After you’ve seen Interstellar and you begin to question your existence and the future of humanity, you should go see Big Hero 6. It will make you feel better. I promise.
True to animated Disney movie form, the film begins with a story of loss for its hero – whose name is Hiro, oddly enough – and ends in a heartwarming message about the importance of friendship and respect for the well-being of others. But what really sets this movie apart is the star of the show, an inflatable and accidentally lovable medical robot named Baymax (who looks a lot like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters).
Am I right? I’m totally right. Anyway, Baymax is essentially tricked by Hiro into thinking that capturing a criminal who stole one of Hiro’s tech ideas and harmed one of his loved ones will halt Hiro’s depression and make him healthy. In order to do this, the plushy medic-in-a-box allows Hiro to retrofit him with wicked cool armor, kung-fu programming and, oh yeah, a jet pack! Along the way, Hiro and Baymax are joined by other tech geniuses and friends of Hiro’s who team up to take down the masked evil-doer.
The story sounds very cookie-cutter on the surface. Then towards the end of the movie you realize it is anything but. The film starts out as a detective story with cool tech, then becomes a superhero movie and wraps up as a sci-fi thriller. Without giving anything away, I can also tell you that the movie has a clever new spin on the difference between the good and the bad guy. For a Disney movie, there is an awful lot of violent soul-searching translated into tense action.
But enough about the plot! The setting, a strangely beautiful mix of Tokyo and San Francisco, is a true feat of animation. With the mash-up of Japanese and American architecture, bayside view and artfully decorated wind turbines floating in the sky, this fictional city is almost a character of its own. It’s never really specific if they are in America or Japan… or why the city contains this stark mix of cultures, but it really doesn’t matter. Anyone who has spent any time in Tokyo or San Francisco will feel absolutely at home.
Hiro’s four friends are a fun collection of tech geeks turned superheroes. They give each other a hard time for being nerds, and they are, but they’re nerds who make lightsabers come out of their wrists, high velocity roller skates and other extremely cool gadgets. The “origin story” of these heroes would be a little farfetched if it were a live action film, even for sci-fi, but since the movie is already a cartoon, the idea that a few college kids could create their own super suits and fight crime is a little easier to digest.
At this point you may be thinking to yourself, “Jeez, this movie sounds really random. Like, this seems like a big ball of random all bundled up and tossed on the big screen,” and you’re right. One of the problems with the movie is that it doesn’t seem to know if it wants to be a superhero movie or just a sci-fi cartoon. That’s because this is one of the first examples of Disney slowly bringing the Marvel Universe into the fold.
This movie is actually based on a cast of characters from a little known Marvel comic mini-series of the same name.
After a few minor kid-friendly tweaks, this cast of anime-style comic book characters becomes the lovable Big Hero 6 we know on the big screen. While this is the first time Disney has taken a Marvel comic and made it into an animated movie, there is no indication that this will be the last.
But why is Big Hero 6 Disney’s first foray into the animated Marvel superhero world? Why not choose a better known cast of characters that they know will sell? While I do not claim to be a comic book buff of any kind, I had never heard of this series before the movie came out. I’m willing to bet many others hadn’t either. It is possible that the creators of the animated movie were banking on the fact that the story is not very big in mainstream entertainment. That way, hypothetically, less people would be angry about their favorite comic book characters being cannibalized into cartoons.
Of course, this is all conjecture and has little to do with the actual film. Whether you’re 13, 23 or 93, you are sure to enjoy this action packed yet heartwarming hero’s journey.