Big Hero 6 review
All about Baymax
If there’s one method to top celebrated filmmaker Christopher Nolan at the box office for the first time in twelve years, it apparently involves channeling a Marvel Comics’ group of superheroes into an animated, family-friendly Disney production. Despite Disney owning Marvel Studios, the characters and setting in Big Hero 6 aren’t a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. In fact, many other changes happened in the transfer from page to screen despite a separation into stand-alone territory. Several members of the Big Hero 6 group found themselves left out of the movie because the film rights to those characters (Silver Samurai, Ebon Samurai, Sunfire, Sunpyre) belong to 20th Century Fox, leaving directors Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt) with only six remaining roster members. Choosing Hiro Hamada (not Takachiho), Baymax, GoGo Tomago, Wasabi (dropping the No-Ginger from his name), Honey Lemon, and Fred (dropping the –zilla) was more of an “only option” than an exploration of the roster. Big Hero 6’s “Disney-fication” of a Marvel property works rather well if you weren’t hoping for an accurate comic-to-movie adaptation.
Big Hero 6 certainly won’t carry the popularity that Frozen boasted for Disney last November, nor will it have the staying power at the box office. That being stated, it should come out as the favorite for Best Animated Film come Oscar time. The Disney brand has that strength. Instead of Frozen’s memorable musical numbers, Big Hero 6 offers a fast-paced score from Henry Jackman (Captain Phillips, Turbo) and a Fall Out Boy song played twice. The animation, on the other hand, looks nothing short of breathtaking. With the exception of the characters, the surroundings appear mistakenly real—especially Aunt Cass’s bakery on a sunny day or even a rainy one. The setting of the futuristic metropolis San Fransokyo (an obvious blend of Tokyo and San Francisco) translates beautifully on screen with Japanese architecture seemingly taking over the theme of the California port city.
The most recognizable aspect of the film might be the brief nod to Stan Lee as the voice cast contains no A-listers or franchise stars. There are, however, quite a few familiar voices from television and film in Big Hero 6. The obvious stand-out among the voice cast is Scott Adsit (“30 Rock,” “Moral Orel”) as the inflatable, health-care robot Baymax. Hall and Williams lean on the character for nearly 100 % of the film’s humor and it’s a gambit that pays off. Fred also has an air of comedy to him, but T.J. Miller (Transformers: Age of Extinction, “Silicon Valley”) never quite lands his improvised exclamations in his voice performance.
Although an origin story by definition for the Big Hero 6, the supergroup agrees to team up and develop gadgets in a montage in the middle of the film. Most of the plot involves Hiro reconciling either his wasted potential or the death of someone dear with the help and inspiration of his robot. A family film needs laughs, and if Baymax supplies those then his on-screen presence becomes a necessity. Even the villain becomes a less-than-formidable afterthought. In terms of bad guys, the trajectory and twist quickly become predictable as if the evil presence was never a legitimate factor. It’s called Big Hero 6, but it’s a challenge to remember a name beyond Baymax and maybe Hiro when you’re walking out of the theater.
Despite a predictable plot and lack of spectacular song numbers, Big Hero 6 still delivers on its intended level. An animated superhero movie satisfies several, if not all, key demographics. Leaning on a lovable, inflatable robot to get laughs proved a smart, funny tactic sure to make Baymax a marketable, lucrative property in the months and years to come for Disney and Marvel. Throw in some terrific 3D spectacle all over flawless animation and Disney churns out yet another hit. Big Hero 6 isn’t Frozen, but it still made enough money to champion Interstellar at the box office.