Disney proves they still have it with “Big Hero 6”

Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures
Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

“Big Hero 6” is the latest film from Walt Disney Animation Studios and it doesn’t disappoint: It’s a fun, action-packed film with a comedic edge but also contains some surprising depth and heavy emotional scenes. It’s fun for everyone regardless of age or gender, which fits right in with the Disney formula for their good movies. “Big Hero 6” may not be a revolutionary or groundbreaking film from Disney, but it’s still a solid, entertaining movie from start to finish.

The story is actually so heavily packed, it’s pretty hard to sum up the whole plot in a couple of sentences. We meet our hero, aptly named Hiro Hamada, who is a young teenage technological prodigy. Rather than go the college route, he chooses to use his knowledge in robotics to engage in illegal robot fighting. But his money-making schemes are cut short as he uncovers a villain utilizing his stolen technology. With the help of his friends GoGo, Honey Lemon, Fred and Wasabi and also Baymax, his brother’s helpful robot, he takes on this villain and discovers his true potential along the way. And this is just the bare plot. There are so many important events that transpire and affect Hiro’s life and shape this story that can’t be fit into a quick synopsis. Overall the story is full of heart, and although a bit predictable and cliche, still really an enjoyable watch.

One element that did surprise me about the movie was how much comedy there was. There are plenty of jokes that fall flat and predictable animation gimmicks. (Especially that one scene that’s in every Pixar movie where a character does something slow and funny while the others stare at them dumbfounded. Think of Russell sliding across the window in “Up.”) However, there are some legitimately funny moments as well. Comedic relief resides mostly with Fred and Baymax. Fred, the closest thing to a stoner in a Disney movie besides Crush the turtle from “Finding Nemo,” is a big geek and his obsession with anything comic-related is surprisingly funny.

And although Hiro may be the protagonist, Baymax steals the show. For an adorable marshmallow-looking “emotionless” robot, not only does Baymax provide most of the comedy in the film, he surprisingly is the one to bring the most emotion to the film as well without being the typical “this robot is growing feelings.” It’s pretty good writing to have a consistent emotionless robot bring so much feeling to the film. The other three are entertaining as well, providing humor and chemistry that meld them into a great superhero team. Watching them fight and make wisecracks, it almost felt like a junior “Avengers” or “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Although the story isn’t anything new or groundbreaking, this movie does offer some of the most amazing, atmospheric animation that Disney has probably ever done. Not only is it beautiful, but it is inventive and imaginative, which is everything the film stands for. The fictional city of San Fransokyo is a seamless blend of the two cities it’s modeled after, where old architecture and trolleys meet sleek trains and towering skyscrapers. There is so much detail put into this setting, it feels like a place one can hop on a plane to visit. Not only that, but this imagery lends to one of the most creative villains I’ve seen in a Disney film. Sure, his tragic backstory may be a dime a dozen, but this villain uses nanobots to travel around and utilize as weapons, which is a first for a Disney villain.

Overall, this movie meets the a good family film criteria by keeping both kids and adults interested. It’s not only a fun film, but it’s also a bit inspiring, trying to instill a love for technology and science in everyone. And it succeeds by capturing us in this almost possible world filled with fantastic inventions. Disney applied their winning formula to “Big Hero 6” and got it right.

Rating: 4 stars

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