Review: Big Hero 6 (2014)

Big Hero 6 is a computer animated superhero comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and inspired by a team of comic book superheroes by the same name who appear as part of the Marvel universe.

The movie tells the story of a fourteen year old robotics prodigy, Hiro Hamata, who lives in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo with his aunt and older brother Tadashi. Worried that Hiro is wasting his potential by participating in back-alley robot fights, Tadashi takes his genius little brother to the robotics lab at his university, introduces him to his friends GoGo, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred, as well as Baymax, a personal healthcare robot that Tadashi created himself. Impressed, Hiro decides to apply to the school and presents his project – swarms of tiny microbots that can link together in any arrangement imaginable with the use of a telepathic transmitter – and gains admission by impressing the director of the robotics program. But the story quickly takes a darker turn when a fire breaks out at the university and Tadashi loses his life rushing in to help someone trapped inside the burning building.

A few weeks later, a very depressed Hiro accidently activates Baymax and they follow Hiro’s only remaining microbot (the rest were destroyed in the fire) to an abandoned warehouse where they are attacked by a masked man who’s mass-producing new copies of Hiro’s microbots for sinister purposes. In their first interaction after Tadashi’s death, Baymax diagnosed Hiro as in need of emotional support and became determined to provide it as part of his healthcare programing. Hiro dismissed this at first, but then used it as an opportunity to convince Baymax that helping him investigate the masked man’s connection to his brother’s death would help stabilize him emotionally. Working together, the two develop a bond throughout the rest of the film.

Visually speaking, the animation in this movie is both innovative and quite sophisticated in terms of character design. Each character’s face was distinct and unique, which can be difficult to do with the typical big-eyed style of modern computer animation. The details are immaculate throughout, including the blending of Eastern/Western cultural designs and the Tony Stark-like robotics technology employed by Hiro and the rest of the Big Hero 6 team.

The movie also used just the right touch of comedy to break up the more serious moments. In one such scene, Hiro teaches Baymax how to fist bump and the resulting twill of notes that emanate from the inflatable robot (instead of a mock explosion sound for “blowing it up”) is  nothing short of hilarious. And the fact that Baymax first attempted to diagnose Hiro’s mood swings as puberty was clearly a dig meant for the adults in the theater.

I went into the movie blindly, having purposely ignored all the trailers so that I wouldn’t feel biased. And I have to say, I’m so glad that I didn’t know anything about this movie beforehand. A summary of the plot really wouldn’t have done it justice. There were so many factors in this movie left out from the original trailer and no way to explain all the things that I would come to love about it. Beautifully animated, well researched, and with hilariously unique characters – this movie was more than I could have hoped for. Well done, Disney! I know this won’t be a “Classic” for you, but I loved it.

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