A totally charming watch for all ages.
Big Hero 6 is the latest animated release from Disney, and from the first watch of the trailer I thought it might fall into Chicken Little like obscurity. Yes, it looked amusing, but I wasn’t sure it would stand alone as a classic in the Disney canon, especially with the release of Frozen last year. It’s also the first animated Disney film to feature characters from Marvel comics following Disney’s acquisition of parent company Marvel Entertainment in 2009, and with the huge popularity of ‘comic book movies’ in the film industry, Big Hero 6 could have been viewed merely as a vehicle for Disney to capitalise on the superhero genre and sell it to a younger audience. However, five minutes into the film all preconceptions are proven wrong.
The film tells the story of 14 year-old Hiro Hamada, a robotics wunderkind who has already graduated high school. The film shows Hiro dealing with grief after the death of his elder brother, Tadashi, and teaming up with inflatable robot, Baymax, to fight a mysterious masked villain who stole Hiro’s invention. Set in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo,a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo, the film is a really visual treat. The amalgamation of architecture from the two cities is stunning; the soaring shots show skyscrapers next to Japanese temples, all accessible by the Golden Gate Bridge in a totally new and vibrant world. In short, the animation is an absolute joy to watch.
One thing that really stands out in the film is the physical comedy. It’s childish fun, but done in a totally effortless way. Perfectly timed and irresistibly charming, you see the 10 foot tall, rotund robot struggling to shuffle through tiny gaps and getting stuck in small nooks and crannies. In one scene you see Baymax trapped in a window and having to deflate himself to get out, much to Hiro’s dismay as they’re meant to be sneaking undetected through said window. It’s these delightful scenes that make Big Hero 6 such an enchanting watch for both children and adults.
Although the explosive action sequences and the geeky DIY group of superheroes are an intriguing view, it’s the relationship between Baymax and Hiro that takes center stage. As the 14-year-old deals with grief, you see Baymax aid him in his recovery. With everything Baymax knows and says having been programmed, you see the robot beginning to learn and reprogram through his relationship with Hiro and their development as friends, and as Baymax starts to learn you see Hiro begin to come to grips with the death of his brother. It’s a totally captivating watch, and one that could have one so awfully wrong, but as per usual, with a bit of Disney sparkle it turn the animated film into a total tearjerker.
The Blu-Ray features a range of extra content. Including the animated short that ran before the film whilst it was in cinema, Feast. This adorable story about a dog’s relationship with his owner through food picked up the Academy Award for Best Animated Short this year. There’s also an origin story of Big Hero 6 and a few deleted scenes, all of which are worth watching.
At the 2015 Academy Awards, where you could predict almost all the winners, Big Hero 6 had a surprise win. Beating the likes of How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Big Hero 6 took home the well-deserved gong for Best Animated Feature Film. Big Hero 6 has made space for itself in the classic Disney canon, and with all the accolades it’s collecting it seems set to stay.
Big Hero 6 (2015), directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, is released on Blu-Ray and DVD in the UK by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Certificate PG.