If you haven’t seen Big Hero 6 yet, you either are lazy or you need to read this review so you know why it’s worth seeing, because it really is a great movie. As always, I’ll try to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, so that you can enjoy Big Hero 6 in all its magnificence for yourself.
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Big Hero 6 is the best movie I seen so far this year. It was also the first movie I saw this year, when my family and I upheld our (some would say questionable) tradition of seeing a movie on New Year’s Day.
More meaningfully, it’s probably my most anticipated movie of 2014. I’d been looking forward to seeing Big Hero 6 ever since I heard about it. It just had everything going for it:
- It’s based on a Marvel comic
- It’s a Disney movie
- It about two brothers
- It’s about science and technology
- It’s set in a combination of two interesting places, San Francisco and Tokyo.
- It’s a comedy
- It’s a mystery
- It’s a super hero movie
- Stan Lee has a cameo
What’s not to love? And I’m happy to report it lived up to all of these expectations and more.
The story is basically about Hiro, a kid genius who isn’t really making much of himself. His big brother Tadashi inspires him to start working hard when he introduces Hiro to his friends from the university where Tadashi is studying, and is in the process of building a robot called Baymax. Without spoiling anything, Hiro ends up spending a lot of time with Baymax and Tadashi’s friends and uses his knowledge and skills to turn them all into science-powered super heroes.
The film started out a bit slow, while they were trying to establish the relationship between Hiro and Tadashi. It’s such a well-realised, warm, playful relationship. It felt believable and realistic, and it made me think of the relationship I have with my own little brother. I could see elements of us reflected in Tadashi and Hiro, and it made me want to hang out with him more. The slowness is also used to establish Hiro’s brilliance as a scientist and engineer. They really want to make clear that Hiro’s not just an ordinary kid. Although, in some ways, I kind of think it would’ve been better if he was.
It’s so great to see a big-budget film that’s mainly aimed at children, that encourages and champions science, technology, engineering and those who strive to master them. None of the characters are made out to be magic or geniuses, except for Hiro who’s incredibly smart for his age. They’re all achievable models who’ve gotten where they are through determination and hard work. And although some of the science and technology in Big Hero 6 seems a bit mystical at points, apparently, a lot of it is based on real technology currently in research or theorised concepts.
The fact that this is a Marvel movie (or at least partly based on a Marvel comic) is evidenced by the appearance of Stan Lee, both visibly and vocally, despite the fact that Big Hero 6 is one of the few Marvel IPs that Stan Lee had absolutely no involvement with. Speaking of cameos, there’s a cool Back To The Future reference in one scene at a Science Fair, where a person is shown in the background trying to demonstrate Dr Emmett Brown’s mind-reading helmet from the first movie. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though. There are tonnes of other references to other Disney movies, particularly Wreck It Ralph, scattered all over Big Hero 6. This is something that Pixar has been doing since the beginning, and it’s nice to see it’s another tradition that Disney Animation has adopted.
I really loved the design of the city of San Fransokyo, with such a beautiful mix of traditional San Francisco architecture and both traditional and modern Japanese design. It makes the setting convincingly alien, yet recognisably familiar. The level of detail that has been put in is incredible.
Another thing I enjoyed was the way Honey Lemon pronounced all the Japanese words and names with that cautious, classic over-emphasis of someone whose not a native speaker, but has a high respect for the language all the same.
That’s not to say that the movie was faultless. Although, everything I have to pick at is pretty minor. One thing that struck me as I was thinking about the film later was that, everyone within Tadashi’s friend group is given a nickname by Fred. Everyone, except Tadashi (and Fred, obviously). Why does Tadashi miss out? Fred not having a nickname sort of makes sense because he’s the one that makes them up, but there’s no reason why Tadashi wouldn’t have a nickname.
The plot is pretty solid with a few twists; some of which I saw a mile away, while others were more surprising. It’s hard to say much more because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’ll try anyway. The way the bad guy acts in the end (actually throughout the whole movie, in fact) really didn’t make any sense to me once their identity was revealed. It just doesn’t match with their earlier-established character, and left them feeling unrealistic and illogical.
Baymax is full of hilarious lines that I’m sure will be quotes hundreds and thousands of times by me and my brother. Some jokes had the whole cinema in roars of laughter. That said, I felt that a bit too much time was spent on just Hiro and Baymax. There were quite a few characters in this movie, and they really didn’t get to do, let alone say, all that much. This was particularly true for Gogo, who has about 5 lines in the whole movie. But those few lines intrigued me enough that I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see and hear more of this character. I feel like there’s probably some really awesome deleted scenes out there that would fill out some of those gaps, not just for Gogo but for many other characters. Either that, or they’re leaving room for sequels and spin-offs.
Overall, I really loved Big Hero 6, and I really couldn’t recommend it more highly. It’s an astoundingly enjoyable romp of technological, sci-fi super hero brilliance. It’s nice to see Disney pumping out such good movies, and I hope it continues this way (and not just in the form of sequels).
Have you seen Big Hero 6? Have your read any of the original comics? What did you think? Did it live up to your expectations? Have I said anything you disagree with? Tell me & everyone else who passes through here what you think in the comments below, or on Facebook.
To Infinity and Beyond,