When I was growing up, Disney had a brilliant marketing campaign going for its animated classics (really when has it not though!). It was called the Masterpiece Collection, and each month they would add a new classic from “The Vault” to the line up. The VHS cover was marked with a cool looking Purple Banner, that indicated it was A Masterpiece Collection Film, and it included all the Disney classics from the past and the new ones that came out. My sister and I were obsessed with this collection and each week we would get our mom to buy us another in the set!
As I was watching Big Hero 6, the latest winner from Disney, I couldn’t help but think we have entered a new era of classics from Disney, that I will referee to as The Digital Masterpiece Collection. I would say this started around 2007 with Meet the Robinsons (B+) and has continued every year with, Bolt (B+), The Princess and the Frog (A-) (hand drawn yes but still very good!), Tangled (A-), Wreck it Ralph (B+) and last years’ Frozen (C-) a film I didn’t care for but recognize is considered a classic by both critics and young children alike.
Big Hero 6 is Disney’s latest in the Digital line and is another film that just feels like it is destined to be a new childhood classic.
Big Hero 6 is basically a superhero origin story, a concept that Disney has already tackled brilliantly thanks to help from Pixar with the masterpiece The Incredibles. Big Hero 6 is not as clever and adult oriented as the Pixar classic but it is still richly animated with a amusing and fun story that both children and adults will easily enjoy. Factoring in themes of family values, death, abusive of power and robotics, Big Hero 6 contains enough goodies to keep everyone happy.
The story is about a trouble making 14 year old boy named Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) who lives in the futuristic town of San Fransokyo. Hiro happens to be a robotics mastermind and uses his brains to hustle local thugs at cock fight style robot wars. His older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) feels like he is wasting his potential and introduces him to his Robot university friends GoGo Tomago (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Waynes Jr,), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) and Fred (T.J Miller) and his inspiring professor Robert Callaghan. Hiro is introduced to Tadashi’s most brilliant work, a robot named Baymax, which functions as a first aid bot, that can quickly find out what your problems are and fix you up. He is shaped like a giant, lovable marshmallow. This inspires Hiro to enter a contest to join the school, which is made clear his age is not an issue.
A freak accident at the school leaves Tadashi dead and Hiro is finding it almost impossible to move on from his brother who was much more like a father figure to him. That is when he finds Baymax and turns him into a crime fighting robot. Hiro decides to change himself and all of his brothers old classmates into heroes as well and they form The Big Hero 6. They must fight off the evil Yokai a kabuki mask wearing fiend, who seems bend on destruction.
I will allow the movie’s many surprises from there unfold before your eyes, but I will say that this is a wicked fun, straight shooting hero’s origin story, that will having you smiling throughout, with its many twists on the basic clinches of all origin stores.
Big Hero 6 is based on an obscure Marvel comic book, that I admit I am not really aware of. Disney was able to acquire the rights from Marvel and has basically created their own version of the story, much like it they have always done with the classic fairy tales. I love the fact that Disney is paying close attention to the market for superhero movies nowadays and think it is a fantastic idea that they stepped away from the Fairy Tales for once and focuses on a superhero tale.
Its a refreshing and awesome step forward for them, much the same way Wreck it Ralph was, with its video game theme.
The voice work here is all done very well, and no there is no stand out like say Robin Williams in Aladdin, but everyone does their equal parts and makes their characters fun and everyone stands ou in the film. The animation is once again stunning, with some glorious wide shots of the city and some wickedly edited fight scenes, that are a marvel to behold.
The screenplay by Jordan Roberts, Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird mixes some not to silly but enough to make kids happy jokes, as well as some sharp bits of humor for the adults, including the minatory Stan Lee cameo that will assume the older crowd.
However the clear star of the show is Baymax, who has charisma to spare, easily steals every scene of the movie he is in. He is a big ball of rolly pully fun, that is about to be a new animated classic to join he ranks of Mickey Mouse, Wall-E and Eeyore as beloved childhood classics!
Big Hero 6 is a worthy film to add the new age of Disney classics and is yet another step forward for Disney, after suffering a few years of truly awful animated films starting after 1999’s Tarzan. It has a lovable robot at its core and extremely likable characters throughout.
Its a fun, funny and action filled adventure that will been thoroughly enjoyed by all ages.
Disney’s first venture into the comic book world is a roaring success and deserve to be held alongside the many Disney classic of the past.
Its big fun!