Saturday, January 31, 2015

Big Hero 6 (Don Hall and Chris Williams, 2014) Review

I suppose the worst part about being a Disney fan is being in England. For some disturbed reason, Disney will wait around 4 months after the original American release to release it in England. Wreck-it Ralph was torture to wait for as was The Princess and the Frog. After Frozen being released more or less the same time, I thought we'd be past this but, apparently not. We finally saw the premiere of Big Hero 6 yesterday so let's take a look at the joining together of Marvel and Disney.

In the combined city of San Fransokyo, Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) is a 14 year old technology prodigy with a strong bond with his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney). After inventing a new form of robotics known as microbots, tragedy strikes which leads to Hiro meeting Tadashi's latest creation, Baymax (Scott Adsit), a health care robot. Hiro and Baymax team up after they discover a masked villain has stolen Hiro's microbots and is now using the bots against them. Hiro also brings together Tadashi's university friends to form the eponymous team and discover just who is the man behind the mask.

The area that Big Hero 6 really shines in is the characters. Normally, Disney villains are the ones that steal the spotlight from the sometimes bland heroes. This time, the whole cast is wonderful. My favouite character was most definitely Baymax. Scott Adsit's calm and pleasent voice fits the delightfully adorable character perfectly. I was also impressed by how much character and depth went into Hiro and the masked villain (labelled 'Yokai'). Hiro is a much more neutral hero than previous Disney protagonists. He isn't just a pure good guy. He has his faults and its much more rewarding to see overcome these personal flaws. The most interesting heroes out there are flawed heroes. Yokai is also a deep villain. I was worried going in that he was just a character who looked cool (very, very cool) but with not much to him. I'm impressed how he is one of the more morally ambiguous villains. I won't delve in for sake of spoilers but his true intentions, while not necessarily justified, are fair in some deluded sense. Of course there is a whole team of superheroes hero to talk about so let's move on. The team themselves are really fun and likable however the film falls into the same trap The Incredbles fell into in that all the development and focus is on the hero and the rest not get as much focus. The only support character who makes a strong impact is the school mascot Fred (T.J. Miller) and offers some of the films biggest laughs.

Frozen was a beautifully animated film and I was certain Disney couldn't advance their animation in any way...I was wrong. Big Hero 6 looks gorgeous. San Fransokyo has so much going on that you really want to explore it for yourself with luscious buildings and a great atmosphere. The characters are also very well designed. Yokai had my attention since his debut in the advert purely because of his awesome design and the rest of the cast look just as good. Somehow Disney continues to deliver stronger animation. When one thinks Disney, music is also something that comes to mind. Frozen brought back catchy musical numbers however it wasn't expected that a sci-fi Marvel animated feature would continue this trend but that doesn't stop Henry Jackman delivering a fantastic score nor does it stop Fall Out Boy, of all people, to create a memorable and fitting song. I don't even like them that much but I won't deny that that is a song I'll be singing for a while after. If I were to nitpick, however, I would have to say that the plot does have room for improvement. You'll catch on very quickly that Disney has been keeping the same story archetypes throughout many films but with Wreck-it Ralph and Frozen sharing this film's basic twists and turns, it's hard to be surprised. It's harsh to say but there is some predictability with Big Hero 6. The big reveal in this one just isn't as shocking as something like Frozen's. If Big Hero 6 came out before Frozen did, it would be the latter's problem. It's just poor timing if anything.

Big Hero 6 proves that Disney animation shows no sign of slowing down. Gorgeous animation, deep and likable characters as well as a wonderful soundtrack make Big Hero 6 a delight to watch, The biggest issue I have is the narrative however the same could be said if you were to look back at previous Disney flicks. Maybe it's just that I've caught on to what they're doing now. That and I would love to see the rest of the team be developed. It's not often that I want to see Disney make a sequel but this is certainly one. I want to see more of these characters and location so I hope Disney finally do some good with a modern sequel.

Delightful, heartwarming and fun. Great animation, music and characters lead this one to being a Disney classic.

1 comment:

  1. That's very spoken of you Tom, I doubt that Big Hero 6 will win an Oscar just because it is already a heartwarming animated action feature that is more incredible than Pixar's The Incredibles.