Oh to be a child, again . . .
This time last year (if you’re in the UK, at least), we had The Lego Movie, now we’ve got Big Hero 6; another joyously frenetic celebration of creativity.
Inspired by the little-known Marvel superhero team of the same name, Big Hero 6 opens with Hiro (Ryan Potter), a fourteen year-old engineering genius, wasting his supreme talents on underground robot fighting. However, his older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), soon opens his eyes to the wonders of the robotics lab at the San Fransokyo (a glorious architectural mash-up of two of the world’s great cities) Institute of Technology. Cue a major personal tragedy for Hiro, and he’s inspired to continue Tadashi’s work on his pet project, the disarmingly adorable healthcare bot, Baymax. However, that work soon takes a turn for the serious as an unknown masked supervillain rises from the ashes.
And plot-wise, there’s not a great deal to shout about. If anything, the villainy all gets a bit Scooby-Doo come the big reveal. But, boy does ‘Big Hero 6’ stand tall in other departments.
For starters can we all take a minute to revel at the glorious comic creation that is Baymax. You’ve probably seen his inflatable marshmallow face adorning a billboard or two somewhere along the line, but nothing will prepare you for the brilliance of Hiro’s Scott Adsit-voiced companion. He’s simply delightful!
Many of the film’s finest moments stem from Baymax’s incredible physical comedy. His accuracy of movement is sublimely well-realised and the technical firepower necessary to generate and animate his substantial frame is truly mind-boggling. But, with the same anti-depressant quality of a new-born baby, the over-riding feeling is one of love.
And, it’s important they got Baymax right because, at its heart, Big Hero 6 is a movie about a boy and his robot. It touches on the joys of companionship, and tempers that overwhelming positivity with questions of loss and deeply-ingrained sorrow. It’s a very well-handled balance, but the sheer intensity of emotion may alienate the youngest audience members. But how heart-warming it is to see a family movie dealing with those themes in such a mature way.
In true 21st century superhero fashion, Hiro and his team take on the big bad in a gorgeously-rendered, but destructive, finale. This, again, may prove overwhelming for younger viewers, but it’s an impressively-mounted sequence, with moments of real visual flare.
In fact, the entirety of San Fransokyo is a wonder to behold. Word has it that the inspiration for the design of the city came from an alternative universe in which Japanese immigrants played a large role in the rebuilding process after the infamous 1906 earthquake. It’s an architectural marvel and downright gorgeous to look at, and my only complaint was that we didn’t get to explore all that much of it. But, who knows? Money talks and it may not be all that long until we see these characters again . . .
While not quite matching the near-perfection of The Lego Movie, Big Hero 6 is a welcome reaction to the inaccessibility of the latest batch of (admittedly high-quality) superhero movies for the youngest audiences. While it may not feature the complex genre deconstruction of ‘The Incredibles’, Disney Animation’s latest effort is a deeply moving tale of man and robot.
And, I can’t tell you how pleased I am that we have yet another movie (after The Lego Movie, and Minecraft and the like) celebrating creativity, inspiration and creation. Go built a robot, kids, you never know where it might take you . . .
Big Hero 6 is out now on DVD!
Big Hero 6 is out now on DVD!