Despite coming from Disney Feature Animation, for me, this one had a feel of DreamWorks Animation with shades of Pixar. That’s Producer and Disney Animation guiding star, John Lasseter’s influence. Still, taken as it is, Big Hero 6 manages to pull off the impossible by putting on a Superhero Team origin story while playing with the smaller and more intimate hero’s journey of lead character, Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter).
Hiro is a young genius who finds himself thrown into unusual circumstances that leads him to create the titular team. At no point do they refer to themselves as such. We’re introduced to Hiro and his also genius brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), from the get go and then we spend much of the opening act getting to know them fairly intimately. Their bond is key to the overall plot. I’m not going to give to much away in this case and suggest you take the chance to let the story flow and embrace you, much like Baymax (Scott Adsit), Tadashi’s robot creation.
Some may make the comparison of Baymax/Hiro to Toothless/Hiccup in DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon, and therein lay my cross-company reference. Even the way Hiro gets his team together and their initial antics; it is the stuff of super-hero comics, and no surprise that the source is a Marvel mini-series even though the Marvel logo does not appear during the credits. However, if you are a Marvel fan, sharp eyed viewers may notice a particular cameo midway through the movie, and you may want to sit through the credits.
The overall design of the world is truly amazing, the mixture of architectural structures that combine Eastern and Western influences truly bring San Fransokyo to vibrant life. Add to that the numerous characters and their costume designs, with the lighting and cinematography, and we have a visual feast. The flow of the story itself may test the patience of some children for the first half, and the complex emotional story of the second half may confuse them as well. In which case, this is not a movie that panders to the kids. Again, my thoughts go back to DreamWorks and their animated features that don’t aim for the younger viewers. There is a complexity in Hiro’s journey and the science fiction elements involved. Even Baymax makes scientific sense to a certain extent, not to mention the inventions of of Tadashi’s colleagues. Those are fun stuff.
Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams manage to pull everything together to give us a credible nemesis with a logical motive for his actions, and having it tied to Hiro’s own experiences. The action itself is geographically logical and some are ingeniously structured. The music by Henry Jackman pulses with energy and emotion to drive the story. The humour works incredibly well with Baymax stealing every scene he’s in, which should delight the young ‘uns. If anything, it’s the supporting characters who get short-changed as their introductions are short and their appearances mainly serve Hiro’s tale. Their idiosyncrasies do shine through in their brief screen time, enough to really appreciate them.
At best, do try to go for the 3D screening. The design within the movie accommodates that remarkably well and the final act pushes the 3D effects to the limit. The movie is very enjoyable and worthy of being a part of the Marvel movie landscape, even if it’s not officially a Marvel movie. Disney Animation may be giving Pixar a run for its money here.
Stars (vocally): Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, TJ Miller, Jaime Chung, Genseis Rodriguez, Damon Wayans Jr., Daniel Henney with James Cromwell, Maya Rudolph and Alan Tudyk
Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams
Big Hero 6 is now showing in all major theaters in Malaysia.
You might also want to read: