Welcome to the Disney Revival Rundown! This week, we at Rotoscopers are analyzing some of the most recent Disney animated films and what makes each one so great. At the end of the series we will have a fan vote to determine which is the best of them all!
Last, but certainly not least, in our Disney Revival Rundown series is Big Hero 6.
Where to even begin with Big Hero 6? Sure, I was looking forward to Big Hero 6 when it first came out because it was Disney and, at this point, the company had definitely hit its stride and had completely revitalized their films (just read any of the other articles from our series). But, I wasn’t rushing to the theaters when Big Hero 6 was originally released. I’m just not the biggest fan of superhero movies. Not that there is anything wrong with them by any means, they just aren’t my usual go-to genre of films.
When I finally got around to watching Big Hero 6 (maybe two or three months after it hit theaters) I couldn’t believe what I had been putting off for so long.
This was a fantastic movie.
Yes, it was a superhero movie, and its filmmakers were extremely well aware of the fact, and that’s part of the reason it was so amazing.
The story didn’t try to veil the sheer amount of super that there was to these heroes. It simply allowed each character to be themselves. This means that we got a wide array of diverse characters who were aware that they were essentially superheroes, and put all of their effort into fulfilling that role.
The characters truly made this film epic.
Take Tadashi, for example. OH MY GOSH TADASHI.
I hate to be that obnoxious writer that capitalizes everything, but Tadashi is definitely worth the caps lock.
I had previously been spoiled as to Tadashi’s fate (oh yeah, there will be spoilers in this article, dear reader) and so I wasn’t really expecting to feel that sad when he was gone. But, Tadashi’s death was probably one of the most heartbreaking deaths I have ever experienced in any movie ever.
Tadashi was basically the best role model that a younger brother could have. Hardworking and highly intelligent, he always wanted to help others, whether that be through creating the ultimate health care companion or risking his life for someone he cared about. He may not have had much screen time, but during every moment he was on screen he was amazing. I did not expect to feel so connected to a character that we saw for such a brief amount of time. Tadashi was completely developed, despite his early demise.
This brings us to the amazing relationship between Tadashi and Hiro. I’ve never had any brothers, but the sibling relationship between the two felt very relatable to me. At times, they even reminded me of the relationship I have with my younger sister. The two brothers are extremely supportive of each other, even if they don’t always see eye to eye. Hiro is occasionally annoyed with Tadashi, while Tadashi just continues to look out for his brother’s best interests.
Hiro, our main protagonist, is also probably the most flawed of all of the characters in the film. A little bit of a brat, he gets thrown in jail within the first ten minutes of the film and rushes out to go ‘bot fighting’ again almost immediately after he is bailed out. But, he also has great character growth. Going through puberty isn’t an easy experience for anyone and, when you are an orphaned genius whose brother has died as well, the experience positively heartbreaking. Throughout the film, Hiro doesn’t always make the best decisions. His blunders range from abandoning his friends on a spooky island to trying to kill his nemesis. His attempts to do the right thing are almost heartbreaking, because who wouldn’t want to get revenge on the man responsible for your sibling’s death? But, the relationship he had with his brother’s friends was amazing. While they didn’t know each other very well, each and every one of the supporting characters did so much to try and help Hiro. The relationships the film explores between the characters, focusing on siblings and friends instead of romantic entanglements, especially shows how far Disney has come in the last few years with its character and story developments. This movie proves the animation company is just as competent at developing storylines involving all relationships and not just romantic ones.
This brings me to the nerd school: San Fransokyo Institute of Technology (SFIT).
Being a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology (and well aware of the fact that my own younger sister probably thinks of it as a nerd school) I found SFIT extremely epic. I’ve seen the amazing things that students at my school do, and SFIT takes that to the next level. The technologies we see are so inspiring. I really hope that Hiro’s microbots or Tadashi’s health care companion are in the works with some scientist right now. This school inspires creativity, and with the evolution of the characters from nerds to heroes, SFIT fully proves that nerds do, in fact, rule the world.
