Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Directed by: Don Hall & Chris Williams
Starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, T.J. Miller
Given its evermore-saturated market, it’s hard not to wonder whether we actually need, or indeed want another superhero film. Well, whatever your thoughts on the subject, we have one. Big Hero 6 is the inevitable by-product of Walt Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Studios. It’s a fast and fun action adventure, with a big brain and even bigger heart.
Mercifully the writers (Jordan Roberts, Dan Gerson and Robert Baird), loosely adapting from a little-known Marvel comic, have afforded themselves far greater creative freedom by setting their story outside of the superhero studio’s multiverse. Instead we are transported to the city of San Fransokyo, a luminous cultural fusion of East & West. The skyline soars with shining futuristic skyscrapers, the ground level metropolis abuzz with neon colours. Like everything in the film, it’s visually vibrant and beguilingly beautiful.
Against this bewitching backdrop we meet Hiro (Ryan Potter), a young science prodigy who dreams of following in his brother Tadashi’s (Daniel Henney) footsteps by attending the same robotics university. However, when disaster befalls him, Hiro finds himself alone in the world. The only person he can turn to is Baymax (Scott Adsit), a healthcare robot invented by his brother. Together, Hiro and Baymax set about trying to find those who caused the recent disaster, enlisting the help of Tadashi’s classmates and forming a superhero sextuple in the process.
Thematically, Big Hero 6 treads ground that’s very familiar to the House of Mouse. Though it isn’t as adept as the top tier of the studio’s output, the intimately emotional core, which addresses the nature of loss, moving forward anand friendship remains engaging and affecting. The developing relationship between Hiro & Baymax is at the heart of the film, with Baymax not only acting as an android ambulance to the masses, but also as a personal healer to Hiro in a time of great need.
Baymax is also, without doubt, the star of this dynamic duo. He looks like a cross between the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and an iPod, his demeanour the same loveable mix of charm and naivety that made Wall-E such a winning character. His inflatably rotund exterior is so simply adorable that you wish you had your own one to hug whenever you want. His personality is innately robotic and yet effortlessly warm and endearing thanks to Scott Adsit’s impressive vocals. He’s a gentle giant of a character who drives the film’s perfectly balanced mixture of emotions. The sight of Baymax stumbling around like a drunken teenager when his battery runs low will have you crying with laughter, while his growing brotherly bond with Hiro will simply have you crying.
Perfectly fused with this traditional Disney delight is a skyrocketing superhero story that flies as high as any Avengers adventure. It even has a special cameo from a certain Marvel icon. Granted, the plot is predictable (adult viewers are likely to have guessed who the mysterious masked menace terrorizing Hiro and Baymax is long before he’s finally revealed), but directors Don Hall and Chris Williams keep their feet on the ground by injecting their film with euphorically high levels of energy and excitement. Sure, the action sequences never quite reach the same astonishing levels of spectacle found in The Incredibles, but they still pack an almighty punch. And, like the film as a whole, are guaranteed to hold you spellbound no matter what your age.