Disney, those rats. They’ve gone and created a fun-filled, emotionally moving, totally engaging animated film. Again.
In yet another example of how Disney writers always have something in the back pocket, Big Hero 6 is an unexpected yet entirely delightful adventure. Far from your average princess story, Big Hero 6 embraces the unlikely self-made superhero motif that is popular in Hollywood at the moment. The story follows a boy-genius named Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter), an inflatable robot (voiced by Scott Asdit), and a cast of quirky science ‘nerds’ as they improvise superhero status and confront a robotically enhanced, super-brainy super villain. The pace is quick, the colours bright and the animation seamless, with a special appreciation due to the setting: a fantastic amalgamation of San Francisco and Tokyo, creating a technologically advanced, aesthetically interesting city where robots are a standard every day participant in people’s lives, the architecture has a tang of sweeping bridges and futuristic flair, and life is as interesting as the animators’ wish it could be.
The characters are another high point of the narrative. Beyond the protagonist, Hiro, who is dealt tragedy after tragedy that he must overcome with the help of Baymax (the inflatable robot), the band of science ‘nerds’ that transform into homemade superheros each possess a standout personality that both conflicts and compliments the others. Baymax is in itself a character of charms and humour. A medical robot intent on ‘healing’ Hiro’s heartbreak, Baymax’s deadpan tone and unchanging robotic expression add a layer of hilarity to the bland, sometimes painfully obvious, statements it makes. The level of funnies only increases as Hiro, becoming attached to his robot, attempts to humanise Baymax by teaching it, among other things, to fistbump. The result is laugh-out-loud and adorable all at the same time, and maintains as a running joke throughout the remainder of the film.
Big Hero 6 is easy to watch and easier to enjoy, with the layered complexity needed to appeal to adults and kids alike. While the classic Disney movie might lean towards the predictable big romance and happy endings, Big Hero 6 is a surprise. And a good one at that.