Thursday, December 11, 2014

Film Review: Big Hero 6

I like the idea of this movie.  And I wanted to like it more than I actually did.

Big Hero 6 is the synergistic brainchild of Disney Animation and Marvel studios.

The story takes place in some kind of future city of San Franokyo, a city of advanced technology.  We are introduced to child genius Hiro (Ryan Potter) as he tries to street hustle with his inventions, must to the chagrin of his older brother Todashi (Daniel Henney) who constantly bails him out of trouble.  Todashi tries to channel his brother's genius by introducing him to the university laboratory where he works with other young, quirky geniuses:

- Fred, a slacker science fan

-GoGo, a tough chick whose specialty is magnetic wheels.
-Wasabi, a gentle giant who is developing energy blades
-Honey Lemon, a super-feminine, optimistic chemist., 

Finally, Todashi introduces Hiro to his main project: an inflatable medical robot named Baymax (Scott Adsit).  

Through events in the movie, tragedy strikes Hiro's life and he must use his brother's robot and with the help of his 4 other friends, they develop super-hero level tech and become Big Hero 6.

The movie itself is not bad.  In fact it is quite enjoyable.  

But maybe I've been spoiled by the high quality of recent Disney animated fare like Frozen and Wreck-it-Ralph.  In Big Hero 6, all of the elments are there, but they never really come alive.

If the above description of the side characters like GoGo and Honey Lemon feel generic it is because that is what the movie gives us.  You can see how each character occupies a certain space in the story, but they feel they are there to create generic quirckiness, like Honey Lemon's habit of over-pronouncing ethnic words.

They are personalities more than they are characters.

The same is true of the plot itself.  It is as by-the-numbers as it could be.  Even the twist in the middle could be seen a mile away.  Again, this does not make it by its nature bad, but I wanted more depth and challenge.  But this is a story with few surprises.

The animation is beautiful, though.  And directors Don Hall and Chris Williams give the movie an exciting energy.

Thematically the movie has some very nice messages about love, sacrifice, and looking at the world from a different perspective.  One of the best parts of the movie is watching our heroes think outside the box to solve unsolvable problems.  

I also enjoyed how it shows that even if you have a noble purpose or end an evil means does not justify that end.  It is only through true love and selflessness that a person becomes a Christ-like hero.

But the best part of the movie is Baymax.  He is lovable and hug-able.  I can see any child (or adult for that matter) wanting a Baymax for themselves.  The best lines come from him.  

So if you want a fine time watching a nice animated movie, you could do worse than Big Hero 6.  

3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars

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