If you hadn’t noticed, Disney have been of something of an upward trend on the animation front recently. With Tangled, Wreck-it Ralph and Frozen, they’ve definitely recaptured their magic. Marvel have also been producing some very successful films, and here we see the first animation that’s a product of the two (now one) organisations – and, surprise surprise, it’s pretty good!
What’s it About? Big Hero 6 sees the origins and formation of another superhero team, but the real focus is on 14-year-old Hiro (Ryan Potter) and a healthcare robot named Baymax (Scott Adsit). Hiro is a child genius in danger of wasting his potential when he enters a competition for acceptance to his older brother’s University. When the building burns down and his invention – microbots – are stolen, he and Baymax team up with the other students to find out who took them, and unravel a mystery in the process.
Verdict: Disney have set their own bar very high lately, but they’ve not let us down with their latest offering. Big Hero 6 is everything you would hope it could be and more.
Set in the beautiful city of San Fransokyo, it’s a mix of the steep roads and Golden Gate bridge of San Francisco, with futuristic Japanese-inspired architecture, but all of it is beautiful and there are some jaw-droppingly amazing visuals towards the end of the film.
To begin with, there might be a lot to take in for some of the younger members of the audience, but once it’s in full flow (and certainly once Baymax is involved) there’ll be no complaints. As well as characters and jokes for children there are moments for older members of the audience, in particular the scene when Baymax’s battery is running out, resulting in him essentially acting drunk – perfectly observed and hilarious. This is quite possibly the best physical comedy we’ve seen in animation.
Baymax really does steal the show; think Olaf in Frozen or Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy – people of all ages will absolutely love him, so it’s no wonder most of the promotion for this film has centred around him.
As well as humour, there are some really sad scenes – Disney has always balanced the two so expertly, and created characters you really do care for.
Based on a Marvel comic series from the late 90s (though not much bar the name remains the same) the Marvel influence may be subtle on the posters and the trailer, but we get the Stan Lee cameo, after-credits teaser and one or two more reminders during the film, even down to the way Baymax lands after flying. By extension, it does suffer from some of the same criticisms of recent Marvel movies with its ‘epic’ finale.
The first half of the movie is probably better than the second, as it does get a bit bogged down by trying to be epic, when it’s the smaller moments that hit home most.
Marvel assembled another superhero squad in 2014, the Guardians of the Galaxy – this expertly introduced us to all of the characters before putting them together as a team. This isn’t as much of a well-balanced ensemble as Hiro is clearly the main character, with Baymax providing much of the comic relief.
The other characters that make up the ‘6’ are fun enough, with Fred (T.J. Miller) in particular getting some great lines, but their hi-tech powers aren’t as exciting as they could be.
The supporting characters do create some diversity though, which is always a good thing, but the movie would probably have been just as good if it was just Hiro and Baymax’s story. That said, the voicework is all solid, featuring the likes of Damon Wayans, Jamie Chung, James Cromwell and Alan Tudyk.
You do get the impression Disney knew this would prove popular, and it seems certain we’ll get a sequel in a couple of years – let’s just hope the other members of the team play a more important part. And let’s hope we get another good dose of Baymax too.
As is customary with both Disney and Pixar movies, we get a short animation before the feature itself, and Big Hero 6 is accompanied by ‘Feast’ – a delightful story of a dog who enjoys his food. Whether you’re a dog-owner or not, the short film will make you laugh and possibly cry. It’s absolutely beautiful and deserves acclaim.
Final Words: An excellent, ambitious adventure for all the family, Big Hero 6 is a great superhero origins story. Baymax is the standout everybody will talk about, and rightly so, but there’s so much more to this beautiful, clever animation. It seems Marvel properties are in safe hands with Disney.
Big Hero 6 is released in the UK on 30th January.
Photo credit: Disney.Wikia