Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Big Hero 6

Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) is a young robotics genius who competes in illegal robot fights with his small but successful robot. When his brother takes him to the robotics lab at his University, many people show interest in his new inventions, but a fire breaks out resulting in Tadashi's death. Stricken with grief, Hiro is cheered up only by Baymax (Scott Adsit); an inflatable robot that his brother invented, who serves as a personal healthcare companion. Soon it becomes evident that the fire at the University was not an accident and Hiro's inventions have been stolen by a masked villain, so Hiro, Baymax and a group of Tadashi's friends form a superhero group to stop the villain before it's too late.

Big Hero 6 is a combination of Disney and Marvel, a collaboration that couldn't possibly have happened any time before now. Even now it's an odd combination, who would have thought you could throw Tangled and The Avengers together, huh? But, against all odds, Big Hero 6 is nothing short of fantastic. Coming off the back of arguably Disney's most successful film to date, Big Hero 6 had a lot of pressure to keep this company at large. Personally I feel Big Hero 6 is far superior to Frozen, but alas I imagine that is not an opinion many will share. However, regardless of preferences, it would be damn hard for anyone of any age to sit down and watch Hiro and Baymax go on their adventure, and not have an absolute blast.

What immediately sets Big Hero 6 away from the pack is its story. Disney productions may always be innovative, but this is a whole new genre for them, giving them a plethora of opportunities to play with. Killing Tadashi so early in the runtime is a bold move, but it pays off. Not only does it strengthen Hiro's character depth but also provides a decent amount of motive to add to the story's credibility. It also benefits from a twist at the end of the middle act that will genuinely surprise you, and such a heavy emotional outcome that you'll just want to revisit these characters over and over. It's quite rare for me to actually wish for sequels, but if Big Hero 6 doesn't become even a small franchise, Disney will be missing out.

Visually, this film is striking. The animation is superb and it's packed with as much colour and visual depth as you'd expect. But this also lends itself to the film's humour, the vast majority of which is visual rather than coming through the dialogue. Baymax is undeniably brilliant, he is as heart-warming as he is hilarious and sublimely designed. If you don't finish the film wanting a Baymax of your own then you probably aren't human. Much like Frozen, this film's comedy lies pretty much with one character. But whilst Frozen's Olaf was introduced far too late in the runtime and ran out of jokes disappointingly fast, Baymax is present almost the entire way through, and never stops being entertaining. Whether he is getting stuck in windows, running out of battery or learning how to fist bump, he's a sheer delight on screen and one of the best animated designs since Toothless.

Speaking of Toothless, actually, Big Hero 6 does offer many similarities to Dreamworks' outstanding How to Train Your Dragon series. Whilst the main comparison is there from the offset (human boy becomes best friends with a non-human thing), more do come along, particularly a brief flight scene that bears countless similarities with the first Dragon film, but also a considerably darker sequence later in the story which, whilst admirably standing on its own two feet, doesn't hit quite as hard as it should due to the tamer outcome than Dragon 2's offering. Big Hero 6 may not be entirely perfect, there's some noticeably clunky exposition near the beginning and the pacing struggles during the middle third, but the film on a whole is so lovably entertaining and so wonderfully enjoyable that you just won't care. This is an absolute blast and one I can't wait to visit time and time again.

To Summarise: Funny, emotional, action-packed and visually stunning, Big Hero 6 represents Disney animation at its very best, offering entertainment for almost any audience imaginable.

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