ShowbizNoFLO Film Review: BIG HERO 6

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Reviewed by: Letitia Carelock

Nearly a month after its release November 7, 2014, Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6’ is still going strong with $168 million domestic gross at the box office. It’s no surprise as the film is bright, colorful, sweet, fun, and just a little dangerous. 

‘Big Hero 6’ tells the story of Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), a pint-sized 14-year-old genius in the construction and implementation of robotics. However, he is stirring up trouble by taking his robots to underground robot death matches to win money and narrowly escapes being beaten up after hustling a big name robot fighter. He is rescued by his older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney). The two are orphans being raised by their aunt, and since Hiro graduated high school before even hitting puberty, he could squander his future since he has no sense of direction.

To remedy this, Tadashi takes Hiro to his university to meet his research team, consisting of Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), Go Go (Jamie Chung), Fred (T.J. Miller), as well as the college’s head of the robotics program Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell). Tadashi also introduces Hiro to Baymax: a robotic medical assistant that Tadashi hopes will later be a low-cost solution to various worldwide health crises. Hiro is stunned and excited to see the team’s inventions and Tadashi encourages him to enter the annual school exhibition to impress Callaghan, who can guarantee Hiro admission.

Hiro presents a system of tiny, interconnected micro robots that can form any structure with a neurological control band. After his impressive display, a rival technology company headed by Alistair Krei (Alan Tudyk) makes Hiro an offer, but he refuses. Shortly after they leave, a huge fire breaks out and Tadashi hears that Callaghan is still inside. Right after he runs inside to help, the entire building explodes and Tadashi dies. Heartbroken, Hiro has no desire to attend the university and stumbles across Baymax, who awakens and offers to help Hiro deal with the loss of his brother through finding out who was behind the fire. Hiro investigates the activation of one of his remaining microbots and is attacked by a man in a kabuki mask who appears to have stolen his microbots to use for nefarious reasons. Hiro enlists the help of Tadashi’s robotics team to help him track down the mysterious villain and avenge his brother.

‘Big Hero 6’ exhibits the most strength in the visuals and the connection between Baymax and Hiro. While Baymax is cute and cuddly enough to amuse small children, the storyline of Hiro trying to cope with the loss of his brother is by far the biggest accomplishment of the film. Many of the Disney films show a character’s family dying before the story begins, but this one happens after we’ve seen the dynamic between the two brothers and the love that they share for one another, so it is quite a gut-punch when Tadashi dies. Hiro is young and impulsive and doesn’t know what to do with his feelings of anger and regret, and Baymax’s sweet nature as well as his ability to help Hiro fight the main villain is some of Disney’s best writing.

While they are a little underdeveloped, Hiro’s team is also a big source of fun in the film as each of them has their robotics technology tailored to their personalities. They are all vibrant and unique and bring something great to the table in terms of abilities. The action sequences are well done and creative as well as being similar to the art style of Disney’s previous film ‘Wreck It Ralph.’

Where ‘Big Hero 6’ falls short is in its predictability. Anyone over the age of about fifteen or so will immediately be able to tell the story beat for beat before it even happens. As a result, there are very few surprises and while the film is still endearing and heartfelt, it is rather formulaic. The villain is all but telegraphed and the climax can be seen from miles away. It doesn’t take many risks in its storytelling and that puts a damper on some of the fun for the older crowd.

Even with those shortcomings, it’s a breath of fresh air and certainly entertaining for all ages.

Overall Grade: B

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