Big Hero 6: A Boy And His Superpowered Robot
Conant is a school that has proven its love of Disney movies multiple times, especially with its Disney-themed Homecoming just last month. But the animation giant’s latest release, the superhero movie Big Hero 6, might have some students scratching their heads. What is it even about? Is it a Marvel movie or not? And what’s up with that name? Well, fear not: all these questions will be answered, and the Crier can confirm that Disney has not lost its movie magic yet.
Big Hero 6 is based on a small Marvel comic from the late 90’s with the same name, which told the story of a group of teenagers in Japan who, well, fought crime. Disney took a lot of liberties while adapting the comics to film – they changed some of the characters’ ethnicities to make them more diverse, set the movie in the hybrid city of San Fransokyo, and made numerous changes to the cast’s superpowers and weaponry. Fortunately, even after all the plastic surgery, the movie manages to stand strong.
The movie’s protagonist is Hiro Hamada – a fourteen-year-old orphan who lives with his older brother Tadashi and Aunt Cass in the middle of San Fransokyo. He doesn’t look much like a hero – he’s scrawny, he has a gap-toothed smile, and his hair could rival Harry Potter’s in messiness. But Hiro is a genius builder of robots, and so is Tadashi, who eventually coaxes his prodigy little brother into applying to the prestigious college Tadashi attends. After a dazzling display where he shows off the microbots he invented, Hiro is accepted and meets the members of Tadashi’s “nerd lab”. There’s Gogo, a tough and quick bike messenger studying physics; Wasabi, a neat freak who works with plasma lasers; Honey Lemon, a relentlessly sunshiny chemistry whiz; and Fred, a fanboy who gives the others their ridiculous nicknames. Before leaving, Tadashi shows Hiro his own project – an inflatable nurse robot he built named Baymax, and it quickly wins Hiro over with its adorable programmed personality.
Things quickly take a turn for the dramatic, however, when Tadashi tragically dies in an explosion at the college, and Hiro discovers that a masked man has stolen the microbots he thought were destroyed in the fire. Determined to stop the villain, Hiro teams up with his new friends from the nerd lab, armors Baymax with the best technology he can build, and sets out with the newly formed superhero team to stop the masked man before whatever he’s planning can be accomplished.
As far as the story goes, it’s decent by Disney standards. It follows a fairly straightforward formula, and if you’re paying attention, you’ll see the twist of who the villain is coming. On the brighter side of things, the story never gets sidetracked with unnecessary romances or other side plots, so it keeps the audience focused on the action. The characters also do their job well enough. The supporting cast has enough quirks to stay fun and interesting, even if it leaves viewers wishing they had gotten more development. Hiro himself is a fairly strong protagonist and has enough to his character to stand tall among Disney heroes, but the real star of the movie is Baymax. The huggable robot gets most of the movie’s best lines, best moments, and best gags. Its relationship with Hiro as the movie progresses is surprisingly touching and may leave more than a few viewers trying not to cry, too. And it’s just plain fun to watch the innocent machine grow throughout the film into becoming just as much of a hero as its creator’s little brother.
Besides Baymax, the movie’s strongest point is its art direction and animation. San Fransokyo is just beautiful to look at, and several scenes and shots following the characters as they drive and fly through the city show it off spectacularly. One particular scene near the film’s end is especially breathtaking, but I won’t spoil it – you’ll have to see it yourself. The animation is stunningly fluid and consistently impressive. Whether it’s legions of microbots moving in unison like metallic tentacles as they do the masked man’s bidding, Baymax’s soft squishy feet walking across a street, or a silly character moment with Wasabi frantically flailing as Gogo disrupts his perfectly organized workspace, the movement of the film never feels subpar – just as it should be for a Disney movie.
Overall, Big Hero 6 is a treat to see. Is it one of Disney’s finest? No, not quite. But it’s nowhere near a failure, either. The crisp and beautiful visuals, the simple story, and the strength of Baymax’s character carry the film to a respectable ranking in the long history of Disney movies. It’s not Beauty and The Beast or The Lion King, for example, but it can hold its own against the likes of Frozen and The Princess And The Frog. If you’re looking for a fun movie to fight back against the dreary days of November, Big Hero 6 may be just what you need.
Oh, and a final word for Marvel fans: while this movie is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that contains films like Iron Man and The Avengers, you’ll still want to stay after the credits for the stinger. The Stan Lee cameo is not one to be missed!