Directors: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Stars: Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk, Maya Rudolph
A loose adaption of a Marvel comic book, the Disney animation Big Hero 6 revolves around Hiro (Potter), a robotic genius who suffers a tragedy and has his invention stolen. As he tried to find the culprit he does so with the aid of Baymax (Adsit), a robot designed to be a mobile healthcare unit. With some upgrades, however, Baymax becomes a not-so-lean, mean, fighting machine, as Hiro teams up with his friends to put a stop to the mysterious menace that is using Hiro’s invention for terrible purposes.
Big Hero 6 also comes with an adorable short at the beginning titled Feast.
I’ve never read any of the comics so I can’t speak to how well they’ve adapted the source material, but this film is so much fun. It has a familiar superhero arc and while it’s mostly light in tone there are some truly dramatic moments. The emotional beats are handled superbly and provoke the appropriate response. Technically, this film feels amazing. The pacing is perfect, especially with the humour. There are a few moments where jokes feel like they’re going to be overplayed but they stops at just the right time to avoid overstaying their welcome.
I found myself laughing at this film more than I did at some outright comedies, and most of this is due to Baymax, who will be the breakout star. I even have a friend whose son wants loads of merchandise featuring Baymax and he hasn’t even seen the movie yet! The character is built as a healthcare unit and his primary function is to heal people, which is a brilliant way to encapsulate the essence of superheroes because I think it’s a core concept of the medium that is sometimes forgotten. Heroes are meant to protect people, and it’s summed up perfectly with Baymax, and leads to some great conflict as Hiro gets caught up in his pursuit of the villain.
Speaking of which, the villain looks amazing and terrifying, although I think kids should be able to handle it (I went with my friends and their three year old daughter and she was fine). But it makes the superhero battles amazing; the action was clear and the abilities of the team complemented each other in sometimes surprising ways. The rest of the team were entertaining, but for me Fred (Miller) stole the show with his meta-comments of the superhero genre and his general commentary while he’s fighting.
I liked how the villain’s motivations were slowly uncovered, and the climax provides incredible visuals that had me gaping in awe. The biggest compliment I can give Big Hero 6 is that it has heart, and I love it when movies have heart. It gets the ideals of heroism right and in Baymax has a character that can break out of the film and take on a life of his own. This is one not to be missed, and will surely become a family favourite.