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Big Hero 6 (2014) review

Updated on January 21, 2015
Movie poster of Big Hero 6
Movie poster of Big Hero 6 | Source

Apart from watching the advertisement for this film while casually watching YouTube videos, I literally had no background knowledge of this film and no expectations prior to watching it in the cinema. Due to this, the action comedy animated film ‘Big Hero 6’ (2014) really surprised me in a good way. The vibrant and fast-paced setting combined with detailed character designs really conveys how far animation has come since the first 3-D computer animation film Toy Story was released in 1995. Using the Marvel comics’ version of the same name as inspiration, Walt Disney directors Don Hall and Chris Williams are able to adapt it and produce a film that combines the thrilling emotions of an action film while adding elements of genuine humour and sorrow at the same time.

Synopsis

Situated in a futuristic setting called San Fransokyo, the plot revolves around a 13 year old genius called Hiro Hamada (Nate Potter). He’s a robotics enthusiast who spends his spare time involving himself in illegal robots fights in order to gain money for personal use. His big brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) is concerned that he’s not putting his brilliant mind to good use thus he attempts to guide Hiro into pointing him in the right direction. However along his journey, Hiro is involved in a tragedy in San Fransokyo which results in him being stuck with his brother’s robot Baymax (Scott Adist). As Hiros bond with Baymax grows, he then teams up with a bunch of friends in order to apprehend a masked villain lurking the city that might just be linked to the horrific tragedy.

*spoilers ahead, read with caution*

Analysis and Opinion

What all recent successful Disney films such as Frozen and Wreck-It-Ralph have in common is their ability to engage its audience by influencing certain emotions throughout the whole film. This is done through well-placed and crafted instrumentals in conjunction with the animated scenes. This aspect was the films biggest strength for it made sad scenes have a much bigger impact on your emotions and caused actions scenes to have a stronger sense of urgency and excitement. Thus it helps in immersing yourself into the film and become more engaged with the characters in the film. Although the use of sound is used in all films, I do feel that Disney does it the best. The car chase scene with masked villain is one example for it utilise high tempo sounds such as instruments from the string, percussion and brass family to influence your heartbeat to rise which causes you to feel excited and anxious.

The characters in the film is what also intrigued me the most about this film especially the main characters whom are Hiro and Baymax. Despite Hiro being perceived as an intelligent individual for such a young age, he was still able convey the true nature of a kid. This is shown through his tendency to make decision that is influenced by emotions rather than clear thought. An example is when he tries to apprehend the masked villain the first time at the docks with Baymax. What led to this decision was his emotional desire and curiosity to find out how the masked villain is linked towards the tragedy. However this failed miserably due to a lack of awareness of the villain’s capabilities and proper preparations. He also wastes his potential of his genius mind by using his time in making robots and using them in illegal robots fight. This character develops nicely with the guidance of his brother and group of friends to a point where he makes decision with thought and his intelligence instead of emotions driven by the tragedy. This is evident at the end of the film for he was instrumental in apprehending the villain at the end of the film.

Hiro and his friends
Hiro and his friends | Source

Baymax who is the robotic companion of Hiro is the character I adored the most. His character design is completely different from the Marvel version as it has a rounder body shape and kind of resembles a balloon-shaped panda. This design provides a non-threatening and cuddly nature which makes it more appealing to younger ages. This is further strengthened by the soft tone of Baymax’s voice acting which complimented his cuddly nature. The script for Baymax was great for it created several humourous and memorable moments. My personal favourite Baymax moment was the one where he fist bumps Baymax and says ‘Bla-la-la-la’. All these factors combined is what I feel makes Baymax one of the most captivating animated characters of 2014. The supporting actors whom are Hiro’s friends were great despite their cliché personalities and while they didn’t stand out, their interaction with each other is what made the film much more entertaining. Another strength of this film is the setting. The Disney graphics and arts team did an impressive job in creating an original setting that combines several influences from eastern culture of Tokyo and western culture of San Francisco. These influences include the iconic landmarks of San Francisco such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Japanese aesthetics of Tokyo. This setting provided a fast-paced, lively atmosphere which was suitable for this film.

Baymax and Hiro
Baymax and Hiro | Source

Despite the strengths of this film, there are a few flaws that stop the film from being phenomenal. One flaw is the repetitiveness of memorable phrases or moments such as Baymax’s signature fist bump. I wouldn't mind if they repeated it once for it serves as a reminder of that memorable moment. However to repeat it more than once felt really forced and significantly decreased the impact I felt during the first time. The story itself was another flaw for it was very predictable. I also felt the story lost its direction in the latter part of the film especially when the masked villain was introduced and his motive for the tragedy was revealed. For it started to lean towards the heroic theme and focus on stopping the masked villain from completing its mission instead of keeping on direction with the theme of coping with loss.

Big Hero 6 overall is still a great and enjoyable family film with a great combination of humour, action and sorrow that is suitable for all ages and genders. As both directors were able to provide another high quality Disney film and its first collaboration with Marvel that explores the journey of an individual’s coping with tragedy and how one may overcome it. It presents great and likeable characters including Baymax whom I’m sure will become an ironic Disney character for a long time. Be sure to rate this film down below and check my other reviews or character analysis of films on my hubpage in the top right corner of this article.

Summary

What I liked:

  • The ability to place well-crafted instrumentals in the animated scenes which strongly heighten the emotions they were trying to convey towards the audience.

  • Supporting characters were great despite having cliché personalities for their interactions with each other made the film much more humourous.

  • Loved the setting for its originality and lively atmosphere which was suitable
    for the film.

What I hated

  • The story was quite predictable and lost its direction towards the end of the film.
  • Repetitiveness of memorable moments or phrases weakened its impact thus making it feel forced.

Rating: 4.0/5

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Trailer

© 2015 Jason C.

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