Big Hero 6 Review
Reviewed by Samuel Rahaman.
If there were any lingering doubts before seeing this film, make no mistake: the Walt Disney Animation Studios are back in the game. Ever since the release of The Princess and the Frog in 2009, Disney have been producing hit after hit; and Big Hero 6 is certainly no exception. Coming off the back of one of the studios most successful animated movies of all time, there was a high level of expectation surrounding the feature and a lot of pressure for it to be a success; despite this, Big Hero 6 is a genuine triumph.
The story is based on one of Marvel’s lesser known comics of the same name, and focuses on the character, Hiro Hamada: a highly intelligent 14-year-old boy who has a particular fascination with robotics; one that frequently gets him into all kinds of trouble. However, it takes some words of wisdom from his brother Tadashi for Hiro to realise that his skills could be put to better use elsewhere, leading him down a more constructive path.
In fact, it is Hiro’s relationship with his brother that underpins the whole film. Without giving too much away, a surprising twist (though not so much if you’ve seen the trailers) adds a huge emotional core to the narrative, which is felt in almost every scene thereafter – and is one that will resonate with audiences no matter what their age may be. Having said that, a tiny criticism is that the plot can be fairly predictable at times, because of this some of the later twists are not as shocking as they should be and do not hold as much impact – but again, this is just a small niggle.
The film’s greatest strength lies in development of the characters, particularly the members of the superhero team; they are all extremely likeable and relatable, with each having their own distinctive styles and strengths (I’m sure young boys and girls will be fighting amongst themselves over who gets to play who). But the character that makes by far the biggest impression is the sweet and huggable robot, Baymax: a healthcare assistant designed to treat his patient’s physical injuries. Both his child-like innocence and his hilarious one liners will be sure to have the audience in hysterics. Nevertheless, Baymax is not just played for the laughs, for his relationship with Hiro serves as the emotional crux of the story — his primary mission is to ensure that Hiro is always well cared for. As such, he encapsulates the films overall message that love, family, friendship, and a big, warm hug can cure any emotional wound.
Where the film also impresses is in the beautiful animation, occasionally rivalling Pixar through its aesthetic quality; in particular, the design of San Fransokyo (a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo), which is absolutely glorious. Indeed, the attention to detail is breath-taking, and provides a stunning backdrop for the film. Not only this, the design of the characters is also at a very high standard, too. The heroes’ costumes are colourful and distinctive, and the villain also appears as a very menacing figure thanks to his creepy looking Kabuki mask and long, black cloak. With superhero flicks, there is always a risk for them to be style over substance, but here the directors (Don Hall and Chris Williams) manage to balance the two perfectly; thus, creating a film that is both visually pleasing and emotionally engaging for the audience.
On paper, Big Hero 6 may appear to be just another average Marvel film, for there is plenty of superhero action throughout — which at times makes it feel like an Avengers styled movie for the younger generation. But, at its heart, it is very much a classic Disney animation. There is a lot of warmth, humour, emotion, and just the general Disney magic that everyone has come to expect from the studio. Packed with an array of charming and relatable characters, and an action-packed, emotionally charged plot, Big Hero 6 will be sure to delight adults and children of all ages.
P.S. Stick around for the after-credits scene, it is a brilliant treat for fans of Marvel and is genuinely hilarious!