Genre: Action and Adventure, Comedy, Family
Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Cast: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, T.J. Miller, Jaime Chung, Damon Wayans, Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Daniel Henney, Maya Ruldoph, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk
Release Date: November 7th, 2014
Last year, visit this Disney amazed audiences with the touching Frozen, buy an animated feature that focused predominantly on the relationship between two sisters who were separated from one another at an early age. The story wasn’t about falling in love (although love did play a major role in it) but rather it wasabout a strong and beautiful relationship between two siblings. Big Hero 6, more about Disney’s latest treat, focuses on a relationship as well– one between a teenager and the robot his late brother constructed.
The teenager here is Hiro (Ryan Potter), a smart student who loves engaging in robot fights as the story begins. He has the potential to be a great inventor but at such an early age, he would rather just have fun and spend his time outsmarting fellow robot enthusiasts. His older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) sees Hiro’s creative mind at work and encourages him to apply at the technical school he attends. Hiro is hesitant until he sees the school’s creative spirit in action. From then on, he knows he wants to attend it.
During his visit to the school, Hiro is introduced to Baymax (Scott Adsit), the Marshmallow Man-like creature his brother has created. Baymax is a medical wonder and can diagnose patients within a matter of seconds (he’s a “personal health care companion,” Tadashi notes). After Tadashi is killed though, Hiro is confronted with an immense loss. Just when he thinks his life can never be good again, he rediscovers Baymax and the two eventually are sent on a great adventure together.
Although it’s hard to appreciate the character’s uniqueness without seeing the film, Baymax is one of the most creative characters Disney has built. He may look like a big pillow but within minutes, the loveable but sometimes clueless is easy to fall in love with. He may not be able to pick up on sarcasm but his kindness and big heart help guide Hiro along a journey of discovering his own place in the world.
Hiro and Baymax eventually face off against a mysterious villain who has stolen Hiro’s idea of neurotransmitter-controlled microbots (an idea that Hiro worked tirelessly to create). The concept of the microbots is given short shrift here– a decision that unfortunately downplays their importance– but the characters and the relationships seldom are. The relationship between Hiro and Tadasci is beautifully built, which makes his death feel completely devastating to both the main character and the audience. So too is the relationship between Hiro and Baymax, which is the relationship that the narrative relies on for the second half of the story. Working alongside Hiro and Baymax during that period are a team of Tadashi’s friends who would do anything to help Tadashi’s little brother.
Big Hero 6, despite some of its weaker elements, serves as a wonderful companion piece to Frozen. This, too, focuses on the love and affections siblings share for one another and how the bond of friendship (here between Hiro and Baymax) can turn into a bond of family. Disney has a colorful, wonderfully-crafted and beautiful story at the heart of Big Hero 6 and it’s a story that families will undoubtedly appreciate.
Review by: John Hanlon