Phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal. There are no other words to describe it. Let’s just get into it.
Hiro Hamada is a 14 year old genius with a penchant for danger. He spends his days in the alleys of San Fransokyo bot-fighting, much to the chagrin of his older brother, Tadashi. After a tour through San Fransokyo’s Institute of Technology, Hiro decides that his future is much brighter than he originally planned. To get into the school, he creates a revolutionary invention – the microbot – and astounds the world of science. However, his victory is short lived as the building catches fire and Tadashi dies in the subsequent explosion.
The attention to detail is reminiscent of Hayao Miyazaki’s earlier films. They managed to take two vastly different cities – San Francisco and Tokyo – and blend them together into a surreal landscape of unparalleled gorgeousness. Everywhere you look in this film is a sight to behold. It never fails to boggle my mind that a bunch of people can create such detailed artwork with a computer to the point where you can’t even tell if you’re looking at a real photograph or not. It’s a little eerie if you think about it. At which point does animation become… too real?
Disney has long been criticized for their weak female characters and their lack of diversity. It’s apparent that they’ve taken this criticism to heart, as Big Hero 6 embodies everything that we’re trying to instill in our children these days. Science = cool! Girls doing science = cool! Boys doing science = cool! Being a strong and independent girl scientist = cool! Being a feminine and giggly girl scientist = just as cool! While it seems a little less than subtle for us adults, it’s an amazing step forward to giving younger viewers something more substantial and valuable to dream about. Wouldn’t you rather have your kid want to be a scientist than a princess? I know I would.
For those of you who are well rehearsed in your movie-watching, the movie is arguably predictable. The story goes where you think it will go – maybe even exactly where you think it will go – but the thing is, it’s always going. I was surprised at how fluid and fast-paced this movie was. However, the movie falls back on a lot of superhero movie tropes, which I think is this movie’s ultimate disappointment. Whether it was the car chases, the massive destruction that follows, or even the villain who has a sad story to tell, the movie didn’t exactly surprise me in regards to the story, but the characters more than make up for it. Not unlike my experience with Guardians of the Galaxy, another ragtag band of misfits superhero movie that came out this year. It’s just up to you whether you prefer story over character, or character over story.
Speaking of, Hiro Hamada is a refreshing protagonist. He’s not perfect by any means – he’s temperamental and doesn’t always make the right choices – but he’s a surprisingly realistic approach to how a teenage boy deals with a heavy loss and loneliness. And where would he be without his quirky friends? Fred, GoGo, Wasabi, and Honey Lemon each have delightfully entertaining characteristics that made this movie incredibly fun to watch. While you don’t get much in regards to backstory for our co-stars here, the story is ultimately Hiro’s, and it works.
I have no problem admitting that one of the biggest reasons (like, 99%) of my love for this film goes to Baymax – the big, puffy marshmallow robot whose only directive is to be the best healthcare companion for Hiro, something he follows to a fault. He’s slow, naive, and looks like a giant pillow with arms and legs, but underneath that poofy vinyl exterior lies a heart of gold (well, carbon fibre and titanium, but you know what I mean). Though he shares a similar personality to another beloved robot with feelings, Wall-E, Baymax still manages to become a remarkably unique addition to the Disney roster. I mean, come on, just look at him!
I’m a sucker for subtle, physical humor, so I found myself in absolute hysterics every time Baymax tried to walk, let alone do anything else. Watching him try to fist bump Hiro will never cease to delight me. All humor aside, even with just two black dots and a line for a face, Baymax is more human than I feel sometimes. His steadfast attempts to mend Hiro’s broken heart, his endless capacity to forgive, and his selfless desire to protect those around him, make Baymax the absolute star of the movie.
Did you know this was loosely based on the Marvel Comic Big Hero 6? I certainly didn’t. It’s almost frightening how big of a powerhouse Disney and Marvel are now becoming. Every time I see their company logos appear together before a movie, I get a chill inside, knowing that they’re probably going to take over the world someday and we wouldn’t even fight it. But if they keep churning out movies like this, then who am I to complain? This shit is amazing!
As an adult, I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought I would. The story was solid (albeit kind of predictable), the characters were likeable (I’m going to love Baymax until I’m dead), and it was a gorgeous film all around. If I was a kid – and this is ultimately a kids movie (don’t forget) – I would consider this the Holy Grail. I highly recommend it.