We forward a few months and Hiro still is not over the tragedy He activates Baymax and the robot begins to comfort the young boy with big soft hugs. Eventually a friendship begins between the two and Hiro finds that his microbots are not destroyed. He and Baymax follow the clues that lead them to a Kabuki masked villain who is using the microbots as his minions. Since they can be formed into anything, it is a formidable enemy.
Hiro goes to the nerd lab and recruits the other university students to form a team to defeat the menace. They include Go Go (Jarnie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriquez) and fan favorite slacker Fred (T. I. Miller). The five young people and robot eventually form a fighting force called Big Hero 6. Yes, this is an origins story along the lines of a comic book.
The film is of how they must battle the villain and the origin of said villain. It twists and turns to a dramatic ending battle that thrills both the kids and adults. It is an adventure ending that rivals The Avengers or The Incredibles in the category of cinematic action-adventure. It is a joy to watch.
Big Hero 6 is a fun film that the entire family can enjoy. There is such a gentle humor with Baymax, much more character driven than the set-up punch formula. The characters and their reactions to each other build the charm of the screenplay. It is not ‘joke-y’ but situational comical.
The film just jumps off the screen with colors and palates that are seldom seen in an animated film. The eye for detail gives even the slightest backgrounds a feeling of place. The city comes alive under the sure direction of Don Hall and Chris Williams. They have achieved what others have failed to do, melding animations styles of East and West.
Also, this is a very pro-science film. The heroes are not some mutants who are granted super power through some fluke but through their scientific skills. It is refreshing to see the smart kids becoming heroes because they are smart.
Big Hero 6 is a brilliant film that combines the best of Disney with the best of anime. It is definitely going to be another huge series for The Mouse, a billion dollar franchise of games and toys. But that doesn’t mean that the film is just marketing. In the end, the actual film is a pleasure to experience.
There are two films that are in the race for best animated film of 2014. One is How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Big Hero 6 is the other one. It should be a top of the heap by the end of the year ballots are tallied.