A cute, fun take on the superhero genre.
A fun, cute, cuddly film, Big Hero 6 is Disney’s latest offering, and it shows that they can make quality animated films without the need for any musical numbers. Being a Marvel property that has been brought to life by Disney Animation, it is clear going in that this will be a solid and successful piece of cinema, combining the action and wry humour of a Marvel film with the heart-melting sweetness of Disney.
Set in the fictional city of San Fransokyo (a wonderful amalgamation of, surprisingly, San Francisco and Tokyo), Big Hero 6 tells the story of 14 year-old Hiro Hamada as he simultaneously tries to cope with the death of his older brother and stop a mysterious, nano-bot wielding villain with the help of Baymax, who is just the cutest marshmallow-like robot you might ever see. Yet another film that is set in a future that not only looks fantastic, but is also not trying to kill us, it is great to see the positive, exciting portrayal of science that runs through the film.
Switching seamlessly from goofy comedy to moments of sincere, tear-jerking sadness, this is a very well-made, well-written film. Perhaps more open with its underlying themes and motivations (coping with grief and the desire for revenge) than other children’s films, Big Hero 6 does well to explore quite mature issues without ever overstepping its bounds. There is a powerful scene in the middle of the film which is surprisingly dark, and in less skilled hands could easily have spun out of control.
Though overall a very good film, it does threaten to become some generic action flick towards the end. It would have been much better had either more time been spent on Hiro’s relationship/interactions with Baymax, cutting out the supporting characters, or if the supporting characters had been developed much more than they were, so that their action sequences had more investment, and felt less like pointless filler. Also, a montage sequence in the middle of the film suffers from a terrible choice of song, turning what should have been some rousing little scene into a cringe-inducing few minutes.
Despite its flaws, Big Hero 6 is an excellent film. It looks set to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and has already grossed stupid amounts of money. Marvel does Disney, or Disney does Marvel, and the result is effortlessly enjoyable.
Big Hero 6 (2015), directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, is distributed in the UK by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Certificate PG.