Animation, Reviews

Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6

Copyright © 2014 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

A child prodigy in robotics, Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) frequently participates in illegal robot duels and his older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney) is troubled by his sibling’s actions. He takes Hiro to his university and introduces him to his friends and creation, Baymax (Scott Adsit), a personal healthcare companion hoping that the skilled inventor will enroll there as well. For his entry project, Hiro’s originality amazes Professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell) and is accepted instantaneously. The good news is short-lived as his project thought to be lost in the fire is actually stolen by a masked fender bent on seeking revenge for a personal loss. With Baymax, Go Go Tomago (Jamie Chung), Fred (T.J. Miller), Wasabi (Damon Wayans, Jr), and Honey Lemon (Génesis Rodríguez) by his side, Hiro must now save San Fransokyo from obliteration.

Can Disney and Marvel go any wrong? I am quite sure this is not one of them. A helluva year for comics realised by a returning pioneer (Bryan Singer) and indie favourites (the Russo brothers and James Gunn) whose combined efforts amassed a whopping $2.3 billion during their run in the cinemas. Animation has less to cheer about. Known properties underwhelmed in global takings (‘Mr Peabody & Sherman’) and did not impress critics (‘Rio 2’ and ‘Penguins of Madagascar’).

Only two survived the onslaught in the overcrowded roster; ‘The Lego Movie’ and ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ which looks poise on nabbing the third Oscar for DreamWorks Animation in the ‘Best Animated Feature’ category after the former has been shut out of the race (sniff sniff). Unite both genres together, hey presto, ‘Big Hero 6’ is the unique blend for unparalleled potency (in itself is a literally unparagoned synthesis of East meets West).

Ever since John Lasseter is lassoed back in, Disney’s own productions have gone from strength to strength (‘Meet the Robinsons’, ‘Bolt’, ‘The Princess and the Frog’ and ‘Winnie the Pooh’ are underrated picks but no less whimsical than their recent behemoth successors of ‘Tangled’, ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ and ‘Frozen’). It is pretty daunting considering the Ice Queen from Arendelle took the world by storm and just could not let it go from her snowy grasp.

But Lasseter has done it again. Yes, the visuals are gorgeous, the action is rousing enough not to irk concerned parents and it is yet another origins tale for the umpteenth time. As with the retro-influenced ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, what distinguishes it from plunging into mediocrity is a humourously-plotted script boosted by a huggable health attendant-turned-crime fighter (Adsit at his most endearing steers the movie in its breakneck pacing with the right dose of warmth).

The mystery surrounding the passing of a loved one and the disappearance of Hiro’s invention used for malice is passably engrossing, possibly because there are not many suspected felons to begin with, you do not need a three digit IQ level for the big reveal. For a brief instance though, it would appear that the tale may go into darker territories but is held back by messages of forgiveness, familial ties and friendship. The perpetrator’s motivations echo these sentiments (a box of Kleenex nearby can come in handy).

If that is not enough, the loss of a comrade will temporarily overload the senses with grief and despondency, simply as a means to neutralise the comicality power-packed in the first half of the fable. Henney and Potter are commanding as the leader and leader-to-be whereas Miller’s daffy appeal becomes increasingly textured as the narration advances (do not miss the post-credits scene for more Fred and his dad).

However, nothing can compare to Baymax’s sweet and caring disposition. A calmer version of C-3PO, he will have you rooting for in any sticky situation. He is the kind of buddy you would want around as the city falls apart and when the healing commences, he will be with you through thick and thin. A sublime embodiment of Wall-E and Optimus Prime, I am undoubtedly satisfied with my care. You should be too.

Entirety: A-
Acting (Voice): A-
Plot: B+

Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements