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Big Hero 6 - Movie Review

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Big Hero 6 - Movie Review

3 stars

As the celebrated love-child of the newly consummated coupling by Disney and Marvel studios, Big Hero 6 is, as expected, an action-packed superhero movie. But, surprisingly, the superhero parts of the story are the least enjoyable and keep the whole thing from achieving the lofty heights either studio had envisioned with the action-comedy-adventure about a robotics prodigy and his plus-sized inflatable robot.

However, that’s not to say that Big Hero 6 isn’t an enjoyable ride. It is. Even funny, heartwarming, and eye-poppingly fascinating most of the time. But when the tale of boy and robot transitions to one of crime-fighting superheroes in its second half, most of the story’s spark is dampened.

When we first meet Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter) he’s a misguided child-prodigy living with his college-aged brother Tadashi (voiced by Daniel Henney) above their Aunt Cass’s (Maya Rudolph) cafe in the fictitious city of San Fransokyo, a curiously-imagined mash-up of San Francisco and Tokyo. Hiro wastes most of his days on back alley bot fights until his brother convinces him to apply for admission at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology he attends. Hiro is skeptical until he sees the school’s creative spirit in action which inspires him to enroll.

But a devastating accident befalls the University and launches Hiro into a depression that is soon recognized by his late brother’s robotic creation named Baymax, a marshmallow-like inflatable “personal health care companion”  designed to take care of humans after scanning their vital signs. The two forge an inseparable bond that reminds of the relationship between Hogarth and and the robot in 1999’s The Iron Giant. And like in that film, their relationship becomes the core of the story. Together Hiro and Baymax are eventually forced to learn the identity of a mysterious villain who has stolen Hiro’s invention of mind-controlled microbots that are being used for nefarious purposes.

To take on the villainous figure in the kabuki mask, Hiro re-programs Baymax with martial arts ability and transforms him into a carbon-fiber-clad fighting machine alongside his quartet of comic-book inspired science-nerds-turned-goofy-superheroes who employ an assorted arsenal of valuable superpowers. There’s Wasabi (Damon Wayans), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), GoGo (Jamie Chung), Fred (T.J. Miller) and of course Baymax whose newfound superpowers play nicely against his naive childlike persona. Much humor is mined from Baymax’s innocent vision of the world.

As the film enters its latter half, the action ramps up with the story’s super-hero aspect taking center stage. The stunning flight sequences, and ground-breaking 3D animation are truly spectacular, but thankfully the screenwriters, led by longtime Disney scribe and co-director Don Hall (The Emperor's New Groove, The Princess and the Frog, and Tarzan), keep that Disney magic alive by infusing their story with plenty of heart and emotion – essential ingredients in every successful Disney movie.

From the conglomerated name of the story’s setting, to its man-coming-together-with-machine backstory,  there’s a consistently present mash-up mentality which shows a much welcomed sense of cohesion and second-level thought - an appreciated nod to the Disney/Marvel mash-up itself. And in the omnipresent Disney nature of inclusivenes, cultural diversity plays a significant role as Hiro and Tadashi appear to be of Japanese heritage along with much of the Japan-inspired architecture, including a pagoda-topped version of the famed Golden Gate bridge to which we’re treated a truly breathtaking 3D fly-through upon Baymax’s jet-packed back.

Where Big Hero 6 falls short in originality (owing debt to many that have come before – The Iron Giant, Pokémon, Scooby-Doo, Frozen, Ghostbusters, The Incredibles, and even E.T.), it more than makes up for in size of heart and depth of human emotion. Audiences are sure to fall in love with its fluffy main character and his funny, child-like shenanigans. I can see it now - Baymax action figures flying off Holiday shelves.

Big Hero 6 - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements..
Runtime:
108 mins
Director
: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Writer:
Don Hall, Jordan Roberts
Cast:
Voices of Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung
Genre
: Action | Adventure | Family
Tagline:
Big Hero 6
Memorable Movie Quote: "Mind if I let out a little air?"
Distributor:
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Official Site: http://movies.disney.com/big-hero-6/
Release Date:
November 7, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available
Synopsis: From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes Big Hero 6, an action comedy adventure about brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action and all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the CG-animated “Big Hero 6” hits theaters in 3D on November 7, 2014.

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