“I am satisfied with my care.”
A note to the U.S. Congress and the administration after seeing Big Hero 6: Do whatever is needed to get Baymaxcare implemented. In the city of San Fransokyo, adolescent Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter), isn’t your average adolescent. At 14, he is already a high school graduate. Needless to say, he is brilliant in the mind, but lacks the focus needed to truly harness his talents. As such, he spends many a nights competing in Robot Wars-like events while his older, also super-smart brother Tadashi attends college.
Fearing his kid brother’s talents aren’t being cultivated like they need to be, Tadashi introduces Hiro to what smart people in college are capable of, showing that higher education may be what he needs. Most importantly, Hiro is introduced to Baymax, a robot created by Tadashi to provide health care to those in need. The college tour works, as Hiro becomes inspired and gets into university. Things are looking up until an mysterious incident one night recalibrates Hiro’s enthusiasm and he becomes a recluse. Luckily, Baymax is around to give support, and he along with Hiro’s friends begin to discover the truth of what happened.
With Marvel being under the umbrella of Disney now, it was only a matter of time before Disney would fully dive into the vault and use some source material in a fully animated feature. That time has come with Big Hero 6, an animated feature that succeeds greatly in most places, not so much in others, but as a whole should be quite enough for many.
Really, that whole is made up primarily of the big guy known as Baymax. From his first second on screen, his minimalist appearance and oversized exterior makes it impossible to not have a strong liking towards. All he desires is to provide care for those in need, even to the detriment of his own being. It is a very endearing character, but also an extremely funny one. Voiced by Scott Adsit, the rotund robot speaks in a dry and straightforward tone throughout. Baymax only knows one thing, and his duty to uphold that one thing leads to many hilarious situations. He is the MVP of BH6 without question.
While Baymax may be the most entertaining and recognizable character, Hiro Hamada ain’t too bad either as the Robin to the proverbial Batman in Baymax. What is cool about him is the fact that he isn’t a traditional youngster found in similar animated works. He comes with layers and undergoes more than a few changes across the film’s simple plot. At times, he is even rather unlikable, but for what the character experiences, it is a semi-realistic portrayal of an adolescent still trying to find the way through the world amid tumultuous circumstances.
For a movie named Big Hero 6 though, the name implies that there will likely be six characters that will be feature. Not exactly the case here; even though BH6 does have four characters joining the two leads to make up the six, at the end of the day these four honestly feel like afterthoughts. They look impressive in battle and have nice design and voiced by sound, but when the movie slows down with all six on screen, it is still the Baymax (and Hiro) show, with only the random, occasionally humorous quip serving purpose to remind the audience that they are not complete wallflowers.
Like other superhero movies, especially the first in a franchise, the “ABC-ish” story present here works fine, and it was a nice tough to show a focus on science. In fact, it isn’t crazy to imagine this spurning youngsters on learning more about the various fields. But, how the story sets up the event to get where it needs to get to could be seen from far away in the distance. The moment itself is emotional sure, but one can only think that maybe it would have had even more gravitas if it was held off for slightly longer.
This gives the story a rushed feel in spots, sort of like the antagonist here. Visually, he is intriguing and relatively threatening; think a mix of Doctor Octopus, The Masked Magician, and Noob Saibot rolled into one. However, the way he appears with no indication or even small explanation minimizes his impact as well, and when the motivations are finally revealed, the story falters substantially and stays deflated until a very solid climax. A little tighter writing in the aforementioned place may have made a big difference in creating a more well-rounded tale.
Aside from Baymax and Hiro, the other stars of note are directors Don Hall and Chris Williams, simply because of what they are able to create. San Fransokyo is one of the more fully realized places in film all year, despite being fictional. The hybrid of Tokyo and San Francisco also serves as a perfect backdrop to the action found here. In these set pieces, the feel of the Marvel films is wholly achieved on an animated, bite-sized level.
Big Hero 6 is a very enjoyable flick for the whole family and for solid reasons. But, no reasons loom as large as the lovable, huggable Baymax and his presence. For 102 minutes, yours truly was under the care of Baymax, and I must admit I was pretty satisfied.
Photo credits go to villains.wikia.com, and realmomsofvegas.com.
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