The latest animated feature from Disney, “Big Hero 6,” is a fast-paced, visually rich 3-D computer animated feature that is a clever reflection of the world we live in today with lessons we can use to build a better tomorrow. Just like in “Frozen,” Walt Disney’s animators rise to the task and deliver a wonderful story, with complex characters, that is both unique and uniquely Disney at the same time.
At the center of Big Hero 6 is a boy named Hiro Hamada. Hiro and his older brother have both experienced a lot of loss in their life, and they’re each dealing with it in different ways. Tadashi, the older brother, is applying himself in school, while Hiro is using his robotic skills to win in the underground robot fights. A series of circumstances drives Hiro to finally apply himself and, with the help of friends, overcome great odds to deliver justice.
Based on a Marvel comic book, Big Hero 6 is Disney’s first super hero animated feature. But in this case the heroes are all scientists, nerds, and geeks. Which I think is a great model for kids today. In the movie STEM is front and center as being important focus of learning. That’s definitely new from Disney too.
The movie is set in the fictional town of San Fransokyo, but as the name suggests it looks as if San Francisco and Tokyo had a baby. The overall design also lends itself to a slight, kawaii-Japanese animation feel. The animators have packed so much detail into the cityscape that you can probably see the movie numerous times and not see it all.
I’ve gotten this far into the review and haven’t mentioned the one character who has been a focus on Disney’s marketing for the movie. That’s Baymax. He’s essentially a giant robot version of Jiminy Cricket, if Jiminy had Kung Fu skills and rocket thrusters.
Baymax is a health care companion designed to continue giving care until one is satisfied with the care received. The character design on Baymax is genius. He’s a fluffy white marshmallow, designed to be soft and approachable when someone needs help, but Hiro outfits him in armor and he becomes the perfect super hero companion too. He’s guaranteed to sell a few container ships worth of merchandise for Disney.
The rest of the cast rounds out the story with some much needed talent and a lot of diversity. In fact, Big Hero 6 is one of the most diverse Disney films ever. Hiro is biracial (Japanese and white). His friends represent a wide spectrum of races and colors as well. But it’s also nice that the characters are not defined by race, but rather by what they can do when they apply themselves and solve problems together.
Disney definitely got the future right in Big Hero 6. We can solve a lot of the world’s problems with technology, but it won’t do any good if we don’t use our judgement as well.
Like many of Disney’s films, there are a few scenes that really pack an emotional punch. In one scene there are definite echos of The Lion King, Bambi, and Dumbo. Be on your guard, and be prepared to answer questions from young ones as well.
My advice is to go see the movie in 3D on the largest screen possible. Try to sit in the row where the screen takes up the entire frame of your glasses. There’s a lot of detail to take in and you don’t want to miss any by being either too close or too far away.
Before you go, be sure to arrive early enough to view Disney’s “Feast.” It’s a new short that should be playing before the feature. It uses some of the same technology Disney used in Paperman and again, has a somewhat similar story (love and a relationship), but instead of planes, there’s a dog and food. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s very cute.
Finally, if you buy your tickets in advance via this Fandango link, a small percentage will go to help The Disney Blog. Thank you.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Be sure to stay for the post-credits scene. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s this character’s best role yet!