Big Hero 6 (4 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh), and Chris Williams (Bolt)
Written by: Robert L. Baird (Monsters University), Daniel Gerson (Monsters University) Jordan Roberts (March of the Penguins)
Voice Work by: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, TJ Miller, Genesis Rodriguez, Damon Wayans Jr., Maya Rudolph, and James Cromwell
I know what you are thinking, Ugh another movie about super heroes! Super hero fatigue is on the rise. Many critics/journalists are feeling the fatigue, especially as Marvel announces Phases 3 of their Avengers stories, and DC announced their long term plans. I have always been an avid comic book reader, and as long as the stories are well executed I am happy to welcome more adventures based in comics. Big Hero 6 does not contribute to the fatigue, but rather adds a nice Disney spin, with fantastic visuals, some great laughs, and tremendous heart.
Hiro (Potter) is a smart 13 year old who finished high school early; he has entered the world of Bot Fighting, something, illegal in San Fransokyo. When he brother comes to get him out of a jam Hiro is soon shown the world of a high tech "nerd school" or well college, where everyone is working on amazing technological advances. Hiro forms a bond with a larger than life inflatable robot named Baymax (Adsit), and the students at the school to save the city to form a tech savy super hero group.
Without giving too much plot away, although if you are an adult you can guess the direction the film is going to take, hell even the dead parent Disney trope is there at the beginning, this was a fantastic film. Disney knows how to tug at the heart strings, make you laugh, and provide some of the best animation I have ever seen them put on the big screen.
Big Hero 6 provides the perfect blend of the world of Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar. Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams have worked primarily on the Walt Disney Pictures side, they have each directed one of their bigger films in the 2000s, Bolt and Winnie the Pooh, they have also written for other films on that side of the House of Mouse. Meanwhile the writing team has mainly come from the Pixar side working on the Monsters movies. This blend of creativity sucks you into the story, and Disney is on a roll, three years in a row, following Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen.
Disney also once again defied their tradition, in the past their animated films were by the book, and while as stated above many of the plot points are predictable, this traditional movie about a young boy as a super hero packs a lot of emotional punch. The film also casts a wide array of characters and while some could see them as checking a box, I applaud the way the have diversified their representation in their animated films.
There is something about the way in which Disney constructs and experience, blend that with the super-hero trope, and you have another winner. The visuals of the city landscape are breathtaking, they blend the construct of Victorian and Japanese culture. My only minor complaint is that the voice work took a bit to get used to in the beginning, I am mainly talking about the tech-savy team, but in the the end they each work fantastically. On the other hand Maya Rudolph's voice work as Aunt Cass was brilliant, and Scott Adsit made Baymax you connect with Baymax more than you would expect, especially since he is programmed as a robotic nurse.
I almost let the failed teaser trailer, prevent me from having any interest in this film. Do yourself a favor and go see this film, so you can laugh, cry, and once again experience the magic of another fantastic Disney animated experience.