There’s Wasabi, perhaps the most normal of the gang, as he is constantly pointing out the absurdity of the situations they find themselves in while the others just accept it. He is neurotic, but extremely cool. Everything from the use of his turn signals during a high speed car chase, to his super precise method of organization makes him extremely real and hysterical.
Go Go Tomago proves that girls can be both super sweet, independent, and kick-ass all in one. She may be a woman of few words, but the few words she does have are great. From her catchphrase, “Woman Up!” to her support of Hiro (and let’s not forget her mad driving skills) she kind of felt like a modern, technological Mulan.
Honey Lemon is long, lean, and beautiful. She is a mad scientist-esque Latina hippie, fluent in Spanish, Japanese, and English, and is extremely optimistic. The incongruous nature of all of her descriptors makes her extremely lovable, and her chemistry skills are pretty epic.
And that brings us to Fred, perhaps the best breakout character of the gang. He may seem like the Shaggy of the group, but his role as the comic book enthusiast who is, “school mascot by day, but by night… also a school mascot” makes him amazing. Every one of his lines are extremely quotable, and the fact that Stan Lee (Stan Frickin’ Lee!) is his dad (and a superhero to boot) is completely unexpected and perfect. And let’s not forget that he is super rich (and does not live under a bridge) and has Heathcliff, another character of few lines but whose every moment on screen as the stately British butler just helps to make Fred’s personality as the eccentric and personable comic book lover even more random and perfect. Plus, who can forget his amazing song, “Six intrepid friends lead by Fred, their leader, Fred. Fred’s Angels, m-m-m. Fred’s Angels, m-m-m. Harnessing the power of the sun with the ancient amulet they found in the attic. M-m-m. The amulet is green. M-m-m. It’s probably an emerald.”?
The storyline of the film was very impressive as well. When you think of everything that this movie was able to convey in such a short amount of time, it’s positively stunning. Fred said it himself: this is an origin story. It contains revenge and heartbreak. Amazing technology, adventures, relationships, robots, superheroes, and villains. The superpowers each character got through the suits Hiro made were amazing and extremely original. Professor Callaghan was surprising (not Frozen level surprising, but still surprising nonetheless). With his backstory, you can’t blame him too much for wanting revenge. The way he went about getting his revenge was awful, and his lack of sympathy over Tadashi’s death was devastating, but you have to wonder what levels of madness he went through after he lost his daughter. Plus, there is that moment when Hiro could have become Callaghan when he tries to kill him. Without his friends, who knows what Hiro might have become? And, since this is an origin story, it is perfectly set up for a sequel, perhaps more so than other movies that Disney has recently released. In all honesty, despite my usual hatred of sequels, this is the one film that really and truly does deserve a sequel. The story was solid, working as a means of introducing us to these characters and developing Hiro. A sequel could only benefit the characters’ expansions, and allow them to have more time to explore their sheer superhero-ness.
The music and scenery, and the developed world of San Fransokyo really make me wish that it were a real place. The amount of diversity within the world and the beauty of each and every building makes this film one of Disney’s more visually stunning works.
At this point, you must be wondering why I haven’t yet mentioned our favorite health care companion. Well, since this is the last article in our Disney Revival Rundown, I felt that I must truly save the best for last.
Baymax is the sidekick to end all sidekicks. He has awesome character development, something that was mirrored in his movements throughout the film as he became less stiff and robotic and more flexible and caring. He does everything for Hiro, and is perhaps the best friend anyone can ask for. He is hysterical when he is drunk- I mean, low on battery power. He can fly, he’s very literal, and his fist bumps are legendary. Even though he is a sidekick, he is perhaps one of the most developed characters we have seen from Disney’s latest films. There is so much to say about this character, but since I am sure you are tired of me raving about this film, I will simply leave you with this:
[Update] Oh yeah, this movie also won the Best Animated Feature at the Oscars last night proving, once and for all, that Disney is back and its movies are better than ever.
What do you think of Big Hero 6? Where do you think it ranks in the Disney Revival Rundown?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes