Friday, 30 January 2015

Big Hero 6 (2014)

A treat for both Marvel and Disney fans, Big Hero 6 is great family fun, full to the brim with humour, in-jokes/references and gorgeous animation. It's got a big heart, and features a central character, Baymax, that should easily win a place in the heart of any child.

Hiro is a young boy with a fantastic brain for science and robotics, but no self-motivation. If he applied himself then he could do something truly great, and his brother, Tadashi, knows this. Tadashi takes Hiro to his place of work, a surprise visit that opens Hiro's eyes to the cool possibilities available to someone of his intellect. He also gets to meet Baymax, a health care robot that resembles a humanoid made from marshmallow (yes, he's a BIT like Mr. Stay Puft). It's not long, however, until tragedy strikes. Struggling to cope with his grief, Hiro ends up growing closer to Baymax, and eventually retooling the robot into something quite far removed from his original incarnation. This might help them to bring down a strange supervillain who has appeared in town, one wearing a Kabuki mask. However, Baymax encourages Hiro to contact, and receive support from, a number of friends, which allows a small team of potential heroes to be formed.

Although it's a bit too sweet and cutesy at times, I can't recommend Big Hero 6 highly enough to those who want to watch a superior animated movie aimed at a younger audience. From the city environment - San Fansokyo (a lush amalgamation of San Francisco and Tokyo architectural styles) - to the character design, and the tech on display, this is one of those movies that serves up a veritable feast in every scene.

Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams oversee everything with keen eyes, keeping those gorgeous visuals attached to a script (written by Jordan Roberts, Daniel Gerson and Robert L. Baird) that never shifts the focus away from the main characters. The voice cast includes quite a few famous names (Alan Tudyk, James Cromwell, Damon Wayans Jr, Maya Rudolph, Jaime Chung, T. J. Miller, Genesis Rodriguez), and every single performer does a great job, with highlights being Wayans Jr, Miller, and Rudolph. The two leads may not have name recognition, Ryan Potter voices Hiro and Scott Adsit voices Baymax, but the most important thing here is that their voices work, and work brilliantly.

You're never more than a few moments away from a good laugh, the action scenes are exhilarating, and any one of the main characters could make a cool role model. But be warned, the film also manages to explore loss and grief without sugar-coating the heartache. There may be one or two conversations being had between parents and children as they leave the cinema, and it's something worth being prepared for. Is there anything here on a par with the potential trauma many of us experienced when we first saw Bambi? Maybe not. But it's almost too close to call.

Based upon some comic material that I was formerly unaware of, this proves once again that you don't necessarily need brand recognition or a built-in fanbase to deliver a near-perfect blockbuster movie. You just need some TLC.


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The UK version can be bought here -

And American folks can buy it here -

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