Animated Movie, Animation, Baymax, Big Hero 6, Children's Movie, Chris Pratt, Cinema, Comedy, Comics, Daniel Henney, Disney, Film, Graphic Novels, Hiro Hamada, Marvel, Movie Review, Robotics, Ryan Potter, San Francisco, Scott Adsit, Superhero Movie, Superheroes, Tadashi Hamada, The Boxtrolls, The Lego Movie, The Oscars, Tokyo
“Big Hero 6” is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. There’s no reason why adults can’t enjoy it just as much as children, because each moment of comedy hits on every level, and the story is both fantastical, as well as being grounded in a harsh sense of reality. It also boasts one of the most likeable supporting characters in movie history, Baymax (Scott Adsit), an inflatable health robot with a tendency to give out hugs and state the obvious.
This is a Disney film inspired by a Marvel comic, and for me the two are a match made in Heaven. In my opinion, one of the most frustrating things about Marvel is that in their live-action films the characters don’t take the destruction of everyone and everything they love seriously enough. However, in an animated film you can’t expect that same sense of despair, because these kinds of films have to appeal to children as well as adults, and at the end of the day young children probably wouldn’t respond favourably to a sense of foreboding doom! The animated nature of this film allows the adult section of the audience to lose the feeling of frustration that live action superhero movies can cause, because a light-hearted tone makes a whole lot of sense. The collaboration has earned “Big Hero 6” Marvel’s first Oscar win, and it thoroughly deserved the golden statuette.
(SPOILER ALERT) The film is about Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), an extremely intelligent teenager with a passion for robotics, as he attempts to get over the loss of his brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney), with the help of Baymax and a group of Tadashi’s friends. Tadashi is a very likeable character, but his death is necessary, as this event propels the plot forward, leading Hiro to confront the villain of the film. In order to stop this villain, (apparently named Yokai, although I never caught that name and you soon associate the villain with his alter ego), Hiro must team up with his friends to create a group of powerful and wacky heroes. The plot feels familiar, because we have seen plenty of superhero origin stories in the past, but the addition of Baymax really keeps the film from feeling dated, and the fact that we haven’t seen these heroes on screen before makes telling their story right from the very beginning more than acceptable.
One problem which I should highlight is that I didn’t like the name; “Big Hero 6” sounds like an odd translation of a title, rather than an Oscar calibre animated movie from Disney and Marvel. I presume that the comic which the film takes its inspiration from shares the title, so it makes sense that it was kept, but it isn’t exactly forcing people to take notice, or even telling them what the film is about. It refers to the group of heroes that the movie follows, but I didn’t hear them refer to themselves with that title, and the movie would’ve been better served with a more interesting and catchy name.
The movie tackles difficult issues, such as loss, in a very heartfelt and believable way. It doesn’t linger on the emotions that certain characters are feeling for too long, so as to keep the audience from feeling totally depressed and to keep the tone light, but by using the passage of time it showcases how the characters are still reacting to certain tragic events, and you understand just how upset they would’ve been immediately after they lost their loved ones. It’s nice to see a film trying to pull at the heartstrings without excessive tears or screams, because loss isn’t always dealt with in that way. When most people are coping with death they don’t just curse God for five minutes and then get on with their lives, they feel a lack of motivation, they’re depressed, and they just want to be alone and remember the person they once knew. That’s how “Big Hero 6” portrays its character’s struggles, which I was very impressed with in an animated movie.
The characters are all very likeable, particularly Hiro and Baymax. Hiro is a young boy but he has some great ideas and he’s a bit of a miscreant, which makes him all the more entertaining. You want to see what he’s going to come up with next, and what dire situations he’s going to get himself involved in, because he’s one of those kids that just seems to know how to find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Baymax is awesome! He’s a fat, inflatable, brainless machine with no tact or subtlety, but he’s so loveable as a result. He sees Hiro as his patient, which leads to some hilarious scenes in which he asks Hiro to rate his pain from one to ten, even if all that’s happened is that he’s stubbed his toe. He also takes note of blood pressure levels and other internal indicators of happiness in order to constantly pervade Hiro’s privacy, and he doesn’t understand the concept of personal space. His lack of understanding regarding anything which he isn’t programmed to know is genuinely funny, and he’s a very uplifting character which the audience wishes they could take home as a souvenir at the end of the movie. He steals the show, whether it be with his drunken low battery antics, or his monotone voice and expressionless face, he’s a marketing team’s dream and a child’s best friend.
The big city setting of San Fransokyo is a wonderful hybrid of the two locations from which it takes its name, and it gives the film a feeling of being out of this world, even though the way that that world is structured is very familiar. “Big Hero 6” also has fantastic visual effects to back up this city, with great art direction and a very sharp look to everything that’s happening. The colours are vibrant and everything feels as though it belongs in the world, which makes the film easy to watch and gives it a distinct visual appeal.
The only serious problem I had with the film was the villain. As far as character design goes he was pretty excellent, and the microbots were a very cool feature, but I had an issue with his motivation. I don’t want to give the plot away or reveal who the villain was, because it actually wasn’t immediately obvious, but the reason why he was doing what he was doing really didn’t make sense to me. I know that this is a film aimed at children, but it’s better than just that, so it should be assessed as such.
The villain’s motive was basically revenge, but he had no quarrel whatsoever with our heroes, so it didn’t really follow that he would try so desperately to hurt them when they first saw him. Later on they were actively trying to stop him and had the means to do so, so he had to take action, but initially they were just innocent people and his reason for doing what he was doing shouldn’t have extended to killing children! It made no sense! Things would’ve made a lot more sense if he was just a creepy, greedy, old man, and I would’ve been more than happy with that. His motivations felt like they had been shoehorned into the movie in order to fit the theme of loss which ran throughout it, and also to facilitate the ending of the film, but I felt that it was overdoing it by giving him a vengeful incentive.
Nevertheless, “Big Hero 6” is a fantastic children’s film and a brilliant superhero movie. It’s very hard to criticise beyond knit-picking and personal preference, and it’s more than worthy of the Oscar that it has recently won. Marvel properties are extremely hot right now, and this one is no different, which makes me excited to see what animated film they will make next (I’ll be more than happy if it’s just the sequel to this film). I haven’t seen a better animated movie in a long time, in fact, I think I prefer this film to both “The Lego Movie” and “The Boxtrolls”, which were my favourite animated movies of last year. Therefore, this is one of my favourite movies of 2015 so far, and will likely make my list for the best films of the year when that time comes around again.