At The Omniplex: ‘Big Hero 6’

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BIG HERO 6ADMITTEDLY, I wasn’t too sure what to expect going into this film.

I knew that it had been well-received in America, but I was expecting Disney’s next film to be the big follow-up to ‘Frozen’ and ‘Tangled’, not an adaptation of an obscure Marvel comic book series about some chunky-looking inflatable robot.

The film’s abysmal and downright confusing title didn’t exactly help matters either. I remember thinking to myself: “‘Big Hero 6’? Is that the name of the robot on the poster?”

Turns out the title makes sense only to those who’ve either seen the film already or read the source material, a genius move on behalf of Disney’s marketing department.

So like most people I decided to see this film purely because of Disney’s reputation, because let’s face it – Disney rarely fail to deliver.

And with Pixar currently in a bit of a creative slump and Studio Ghibli on an indefinite hiatus, right now is the perfect opportunity for Disney to outshine Dreamworks as the crowning jewel of modern animation.

Oddly enough however, ‘Big Hero 6’ (aka. ‘How To Train Your Robot’) adopts the same form of ‘boy and his dog’ storyline that Dreamworks perfected back in 2010 with ‘How To Train Your Dragon’.

The story melds itself with the spectacular, awe-inspiring visuals that we’re accustomed to seeing in Marvel Blockbusters.

The film takes place in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, a vibrant and technologically advanced hybrid of San Francisco and Tokyo.

Our protagonist is 14-year-old technical prodigy, Hiro Hamada, a boy wasting his potential building miniature robots so that he can compete in illegal back-alley ‘(ro)bot-fighting’.

Hiro is an orphan (probably owing to the fact that he’s starring in a Disney film), and the only family he has left is his older brother Tadashi, a caring and intelligent young man studying at a local university for gifted science students.

In order to instill a sense of ambition in Hiro, Tadashi gives Hiro a brief tour of his science lab at the university and introduces him to his latest experiment: a friendly health care robot named Baymax.

‘Big Hero 6’ may be very predictable at times and almost a carbon copy of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, but this futuristic sci-fi adventure actually works incredibly well.

It’s a refreshing change of pace to see a children’s film that exhibits a gleeful enthusiasm towards the development of science and technology. The world building is astounding and brilliantly realised. Every single frame of the film is oozing with big ideas.

‘Big Hero 6’ is also, by far, the funniest film that Disney have produced in a long time. Hiro and Baymax’s odd-couple relationship, as sweet as may be, is also the source of a lot of the film’s laughs. Hiro being the straight-man and Baymax being the oddball.

Baymax is one of the most endearing and memorable characters that Disney have committed to film in years.

Though his child-like antics and awkward bubbly physique may initially come across as simply a quirky outlet for the film’s humor and charm, they add to his good-natured personality enormously, giving him an unparalleled affability that allows him to slowly worm his way into our hearts.

What I admire most about ‘Big Hero 6’ is that even though it contains big, inventive concepts within a visually dazzling sci-fi world, the film is grounded by it’s solid emotional core about a young boy coming to terms with loss.

And thankfully, the filmmakers never lost sight of that.

Wonderful family entertainment.


Follow John Lyons on Twitter: @Fireinthelyons

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