As some of you out there know, Marvel is owned by Disney, and Disney is owned by Japan, so what better way to express this information to the world by creating an animated film that lets us know about it (rather subtly)?
Big Hero 6 is a superhero film featuring characters from a Comic book of the same name (Marvel-aspect), done in the same (or similar) 3-D Style animation as the likes of Tangled and Frozen (Disney-aspect) and has a Hero named Hiro, whose last name is Hamada and his hometown ends with Okyo (Japanese aspect). Set in the fantastically original and incredibly well-made futuristic city of San Fransokyo (combining San Francisco with Tokyo), Hiro Hamada is a 14 year old boy with an incredible talent in the area of robotic engineering. But rather than using his talent to better the lives of others, he is more interested in being a hustler at illegal underground robot fight clubs, where he presents himself as some kid trying to hang with the big boys, before destroying them with his unassuming creations and taking home a lot of money. His older brother Tadashi, a university engineering student, rescues him from the beating he was about to receive, but they still get arrested by the cops. After being bailed out by their Aunt (letting us know what happened to Mum and Dad), Hiro decides to go out to another Fight Club, but not before Tadashi decides to take him to his university, where Hiro is introduced to Tadashi’s friends; Fred, Gogo, Wasabi and Honey Lemon (all fellow students, and later, Marvel Superheroes). There, Tadashi also introduces Hiro to his science project, Baymax, a large, Marshmallow-man-looking robot with a titanium skeleton that can inflate and deflate itself. Baymax is a medical assistant who simply wants to help people, and because he’s a robot, he isn’t programmed to fully understand humanity (in terms of figure of speech and humour). Hiro is then invited to take part in a Dragon’s Den style competition by Tadashi’s lecturer, the great inventor Robert Callahan, to show him something new and possibly receive a scholarship. Hiro then does this by creating something brilliant, and receiving his scholarship, while also being offered a big financial purchase from Allistar Krei (voiced by Wash from Firefly, Alan Tudyk). After declining the offer and choosing the scholarship (and then leaving to celebrate a little), the university catches fire, which then leads to the film’s events that follow, and the development of some interesting relationships).
If you’re a die-hard Big Hero 6 Comic fan who wanted a film that was accurate and did it justice, there’s the slight possibility that you might get down on your knees, punch the ground and cry out “You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to hell!” by the end of it, as Baymax in the film is very different to how he’s presented in the comics. But, if you’re like me, and you knew nothing about the comics, and thought this was a great film despite not knowing anything about it beforehand, then you’re significantly better off…and it’s true, this really is a great film!
John Lasseter’s (Director of Toy Story) presence is felt in this film as its executive producer, and when you hear about the amount of research and inspiration that went into it, it’s absolutely phenomenal (Consider this, Baymax’s walking style is based on how penguins walk, and his appearance is based on both kawaii design and technology being developed at Japanese universities, while his face is inspired by the shape of japanese bells). For being a 100 minute film, they managed to not only tell a very good story, but also develop some fantastic characters and be very funny at the same time.
The animation and art design is brilliant! A combination of evident cartoon animation mixed with a seemingly real world, and a very impressive combination…and did I mention the San Francisco/Tokyo combo? It’s a chemistry experiment that worked really, really well!
It had a great soundtrack, and that’s even with some songs by Fallout Boy (I hated the Emo movement when it was everywhere and diseased everything that was new in rock and metal in ‘my generation’, so no offence to fans of the band, but I’m not going to like them, even today). Other than this, Henry Jackson did a really good job with the instrumental and electronic scores, providing both a futuristic and epic feel, while also conveying the hopefulness, optimism and excitement that life can bring (Corny? Yes, but there isn’t really another way to describe it, unless you like metaphors).
Would I recommend Big Hero 6? Absolutely! This film was excellent fun, and it managed to present some very meaningful and heart-felt relationships between its characters in such a short period of time. Baymax has become 1 of my favourite animated characters ever (He’s so innocent, and yet so funny, and also brilliant when his battery’s low), and I hope to see more of that character (and the others, of course).
Art Design: *****
Voice acting: *****
Overall Rating: ****3/4