What happens when the innovators who popularized the animated film and the gurus of superhero cinema collaborate on a project? We the audience get the Next Big thing, “Big Hero 6.”
When Disney acquired Marvel, comic book creasers like myself were excited to see how that better-funded future of the Marvel cinematic universe would play out. Now with Marvel’s Phase 3 well underway, it is clear that Disney has done a lot for Marvel in terms of funding and exposure as they collectively usher in a new era of superhero cinema.
Well what Disney has done for marvel in terms of ability to adapt their many properties, Marvel will do for Disney’s next generation of animated films in terms of Superhero and action expertise. “Big Hero 6” is a prime example of this blossoming relationship in action.
“Big Hero 6” combined the signature Disney morally rich story with breathtaking visuals and, with the aid of Marvel, a recently honed expertise in crafting superhero films. The highlight of this animated action-comedy was the relationship between brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada and his Goodyear blimp-like healthcare service robot companion, Baymax.
The movie is set in the fictional city of San Fransokyo, a mash up of San Francisco and Tokyo. Coming from someone who has visited Japan, the creative team does a tremendous job of capturing the meticulous nuances of Japanese pop culture and how they incorporate into daily life. Although substantially different from the comics, “Big Hero 6” brings movie goers a well-balanced PG-rated packaged in terms of script, voice acting, and action elements.
Hiro Hamada, is voiced by relative newcomer Ryan Potter (“Supah Ninjas”), who delivers a truly engaging and endearing performance. His relationship with Baymax, his healthcare robot, is fundamental to the films success.
“How to Train Your Dragon” alum, T.J. Miller clinches the title of comedic king of the film with his portrayal of care-free Kaiju fanatic, Fred. Fred is the MAN and Fredzilla is the KAIJU!
Although Fred was my personal favorite, each character really has their own scene stealing moment. Wasabi, voiced by Damon Wayans Jr, is un-relenting rule follower whose fearful idiosyncrasies contrast his large figure.
Another personal favorite was the tough as nails and Clint Eastwood-esque gum-smacking frictionless cycle gal Go Go, voiced by MTV Real World’s very own Jamie Chung. I’ve got to say that Jamie Chung has been breaking into the more major roles as of recent, including her taking over for Devon Aoki as Miho in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” and the Quentin Tarantino produced “The Man with the Iron Fists.” Given her action capable physique and her blossoming acting talent, we should expect to see her in some form of Superhero movie in the future. Click Here to read Ryan’s take on Jamie Chungs’s potential placement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As far as the story goes, this PG rated product is geared towards children but not without a dark and adult friendly and moralistic tone. When compared to the Marvel source material,”Big Hero 6” took a few creative liberties, one notable change being the Hero team. In the source material his friends are power wielding superheroes from varying walks of life, which starkly contrasts with the tech savvy “nerd school” team that they are portrayed as in the film. If you ask a fan of the comic’s they may have found this move to be less desirable, but coming from someone who is more so familiar with the stand alone movie, I think the moves made were brilliant and enriched the story.
Another aspect that was refreshingly surprising was the incorporation of multiple themes including: selflessness dealing with loss, the fine line between constructive and destructive technology, and the importance of working towards the greater good. It’s impressive to see so many themes be touched upon effectively without weighing down the light-heated comedic feel of the film.
“Big Hero 6” is a well-crafted computer generated visual spectacle laid over top of a tenacious skeleton of life lessons and comedic asides. Whether it’s geared towards the mature or immature audiences, this film has it all. Big action sequences, Cutting edge CGI, a capable an engaging cast of voice actors, and a beautifully heartwarming underlying story come together to make the next BIG thing in animated cinema.
As we speedily zip and zoom through the fictional skyways of San FranSokyo, it is hard not to be dazzled by the meticulous computer generated craftsmanship of the futuristic hybrid landscape. Another amazing feat was the design behind the robots and their mannerisms. The creative team did an excellent job in being able to breathe life into the robots. This feature really helped the themes of the ambivalence of technology stand out (i.e. the use of tech for good or for evil). The film also makes certain to convey that robots are not innately evil and it is their operators that sway their bot’s orientation on a scale of goodness.
With a runtime of 108 minutes, this movie has so much creative content packed into a small package that it is DEFINITELY worth a re-watch or three. I think that this movie is a home run for Disney and just goes to show the relationship between Disney and Marvel is mutual. What Disney does for Marvel in terms of access and funding, Marvel does for Disney in terms of providing an unending chasm of juicy source material ripe for the picking and the expertise to successfully pull it off.
- Entertainment Value
Although the film at times fell victim to a few contrived moments and generic hollywood-isms, it is an overwhelmingly fun, effects riddled, and heartwarming precursor of things to come from the Disney/Marvel team. “Big Hero 6” was a charmingly relatable and morally rich film for all ages. I give the film 4 out of 5 healthcare service bots.