Big Hero 6 is the first love child born of the Disney-Marvel coupling of 2009. The animated film is based on the 1998 Marvel comics characters created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau (co- founders of Man of Action, also known for the Ben 10 TV series.) Whereas the original team is ensconced within the Marvel Universe, touting former team members such as Sunfire and Silver Samurai, their cinematic counterparts are separate from Earth 616 and Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Big Hero 6 has been thoroughly Disney-fied however; Baymax goes from a hulking, brutish bodyguard in the form of a mecha or dragon (depending on his mood, I guess) to the adorable marshmallow waving at you from billboards.
Cast Roll Call!
- Tadashi Hamada, (Daniel Henney; Agent Zero in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) created Baymax to serve as a healthcare provider. His little brother is…
- Hiro Hamada, (Ryan Potter; Mike Fukanaga in Supah Ninjas) a 14-year-old robotics prodigy. His brother Tadashi inspires him to join the Institute of Technology where he meets…
- Honey Lemon (Génesis Rodríguez; Ally Leon in Tusk), the resident chemistry whiz with the mischievous twinkle in her eye. She’s the heart of the team which provides the contrast to…
- GoGo Tomago, (Jamie Chung; Miho in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) tough and athletic, takes charge in dangerous situations and reminds everyone to “woman-up”, especially…
- Wasabi (Damon Wayans, Jr. Coach on New Girl) the conservative, cautious one who points out that what they’re doing is actually crazy. He provides the comic relief along with…
- Fred (T. J. Miller; Tuffnut in How to Train Your Dragon)) a comic-book and Kaiju (monster movie) fan who also is the mascot at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. He just hangs out in the lab but there is more to him than what is initially apparent. And finally..,
- Baymax, (Scott Adsit; Pete Hornberger on 30 Rock) the caregiver robot created by Tadashi. He sees Hiro as his patient. It’s a special relationship that is at the heart of the story. Since his responses are programmed, just like Siri, he doesn’t have emotions per se. But he’s able to pull these emotions out of the audience, thanks to Scott Adsit’s performance, the direction from Don Hall and Chris Williams and the animation team.
Other characters include:
- Aunt Cass, (Maya Rudolph; Saturday Night Live) Hiro and Tadashi’s aunt, they live above the bakery and coffee shop she owns.
- Professor Robert Callaghan, (James Cromwell; Captain Stacy in Spider-Man 3) Tadashi’s professor and the head of the robotics program at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology.
- Alistair Krei, (Alan Tudyk; Hoban ” Wash” Washburn, Firefly) owner of the technology company, Krei Tech.
And of course every hero needs a great villain
- Yokai, (Charles Adler; The voice of Dr. Doom on the Superhero Squad Show) the name means “spirit” or “phantom” in Japanese. He uses another of Hiro’s inventions for evil, nefarious purposes. This prompts Hiro to form Big Hero 6 with his fellow nerds in order to bring him to justice.
The movie does follow Disney’s tried and true story formula; loss of a family member, rediscovery of the meaning of friendship or family, finding oneself through family and friends. This is not a bad thing. Emotional drama is the kind of thing that Disney does best. I fall for it every time. Every. Time. I’m cheering and laughing one minute and crying the next. Just like I did in Lion King, Toy Story, Wreck it Ralph and Iron Giant ( I know Iron Giant is not a Disney film but they followed the same formula. Besides, there are some similar story elements between the two that I couldn’t ignore.)
(Yes we know The Iron Giant isn’t a Disney film but it is a perfect example of the formula and a personal favorite of ours! Chuck – sappy editor monkey)
Visually, this is the most impressive looking computer animated film from Disney to date. Your eyes will be blown out of their sockets in the first opening shots as the camera flies over the city of San Fransokyo. Don’t forget to collect your eyeballs again for the “Hiro-and-Baymax-fly-over-the-city” scene, and for the chase scene…and for the fight scenes. OK, every frame is mind-bogglingly stunning.
Disney used state of the art software like Denizen to populate the city and developed a new in-house software program named Hyperion to render each frame with luminescence like never before. It’s immediately apparent how it makes things look more realistic by creating indirect light sources. It’s not something the casual movie goer thought was needed in animated films (“y’know Frozen would have been so much better if only the snow reflected off of Kristoff’s chin more luminescently” overheard at the movies never) but from what I hear it is a game changer.
If this is the first result of Disney delving into Marvel’s deep, deep, character catalog, then this movie alone was worth the price Disney paid for Marvel (and a nice dividend for me as a Marvel stockholder in 2009)
Story? Formulaic, but it works! Remember when Coke tried to change their formula? Ok then!
Visually? Stunning, you’ve never seen anything like this before!
Funny? Yes! They studied penguins to figure out how Baymax walked and ran. Penguins are the funniest animals on the planet.
Action? Totally! It is based on a comic book created by Man of Action after all (it’s in their name.)
Kid friendly? Are you kidding me? It’s Disney and the main character is a robot marshmallow nurse.
One more thing;
Stay for the Easter Egg
Big Hero Six opens November 7th on a screen near you, check local listings for theaters and times.