** This is a user-submitted post by Brandon Smith **
Before I begin, a little disclaimer here: as this is an opinion article, there are bound to be some people who might not agree with what I am about to say. If you want to argue in favor or against the points made in this article or provide your own thoughts on the matter, you can do so in the comment section below!
Just yesterday, people got their first taste of Disney and Marvel’s first animated collaboration Big Hero 6. Repeating a formula not-too-dissimilar to past animated movies (from Disney/Pixar and others), the teaser plays like a short film, as we see the creation of Baymax’s robotic suit of armor. Following that, we’re given a montage of scenes where Hiro Hamada is attempting to put the individual pieces of armor on Baymax, first shown as a chubby, white, harmless bugger of a robot. Think EVE form Wall-E crossed with the Stay Puft Marshmallow man from Ghostbusters.
Once the armor is fully on, we are given really cool-looking shot of Baymax in full, all-out Iron Man-esque attire, accompanied by a suitably heroic score (that will sound familiar to anybody who’s seen The Avengers). This is, of course, before we are brought back down to the humor as Baymax’s suit pops off and he reverts back to his child-like nature, with Hiro in obvious disapproval.
Speaking of similar teasers, there is of course the inevitable comparison to the first teaser put out for Pixar’s The Incredibles. But another teaser it brings to mind, if only for how much better it is in comparison, is the first teaser for this little movie that got released a while ago called Frozen. Putting aside the fact that it’s now Disney’s new golden goose for the time being, when that teaser came out it immediately drew the ire of Disney fans, animation lovers, and just about anybody who wasn’t a six year old, immediately becoming the worse teaser trailer ever made. And rightfully so, as the whole thing played out like a poor man’s Looney Tunes. Again, it was entertaining….provided that you were anywhere under the age of 10.
Compare this to the overwhelmingly positive response to Big Hero 6‘s very first teaser. Having watched it several times, I pondered over what exactly made this teaser a success in the way that Frozen’s wasn’t?
I finally nailed down to about three reasons as to why it was simply better:
1. It connected with the plot.
I have a challenge for Frozen fans: watch the first teaser with Olaf and Sven. Can you guess what the film will be about? I couldn’t. Even after watching the movie, I still can’t.
It’s possible to sell a really cool teaser trailer that tells you next to nothing about the movie’s plot (see: How To Train Your Dragon 2). Putting two slapstick characters upfront and center for your first teaser is one thing. Having them spend nearly a minute and a half doing an asinine comedy routine that tells you nothing except that its two characters (possibly sidekicks) doing an asinine comedy routine is a golden example of hilariously bad marketing.
By comparison, whoever is doing the marketing for Big Hero 6 is playing it smart by having its primary characters (Hiro and Baymax) at the focus. It also benefits from the fact that it’s not completely a farcical riot (I’ll elaborate on this later). In this teaser, Hiro Hamada is shown designing and developing the tech armor (applying textures, going through poses, etc). It’s a neat little touch that hints at Hiro’s prowess as a super-genuis prodigy, in addition to also, on the whole, showing the friendship between him and Baymax. I think directors Don Hall and Chris Williams said it best when speaking to Yahoo Movies: “Hiro wants to take the healing, loving, guileless nurse robot and turn it into a mechanized warrior,” says Williams. “That’s sort of the backbone of the film.”
2. It struck a balance.
It’s hard to argue that the Frozen teaser leaned too much on comedy, to the detriment of people’s then-expectations.
It’s here that the teaser for Big Hero 6 succeeds with flying colors. This is the reason why everyone is getting hooked on it despite not knowing the comic book it’s based on.
It has that very Disney ‘cuteness’ factor that’s a big draw for kids and family audiences, yet it still bows it’s head towards the superhero flavor and the ‘boy and his X’ character journey just enough to interest the older demographic.
3. It doesn’t overdo the comedy.
Let’s face it, Frozen‘s first teaser simply tried TOO hard to be funny, to the point of almost reaching a new level of annoying.
Yes, Big Hero 6‘s teaser is, ultimately, using comedy to sell the film at this stage. But it’s humor that’s chuckle-worthy, if familiar. Again, it’s the cute factor that ultimately makes it.
There are probably other reasons that I’m not aware of, but those were the ones that I specifically pinpointed as specific reasons. And if you ask me, Big Hero 6 may have all the ingredients for another successful Disney film. Frozen was at best decent, but I personally find their films more fun when they turn their attention away from their ‘Princess’ brand.
With a teaser like the one Frozen received, it’s almost a miracle that the movie did as well as it did. Only time will tell if Big Hero 6 will be met with a similar response.