People scoffed at the movie that would follow Frozen; “There’s no way it can live up,” they said. Why that may be true (worldwide phenomenons like that only come up every few decades of so), Disney smartly followed up with an animated film that in a completely different genre. No Broadway anthems. No singing. No princesses. And that’s what makes Big Hero 6 such a success: it blends science, Marvel superheroes and a sprinkle of Disney magic to create a movie that just might make you forget about Frozen.
Hiro Hamada is a 14-year-old boy genius who loves spending his nights skirting around the seedy parts of San Fransokyo, participating in fighting robot battles. But his brother, Tadashi, has different plans for him and introduces him to his friends at his college San Franskoyo Tech. Hiro had previously brushed it aside as “nerd school”, but once he stepped foot in the doors and realized all the cool projects people were doing, he was all in. So he enters a project in the university’s annual science competition in hopes of winning a coveted scholarship to attend. He wins, but not before losing his brother in a freak accident before the night is over.
Hiro is heartbroken and spends months grieving. One day, Tadashi’s own project, a healthcare companion robot named Baymax, becomes activated and seeks to help heal Hiro of his emotional wounds. Hiro wants nothing of it, but decides instead to upgrade Baymax to a kung-fu fighting robot when he discovers that Tadashi’s death wasn’t an accident. With the help of Baymax and the rest of his new college friends, he forms the Big Hero 6 team to discover who killed Tadashi and stop them in their tracks.
I felt that the first act rushed a bit. We were introduced to a whirlwind of characters and didn’t have much time to build up Hiro and Tadashi’s relationship. So when Tadashi died, yes, I was horrified. But it didn’t sting quite as much as it probably should have. However, Tadashi’s death is just the tip of the emotional iceberg that this movie will take you through, which is refreshing because the end result is completely unexpected.
The ensemble cast in this film work really well together. They both compliment and contrast each other, which creates a great team dynamic as well as some tension. Baymax and Hiro, at first, do not get along, but become quite the odd couple and quite a team. GoGo, the tough-as-nails chick, and Wasabi, the neurotic big guy, are always at each other’s throats due to her obvious incompatibility. For example, the car chase scene where Wasabi is gingerly driving and obeying every traffic sign and law is hilarious as the other members of the group (especially GoGo) frantically try to get him to go faster.
My two favorite members of the team; however, were Honey Lemon and Fred. Honey Lemon is bubbly, over the top, and excited about everything. She also is sweet, caring and the sticky glue that holds the team emotionally together. Fred is just a riot. He is the funniest character in the film, rivaling even the innocent Baymax. Every scene Fred is in steals the show (Especially the end credits scene; Stick around for that!).
The 2nd and 3rd act, however, are paced quite nicely. After all the exposition is set up in the first act, we have more time to flesh out the other members of the gang and to focus on the film’s main conflict, the mysterious super villain Yokai.
The great thing about Big Hero 6 is that these superheroes use their brains for their superpowers. No radioactive spiders, no kryptonite here. These characters use science to make them powerful and dangerous. Each member of the gang specializes in a different scientific area and, combined, they form a lethal team that will stop any bad guy in his or her tracks.
The music, by composer Henry Jackman, was appropriately epic in scale. Since this is an superhero action film, the music had be at least on par with what we see in other live-action superhero films. And it was. There are seven action sequences in this film and in each one you feel the intensity due, in part, to the music. I’m usually not one to notice music much, but I noticed (and approved) of this score.
Normally I’m against sequels, but I must admit: the second the movie finished, I thought to myself, “I would love to see a sequel.” And I wouldn’t be surprised if we get one. Big Hero 6 does a great job at establishing a new superhero franchise with rich characters. Disney would be stupid to leave them on the shelf.
I never realized how much I needed Disney to do a superhero film until I saw this movie. Big Hero 6 is action-packed, incredibly funny and filled with heart. It’s not perfect, but this film further solidifies that Disney is just as good at making contemporary films as it is with Broadway-esque fairy tales. Go see Big Hero 6, you’re going to have a great time. I know I’ll be seeing it again real soon.