********* 7 out of 10 *********
Director: Don Hall & Chris Williams
Actors: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit
Walt Disney Animation Studios has grown considerably under the expert stewardship of John Lasseter over the past few years. Last year’s Frozen became the biggest box-officer earner in Hollywood amongst the movies released in 2013, and even prior to the icy night in Arendelle, the likes of Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled had done their bit in bringing back Disney in the midst of the giants of animation. These movies have had a very strong emotional theme running through them which binds the movie strongly with the audience, something that the Disney bought Pixar Animation Studios itself is a master at. It isn’t about creating a movie for the children alone anymore, but for anyone who will love the world of colours and an adventure within it. Disney has now borrowed material from the other big brand it had acquired in 2009, Marvel, and in a similar theme to its recent works, it has created an emotionally rich adventure, Big Hero 6.
Big Hero 6 is set in a futuristic hybrid metropolis called San Fransokyo where a young teenager, Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), lives with his elder brother, Tadashi Hamada, and their aunt. Hiro is a science nerd, just like his brother, though enjoys using his potential in winning robot fights rather than doing something of more value. One day, Tadashi takes Hiro to the science laboratory of his university, introduces him to his friends, and reveals his science project – a personal healthcare robot called Baymax (Scott Adsit). Hiro is taken up by the enthusiasm and the creativity flowing through the lab and decides to enrol into the university. A tragedy however changes the course of Hiro’s path, and all of a sudden he finds himself in the mix of things which are more dangerous than he had initially imagined. Hiro along with Baymax and Tadashi’s friends now have to battle a supervillain and unravel his sinister plan, while at the same time, Hiro has to learn to deal with his own personal pain and angst.
Big Hero 6 is a bright and largely colourful film in the same vein as other Disney animated flicks, which is a treat to the eyes, especially at a time when animated flicks are also going a bit ‘dark’. The animation work itself is a visual feast to enjoy, right from the design of the futuristic San Fransokyo to the depictions of the characters, along with the touch of anime which has been neatly done. The movie has a fast pace which creates the kind of adventure that you look for in a Marvel comic based film nowadays, and the action sequences and chase scenes are expertly done. Directors Chris Williams and Don Hall have both been involved in Disney projects in the studio’s ‘revival period’, with Bolt (2008) and Winnie the Pooh (2011) respectively, and so it ain’t a surprise as to the mix of emotion and adventure that they were aiming for with Big Hero 6.
Where the movie does fall off the pace a bit is in terms of keeping a common thread within the story. It rather comes across as a combination of many episodes, each spectacular in its own right, but not making the final sum greater than the total of its parts. Hiro’s loss and his coping mechanism get understated whereas it could have been the driving theme for the movie. The growing bond between Hiro and the robot Baymax is endearing though and acts as the highlight of the movie. Young actor Ryan Potter and 30 Rock‘s Scott Adsit lend their voices to these characters, and bring more life to the movie. Ryan Potter masters the different emotions that Hiro has to face through the course of the movie, while Adsit’s comic timing is sure to make Baymax as lovable a character as Olaf in Frozen. The rest of the cast match up well, with a mix of nerdiness and fun, and again, lots of bright colours.
Big Hero 6 is a thoroughly enjoyable film which will warm your heart and make you cheer for the new group of superheroes. But it won’t captivate you as Frozen, nor will it positively surprise you as Wreck-It Ralph. Disney’s own growing standards may put Big Hero 6 a tad behind, though that should not stop you from doing the one thing you wish for when you enter the cinema hall… get entertained!