Director: Don Hall & Chris Williams.
Cast: (voices of) Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Daniel Henney, TJ Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr, Genesis Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk.
|Sometimes you just need a big goalie, not necessarily a good goalie.|
DISNEY is on a roll with its computer animated films.
Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, and Frozen have helped put the House of Mouse back on the animation map after more than a decade of so-so releases.
You can add the name Big Hero 6 to that Pixar-like run of excellent adventures, and while it you're at it you can put the name "Baymax" on the lengthy list of memorable and lovable Disney characters.
Based very, very loosely on a little-known Marvel comic, Big Hero 6 is the tale of Hiro Hamada (Potter), a 14-year-old robotics genius who lives in the quasi-futuristic city of San Fransokyo and spends most of his time gambling on (and winning) illegal streetbot fights.
His older brother Tadashi (Henney), concerned that Hiro is wasting his talents, introduces Hiro to the robotics lab where Tadashi works at university and gets the younger Hamada excited about using his skills for a greater purpose.
But when tragedy strikes, Hiro and his friends must team up to solve a mystery, catch a bad guy and save the day.
It may sound fairly formulaic and, as a superhero story, Big Hero 6 certainly hits all the notes we've come to expect from those kind of origin tales. However, there is much more to this film than hyper-powered individuals belting seven shades of snot out of each other.
At its heart, it's a story about grief and loss - there's an interesting juxtaposition between how the good guy and bad guy wander into the grey areas between right and wrong as they each struggle to deal with the death of a loved one. There's also a nice spin on the old "with great power comes great responsibility" line - in this case there's a bit of "with great intelligence comes great responsibility" thrown into the mix.
But as much as Big Hero 6 is a celebration of the mind (most of the main characters are self-confessed "nerds"), there is a lot of heart to go with the head. There are a couple of really sweet moments here, including some tearjerkers, and Hiro is a relatable and endearing (ahem) hero.
But the stand-out character is Baymax (Adsit), the inflatable robot built by Tadashi as a medical assistant, who serves as audience surrogate, comic relief, moral compass, straight man, action centrepiece, and even emotional core to the movie.
Whether he's taping up his punctures, losing power, doing karate, helping the sick and injured, or simply trying to walk around a room, Baymax is a scene-stealing sidekick who pretty much runs off with the whole movie.
In terms of family fun, Big Hero 6 is a real winner. There are laughs, great set-pieces, and deeper layers beneath the fast-moving bright colours to ensure this is ideal for all ages.