Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mini movie review: Big Hero 6

Netflix had a distribution goof and ending up sending me two DVDs at once, 3 Extremes and Big Hero 6.  Last night I rather felt like I needed to see something light and fun, rather than creepy Asian horror, and the animated Disney picture fit the bill.

Based on an obscure Marvel comic (even more obscure than Guardians of the Galaxy), the Disney version of Big Hero 6 follows teenage tech-wiz Hiro who, after kicking serious ass in back-alley robot fights, is convinced by his older brother Tadashi to channel his big brain towards more useful things.  Hiro invents some amazing microbots and everyone is all amazed and happy, until Hiro refuses to sell his invention to a slightly shady tech company.  Shortly thereafter, Tadashi dies in a lab explosion and all Hiro has left of his big brother is Baymax, an inflatable robotic "health care companion."  Hiro and Baymax start to investigate Tadashi's death and learn that a frightening, kabuki-mask wearing figure has stolen Hiro's microbots.   Soon Hiro recruits his brother's former lab mates as a tech-supported superhero team to defeat the kabuki guy.

The animation in Big Hero 6 is impressive:  the detail in the fantastical, futuristic Asian-fusion city of Sanfrantokyo is amazing; the movement of Hiro's hair is so realistic.  The character development is less impressive and despite the death of Hiro's brother being the central motivating event, this movie does not so much tug at the heartstrings; it wants to be soulful but ends up a bit lightweight.  Baymax is easily the best and funniest character, both in his physical comedy and his speech.  My favorite bit was when his battery ran low: not only did he deflate but he sounded drunk.  Kudos to voice actor/comedian Scott Adsit for bringing him to life.

Big Hero 6 does not reach the heights of the best animated Disney/Pixar films but it was entertaining, funny and well put-together.  Sometimes that's all you need.

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