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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Big Hero 6 is the Walt Disney Animation Studios 2014 offering, following the mega-hit Frozen. It is also loosely based on a Marvel Comic of the same name (I suppose owning the comic company now allows for such things). Luckily, it is completely unconnected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe which allows it to do its own thing and not be bogged down by needless continuity. Unfortunately, while the movie is entertaining, it comes up just short for it to be a future Disney classic.
I suppose part of the problem I had with the movie concerns my expectations of a Disney movie. To be honest, I don’t know if I can articulate those expectations in any concrete manner. I grew up in the era of the Disney Renaissance of the 90s. My reflection of what a Disney movie is sort of comes from that and the studio’s earlier productions. Big Hero 6, while having many hallmarks of a traditional Disney movie (colorful characters, dead family members, a clear sense of right/wrong), it is seems very atypical.
Now, don’t get me wrong, being atypical isn’t bad. And, for Disney, after doing something like Frozen, it was probably a wise move to release something very different. On that level, the film succeeds. However, instead of taking this superhero property and doing something fun and new with it, Big Hero 6 keeps things incredibly conventional to its respective genre. As is, there is really nothing new to be found here that you can’t find in a Marvel film.
In many respects, Big Hero 6 reminded me of 2012’s Wreck-It-Ralph in that it has a great idea, but comes off as underwhelming in the end.
But, I don’t want to dump on the film too much as there is still a lot to like about it. For starters, the computer animation is absolutely amazing (even better than the recently release The Book of Life). I guess that is to be expected as Disney rarely releases an inferior product on a technical level, but there were times when I was looking at establishing shots of the city or landscape and forgot that it wasn’t real. It is that good.
The characters are pretty generic for a movie like this, but they keep you entertained as you go through. Baymax, the quasi-balloon robot that has been marketed is really the breakaway character. While the movie might be forgotten in a few years the way Wreck-it-Ralph and Meet the Robinsons have largely been, I suspect his image will be kept around, if for the sheer novelty of it.
Oh, and the villain’s design is pretty bad ass. Anytime he appeared on screen and was looking all “villainy”, he is legitimately scary. The promo pieces circling the internet do not do him justice.
My verdict here with Big Hero 6 is that kids will probably like this movie. Adults will be entertained too. But for its lasting appeal, there really isn’t much. I’m glad I saw it, and I don’t feel I wasted my time seeing it, but I think the best I can say about Big Hero 6 is that “it was cute”.