Through a fun and heartfelt story about a genius boy and his robot, Big Hero 6 flaunts some truly gorgeous animation. Once again, Disney has shown people why they are one of the leading animation studios in the world. Last year, they dominated the box office with Frozen, a movie which I found lacking in story but was a huge success nonetheless. For me, personally, Big Hero 6 surpasses Frozen by a long shot. Sure, there’s no Disney princess with a pretty blue dress shooting ice out of her fingers, but Big Hero 6 is magical in its own right. To some, it might just be the kid-friendly version of yet another Marvel superhero movie, but I think it’s much more than that. It explores themes of family, friendship, loss, and the potentials of fast-advancing science and how the world’s youth can mold it into something good.
Hiro (Ryan Potter) is a child prodigy who spends his free time participating in back alley robot fights for money. When his older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), brings Hiro into his university’s robotics lab to show him the robot he has been working on–a big, balloon-like healthcare companion named Baymax–Hiro is persuaded to use his gifts for something useful and to apply at the school. In order to get in, he has to impress Professor Callaghan (James Cromwell), and he does so using a new invention of microbots that can move and link together to build anything the brain can think of. Incidentally, he also catches the eye of Alistair Krei (Alan Tudyk), the rich owner of a robotics company who wants to buy his invention. Due to the influence of his brother, Hiro resists the temptation to make quick cash, and puts his university education first.
Tragedy soon befalls Hiro when Tadashi is killed in a fire at the university. Left with no parents and no brother, he finds comfort in Baymax as well as Tadashi’s friends, Go Go (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), and Fred (T.J. Miller). They all find themselves in danger when Hiro figures out a masked man who may have been involved in the fire that caused Tadashi’s death is using his microbots for an evil cause, and he upgrades Baymax and his friends with some high tech gear so they can form a team to stop him.
It’s difficult not to fall in love with the inflatable robot who only wants to ease what he perceives as Hiro’s pubescent angst. He has to deflate to fit through small spaces, he becomes the equivalent of a drunkard when his battery is low, and instead of making an explosion sound after a fist bump, he says something along the lines of “da-la-la-la-la.” In other words, he’s quite adorable. I can imagine kids around the world wanting a Baymax for themselves after seeing this movie. I know I do.
Hiro eventually becomes consumed with the desire for revenge on the man responsible for Tadashi’s death and tries to use Baymax as a weapon against him. But Baymax was created by Tadashi as a robot who would never harm another human being. In a way, Tadashi continues to live on through him, helping Hiro mature through one of the most difficult times in his life. So aside from the general adorable traits Baymax was created with, he symbolizes something much more meaningful and sentimental. He is a piece of Tadashi that was left behind after his death, making Baymax the true heart of Big Hero 6.
Tadashi’s friends are a smart, but not so original mix of personalities. Fred is probably the most interesting just because he is basically the mascot of the team. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed and his costume is ridiculously funny, he adds a lot more light-hearted humor to the film. He’s also the subject of the post-credits scene, because you can’t have a Marvel movie without a post-credits scene. The movie is called Big Hero 6, but doesn’t focus much on the other 4, which is not a huge deal, but it is noticeable seeing as how I couldn’t remember the others’ names until I looked them up. The 102-minute movie takes its time with Hiro and Baymax, though, the two characters you care about the most. If it had been even 10 minutes longer we might’ve gotten a bit more of a balanced movie that would’ve made you care a little more about the rest of this animated ensemble.
Big Hero 6 has some really stunning animation. The film is set in a fictional city called San Fransokyo, which of course, is a mixture between San Francisco and Tokyo if you weren’t able to guess. The architecture is a blend of both cities, allowing for the creation of an extremely interesting and colorful metropolis. Some of the best parts are when Hiro and Baymax, decked out in their superhero gear, are flying through the city. You get a real sense of the amount of detail and creativity that went in to forming this culturally-mixed animated world.
Big Hero 6 is a fun animated film. It shows plenty of emotion and humor through the bonds of friendship and family, and a boy who finds solace in the company of a caring robot companion. I can confidently say that it currently stands as my favorite animated movie of the year. Baymax and the rest of the team captured my heart, as I’m sure it will the hearts of many other children and adults alike.