Film Review: Big Hero 6

by Gordon Elgart on November 7, 2014

I dare you not to buy an action figure or stuffed toy within the next 48 hours after seeing this film.

Before saying what Big Hero 6 is, let’s start with what it’s not. It’s not the 6th movie in a series; it’s the beginning of a new one. It’s not a Pixar movie, but John Lasseter’s involvement in it is evident from both the quality of animation and the thought put into the characters. It’s not a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even though it’s based — loosely — on a Marvel comic book. It’s not necessarily a kids’ movie, although the ready-for-the-toy-store robot BayMax is going to appeal to kids … of all ages. Finally, it doesn’t take place in San Francisco; rather, in San Fransokyo. What’s that, you say?

Big Hero is based on a team of superheroes from the Marvel Universe, but when I say loosely, I mean it. The characters are different, some of the character names are different, and the comic book doesn’t feature a giant cuddly robot. The story is that Disney wanted to adapt a Marvel property to be animated, and chose something extremely obscure so that they could change it completely. That lets them say “Based on a Marvel comic” without actually basing it on a Marvel comic. (It also gives them the opportunity to include a Stan Lee cameo.)

So what we get is your typical hero’s journey movie with a lead character named Hiro mixed with your typical robot sidekick movie, except this is anything but typical. The relationship between the young genius scientist Hiro and his robot Baymax is as good as these things get. Think E.T. or Iron Giant good. The rest of the characters suffer in comparison, but the two main characters work so well, the fact that everything else is treated with short shrift seems fully appropriate. This is a 2-character piece with several characters. The only other character who has something that could be considered an arc is Fred, the pothead scientist voiced by comedian T.J. Miller, and you’ll need to stick around for the credit cookie to it completed.

The technical details of this film are off the charts. The design of San Fransokyo, a city that is geographically San Francisco, but ann architectural mashup with Tokyo, is completely inspired. The music is uplifting and dramatic. The hero characters are all colorfully designed with cool powers. The voice acting is uniformly excellent. This is an extremely well made movie.

There’s no chance this movie won’t be a big hit. The kid sitting next to me said to his father, “Can we watch this movie again?” during the movie. There’s nothing groundbreaking about the story, but there’s so much artistry on display, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I can’t wait for Big Hero 6 2.

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Big Hero 6 opens today, everywhere

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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