Kyle J. Steenblik

Big Hero 6 is an exciting blend of elements for all ages.

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Big Hero 6 is a beautiful blending of genera, tones, and cultures in a package that is wildly entertaining.  Sure to be a staggering success for Disney and Marvel this film will draw children in droves, and parents are sure to follow along, quite gladly.  The film itself handles some fairly dark themes of death and loss with surprising ease and levity.  Baymax, the all too loveable inflatable android at the center of this film, fills moments that could easily be utterly heartbreaking with warmth.  To call this film, and Baymax, endearing feels like an understatement, my children are smitten with this inflatable, personal healthcare android, and are foaming at the mouth to see this film again.

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From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax, a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada.  When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred.  Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.”

The first thematic element that stuck me was the blending of not only Tokyo and San Francisco, but also the blending of Japanese and American cultures.  I could go on for quite some time about the architecture alone, for that, this imaginary city is one I would very much love to visit.  If anyone from Disney reads this, please, build a San Fransokyo, somewhere, and let me move in.  The melding runs deep in this film, characters are quite obviously of different ethnic backgrounds, and many are blended together.  I am not sure if this is the first animated feature to have characters that appear to be of mixed race, but it is the first I can recall.  It was all beautifully designed and animated, the animation by the way took full advantage of the new technologies called Denizen and Hyperion, which we will all hear much more about in the very near future.

The second theme that struck me was the direct way this film death with death and loss.  With many animated films for children and families any death and loss is distant, and the effects are in the past.  Here, death is up front, it is unavoidable and the grief is fresh and staggeringly clear.  Dealing with these mature themes in a respectful, and responsible way is unbelievable, and so very welcome.  The best illustration I can come up with is this; When my youngest child saw Frozen, he was not sure what happened to Anya and Elsa’s parents.  He understood they went away, and didn’t come back, and everyone was sad, but he didn’t catch the subtlety of their death.  There were no questions here.  This should also serve as a brief warning to parents.  The dark themes in this movie might be too much for some children, I do recommend watching this film first on your own before bringing your kids.

The super-hero style action sequences are satisfying for any fan of super-hero action films.  The comedy should keep parent and child laughing well after the credits roll (stay until the end).  The highly successful combination of elements needed to create this film will be sure to score another impressive success for Disney Animation.  5 out of 5.

Big Hero 6
Directed by: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Screenplay by: Robert L. Baird, Dan Gerson, Jordan Rzoberts
Story by: Don Hall, Jordan Roberts
Based on: Big Hero 6 by Steven T. Seagle, Duncan Rouleau
Starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans, Jr., Génesis Rodríguez, T. J. Miller, Daniel Henney, Maya Rudolph
Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements.
Runtime: 108 min

 

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