Sunday, January 4, 2015

Big Hero 6

Personal Overview: remember last year when I shotgunned the Disney movies? Well it's Christmas/summer holidays down here again and that means another Disney release.

I decided to use the above picture, rather than the standard movie poster, because that gives people a lot more idea about what the film really is, as well as showcasing the entire cast rather than just a couple of them.

I had reservations when I first started hearing about Big Hero 6. The previews didn't enlighten me a lot. I was always going to see it, but it just sounded out of what the company normally does. I did know that Big Hero 6 was a Marvel comic, so it made sense that the company was utilising the properties it now has at it's disposal.

My fears were happily unfounded. I haven't read the comic, so I did go in largely blind.

At the heart of it, Big Hero 6 is a superhero team movie. Initially it looks like it might be about bot fighting, but it quickly changes course and moves into introducing the unlikely team members.

Disney often have it over their rivals not just because of the animation, which is always excellent, but because they take more care with story and character, they often sacrifice the easy laugh to let the audience bond with the characters and care about what they're doing.

Big Hero 6 is no exception. They craft a very strong brotherly bonding story about the reckless genius Hiro, wasting his talent, whereas his older brother, not as gifted, is using his own gifts to create something that will benefit the community. Of course in Hiro's hands the medical robot Baymax becomes something very different.

Tadashi's friends also turn out to be rather surprising and unlikely heroes when they meet their fellow student younger brother. The feisty GoGo Tomago turns into a speed demon with her electromagnetic wheels. The environmentally conscious and cautious Wasabi discovers that his laser cutters can do a lot more than chop vegetables. The caring Honey Lemon is the mad scientist of the group and she can also superhero it up with the best of them. Then there's Fred. Fred (wonderfully voiced by T.J Miller) is obsessed with comics and as he comes from a wealthy family can bankroll the gang, he's also stoked to meet someone that can actually turn him into a fire breathing lizard superhero, which has been his life's dream.

Before long the fledgling superhero team find themselves battling one of Hiro's inventions that has been put to evil use by a scary super villain and at the same time they're avenging one of their own.

It's a fast moving film and there's enough action and laughs to keep both adults and kids entertained, while at the same time having enough story to engage the older members of the audience who look beyond the bangs and crashes and the funny bits.

Hero/es: I've mentioned most of them above, although I didn't talk about Baymax and Baymax is the real hero of this film. He's basically a large white vinyl creature with a gentle soothing voice that Tadashi invented to be a medical unit. However his programming capability and the fact that he seems almost indestructible leads Hiro to see other uses for him. As the film goes on and both Hiro and the audience get to know more about Baymax both come to care very deeply for him and he becomes more than just a large computerised beach ball. That's so often the strength of the Disney films, they make you care about things you never thought you would. The other hero is Hiro himself and he learns the valuable lesson that so many fledgling superheroes do, the one about with great power comes great responsibility.

Villain/s: like with last year's phenomenon Frozen no one sees the villain coming. The fact that the villain wears a mask for a good part of the film helps in concealing their identity. I won't say anymore for fear of spoilers, but there are no shortage of candidates and it is a shock when it comes, but shouldn't be and the person has a genuine reason for their actions.

Cuteness Factor: there isn't really one. The whole damn thing is pretty cute. Baymax is rather loveable and I think every kid at the session I was at wanted their own Baymax by the time the film was over. Hiro's aunt's incredibly obese cat is kind of cute, and I also found Honey rather adorable.

Animation: it's just perfect, so clean and well rendered. It looks real and believable. It will also make a great computer game, and it will be turned into a game, at the very least some of the characters will find their way into Infinity. Disney is always a step ahead of the game on this level.

Final words: they've done it again! This will be a big hit (I can't see it topping Frozen, but then I think it will be a long time before anything does) and deservedly so. I'd also like to thank Disney Australia for the free tickets to the film, it made a 6 year old very happy and gave her a day out.

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