Big Hero 6

Posted: November 16, 2014 in Movie Reviews

Big Hero 6

Disney Studios has been in their 2nd “Disney Renaissance” lately. The first Disney Renaissance (a term highly popularized among the fan community) started with The Little Mermaid, continuing with Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, and culminated with The Lion King. What began with 2009’s The Princess and the Frog followed by Tangled, and including Wreck-It Ralph as well as last year’s Frozen, has become something of a 2nd Disney Renaissance. All 8 of these films previously mentioned exhibit a highly intelligent form of storytelling and animation, but most importantly they all have longevity. Oddly enough, there was even one film in both of those 5-year periods of time that have become forgotten (The Rescuers Down Under in 1990 and Winnie the Pooh in 2011). However, just like Pocahontas ended the first Disney Renaissance, so has Big Hero 6 ended the second.

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Summary: (No spoilers)

14-year-old genius Hiro Hamada has dreams of following in his big brother’s footsteps by creating advanced and innovative robotic technology. But when a mysterious masked villain threatens the city of San Fransokyo (a hybrid of San Francisco and Tokyo), Hiro must push his brain capacity to the limit as he tries to stop him.

With the help of Baymax, a Michelin-like personal healthcare robot designed by his brother, and four young science interns, the group of rag-tag nerds become an unstoppable team—–each with a unique set of “superpowers”.

Also starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, T.J. Miller, James Cromwell, and Alan Tudyk.

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After the juggernaut that was Frozen, I don’t think it would be farfetched to presume that Disney was hard-pressed to deliver something that could live up to the enormous standards of the movie-goers. Despite this pretty much impossible task, Disney did the right thing; they made a film so vastly opposite of Frozen so as to create as little comparison as possible. It was a smart move. However, comparison will still be drawn between the two. Rather than compare films from year-to-year, I prefer looking at the broader picture.

Big Hero 6 is loosely based on an obscure Marvel Comics series. The result is more “Disney-fied”, however. As exciting as it is to see Disney delve into the world of Marvel and the comic book genre, a genre that’s exploding with popularity right now, the final product is less than stellar. Disney does a remarkable job of placing superheroes into an animated world. The result is along the lines of The Avengers in terms of scope and sheer scale, even though the story does not compare.

At its core, Big Hero 6 is a story about revenge, avenging loved ones, and dealing with the uncontrollable difficulties of life (perhaps learning to. . . “let it go”?) Some of the film is done well, and quite well at certain moments. The film is Disney’s reminder that their animators are still masters of visual spectacle. San Fransokyo is a perfect blend of the two cities, and the acute attention to detail is ever-present.

As far as characters go, however, the film falls quite short. The four side characters besides Baymax and Hiro are forgettable, and their presence seem almost forced. They’re introduced in the beginning of the film but are absent soon after for a large majority of the film, only to suddenly return later on to become superheroes. One character in particular is extremely annoying and serves no purpose to the film beyond one—–and that purpose seemed a bit over-inflated. But the only two main characters that we actually care about and empathize with are the aforementioned Baymax and Hiro.

Baymax and Hiro_Big Hero 6

With a warm, loveable personality, Baymax is the kind of sidekick that Disney excels at creating. Like Olaf from Frozen and Abu from Aladdin, Baymax steals the show. His presence is a boon in this character-poor film and will contend with Guardians of the Galaxy’s Groot for best sidekick of the year.

Story-wise—-the thing that I contend is always the single most important element of any film—–it all falls quite short. Even though the animated comic book genre is largely untouched, the story feels clichéd in numerous ways. The universal theme of revenge and learning to band together as a team is present. Tough spots in the narrative are easily overcome without much personal sacrifice (save one scenario near the end of the film). But even that personal sacrifice was easily resolved within a matter of seconds, leaving the viewer with little time to realize the gravity of the situation.

In a nutshell:

Even with a weak storyline, bland side characters, and a certain dumbing down of the overall experience, Big Hero 6 is still a fun time for the family with a ridiculously loveable sidekick. Well-paced and with several moments of teary-eyed emotion, it simply felt like a half-effort on Disney’s part: having nowhere near as much creativity nor originality as the Disney films of the past 5 years. Who knew that, at the end of the year, Dreamworks would surpass the almighty Disney Studios with not only the best animated film (How To Train Your Dragon 2), but one of the best movie experiences of the year.

6.5 stars

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Comments
  1. Donna Reed says:

    Hmmmm…I agree on some points that you made. Contrarily, though, I do think that the side characters were adorable and had great humor. I suppose that from an adult’s point of view, they might seem forced, but from a kid’s point of view, they added greatly to the film. I took a little girl to see this movie, and she came out immediately talking about how awesome and cool Honey Lemon and Go-Go were. (besides, you can’t really develop ALL of the characters in a 90-minute time-frame)

    I feel that the viewers who truly set the standard for movies are kids themselves, and from a kid’s point of view, this movie was truly funny, cute, memorable, and well-done. Heck, I enjoyed it immensely, and cried my head off during the last few scenes! 🙂 🙂

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