Big Hero 6: Spoiler-Free Thoughts

Posted: November 13, 2014 by Blaine Grimes in Uncategorized
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MV5BMjI4MTIzODU2NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjE0NDAwMjE@._V1__SX1392_SY676_Earning an impressive $56.2 million on its opening weekend, Disney’s Big Hero 6 outgrossed Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated Interstellar.[1] The fact that family-friendly films are typically more successful at the box office than those aimed at an adult audience aside, these box office results are an indication that Disney has done something very special in their latest film. Based on a series of Marvel comics by the same name, Big Hero 6 is in many ways a superhero film for kids. And like its live-action counterparts, it boasts wonderfully fun fight scenes that will assuredly have your young ones begging for action figures. What sets it apart from other superhero movies, however, is that it is more than a highly-charged, action-driven animated film attempting to ride in on the back of Marvel’s hugely successful Guardians of the Galaxy. Big Hero 6, beneath all the action and comedy, is heartfelt and moving at its center—a pleasantly surprising combination of wit, spectacle, and emotion.

Set in the fictional city of San Fransokyo, Hero 6 introduces us to boy-genius Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter). Hiro has a talent for building robots and a penchant for using them to win money in illegal robo-battles, but his older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), is constantly urging him to enroll in a prestigious robotics school. When Hiro finally decides to give up his life of crime and apply to the school, an unforeseen catastrophe (no spoilers here) causes everything to unravel. Now, Hiro and his four friends must band together to set everything right and uncover the truth behind an emerging mystery. Joining them on this quest is the lovable and squishy, Baymax (Scott Adsit), a robot invented by Tadashi to function as a personal healthcare assistant. Together they form the Big Hero 6.

The film is, then, an origin story wherein the characters themselves are more interesting than their superhero alter-egos. Far too many comic book films are predicated upon the extraordinary exceptionalism of their heroes, thus making the real world seem dull and boring to people who can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, or shoot webs out of their wrists, or turn big and green when they’re angry. Big Hero 6, on the other hand, is unique in that it celebrates, embraces, and rejoices in the mundane and ordinary—which is actually shown to be quite fantastic in its own right. Hiro and his friends, GoGo, Fred, Honey Lemon, and Wasabi don’t have any special powers or magical abilities; they’re basically nerds who are really good at problem solving and building robots (and Baymax is more of a slow and portly nurse than a superhero—at least at first). The group transforms Baymax into an armor-plated fighting machine, and they even transform themselves; but they discover that their intelligence, perseverance, and friendship with each other are their most valuable assets. It’s also worth mentioning that the motivations for creating this unlikely crime-fighting league have their basis in real human experiences—pain, sadness, and the desire to see justice done. Furthermore, Big Hero 6 provides an insightful look into the search for revenge—and its ultimate inability to satisfy; but, alas, it is difficult to speak more of this without spoiling. It is precisely this unwavering commitment to a character-driven, human-centered story that makes it so enjoyable to sit back and enjoy the action when it arrives—and arrive it does.

MV5BMTY2OTc2OTY0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODI4NjMwMDE@._V1__SX1392_SY676_Yet even as it thrills and charms, Big Hero 6 never strays far from the authentic emotional depth in which it is grounded. One particularly magical moment occurs as Hiro prepares Baymax for his first flight. Locking himself into specially designed places on Baymax’s armor-covered back, the duo rockets into the sky (the animation here is truly spectacular). After skimming the waters, performing aerobatic feats of fancy, and soaring high above the city of San Fransokyo, they finally come to rest atop a blimp floating high above a suspension bridge and linger over the setting sun, its bright rays transforming the sky into a palate of burning red and pink hues. What kind of film is this that, in the midst of all its technological revelry, encourages us to become enchanted with the world we inhabit?

In Big Hero 6, Disney has found that wonderful balance of lightheartedness, charm, emotional depth, and insight into the human condition that has made Pixar a household name. They’ve created a film that—deliberately or not—explores and grapples with the idea that we exist for something greater than ourselves.

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