Saturday, November 8, 2014

Big Hero 6 [A Fat Jesus Film Review]

You can tell a film's age range by watching previews, looking at genre listings and the like. I like to see what kinds of audiences they attract when I happen to see a film during its opening weekend. 'Big Hero 6' is a 3D animated feature, obviously geared for the younger audience with it's look and marketing. The crowd at my showing had quite a few kids. There were also teenagers, I saw people my age, as well as older folks who looked to be in their 40s and 50s. Disney knows no bounds when it comes to age. If you've been watching Disney all your life, each film, as the world progresses, becomes a bigger and grander experience. It doesn't matter if you're 6 or 60. 'Big Hero 6' isn't just just an exhilarating spectacle, it's a heart-warming tale that only Disney could tell like this.

'Big Hero 6' follows the story of Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), a genius 14-year old, who has already graduated high-school and is a robotics expert. Hiro, along side his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney), who also excels at robotics, and his aunt, Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph), live in San Fransokyo, a futuristic hybrid of San Francisco and Tokyo. Tadashi is worried about his younger brother because his talents are only being put towards illegal underground robotic fights. One day, Tadashi decides to take Hiro to the robotics lab he studies at, at his university. Upon arrival Hiro meets all of Tadashi's friends and classmates. GoGo Tomago (Jamie Chung), a girl who thrives for adrenaline, who is working on electromagnetic wheel axels. Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), a guy who is highly meticulous (almost neurotic) and is an expert on laser cutting. Honey Lemon (Génesis Rodríguez), a girl with a highly bubbly and infectious personality, that works in the field of chemistry. Finally, there's Fred (T.J. Miller), a huge comic book-fan, who isn't in the department and is the school's mascot. Tadashi then shows Hiro what he's been working on, a personal healthcare robot named, Baymax (Scott Adsit). Hiro also gets to meet the head of the department, Professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell), who urges him that if he were to join the university, his talents would be pushed. Hiro decides to apply to join the school and with help from everyone, Hiro designs his own robotics project that wins him entry into the university. After the presentation, Alistair Krei (Alan Tudyk), owner of a big time robotics company, offers to buy Hiro's project, to which he denies. As Hiro and Tadashi walk home together, a fire breaks out at the presentation hall they were just in. Tadashi runs back in to try and save Professor Callaghan, but the building explodes, killing anyone who may have been left inside. One day, a few weeks after the incident, Hiro accidentally activates Baymax and also discovers what's left of his invention, in his jacket malfunctioning. Baymax thinks the piece of machinery is trying to go somewhere and the two end up at an abandoned warehouse full of his invention. There is also a mysterious man in a kabuki mask, who seems to be controlling them all, who attacks them. Hiro, Baymax and the rest of the team must now band together, because San Fransokyo is now dealing with an evil mastermind.

Who needs Pixar to give us film that hits us right in our emotional gut? Well, we all do cause Pixar is awesome, but Disney by itself isn't too bad at it either. I was expecting a much different film, more akin to 'Wreck-It-Ralph.' Without all the emotional stuff, but with more of the laughter and action. 'Big Hero 6' isn't just a movie for kids, it's a film that will please anyone, of any age. It celebrates fans of comic books, the "nerds" who invent the things we use, the families that keep us strong and the friendships we have that keep us going. The story is pretty straightforward, as a group of people must band together for the first time, to stop an evil mastermind from destruction. That isn't what makes this film good. It's the writing, the characters, the humor and the world that just envelops you.

The world of San Fransokyo is gorgeous. You'll feel yourself getting lost in the background of a sweeping scene or noticing well crafted backdrops in almost every scene as well. Once you get to see the city a a whole, you'll appreciate this film even more, as it's wonderfully crafted. The feel is vibrant and fun throughout. Even the action sequences convey this well, as they are as lively as the world they're set in. Speaking of action, the scenes are fantastic. The originality of the technology, combined with the imaginative ways to use them is awesome to watch unfold. I must say the montage of building their suits may have been one of my favorite parts of the film. Then seeing it all in action was a welcome touch, as any scene involving combat was done well. The voice acting was another good spot, as I was worried from the trailers that I wouldn't like the cast throughout a whole film. They, as it turns out, were really good. Especially, Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, T.J. Miller and Daniel Henney, as Hiro, Baymax, Fred and Tadashi respectively. They all fit their characters well and it was a pleasure that they got to voice them. The writing in this is top-notch, as each character is written well and has a distinct style. The team itself is fine, but this film goes nowhere without Hiro and Baymax. They are the glue that holds everything together in this film. They are also the best duo I've seen on screen in awhile. The smarts and emotion of Hiro combined with the, almost innocence, of Baymax, created truly entertaining scenes and moments. It's not just all fun and games though, as 'Big Hero 6' tackles a huge issue that we've all struggled with in one form or another, the loss of someone. The child-like and straightforward Baymax, simply tells us to be with people, do things we like to do or even just give someone a hug. We get to see Hiro before, we get to see the group (and Hiro) struggle, but we also get to see them come out on the other side. We get to see that things may be dark at times, but there's always something that can spark the ignition we all have. That is what sets this apart from a lot of other "kids movies." The willingness to deal with a big issue, like losing someone, and being able to handle extremely well.

'Big Hero 6' is a film that's almost two hours, but you want it to keep going because it's so enthralling. The astounding visual imagery, the great score, the fun characters, the thrilling action, the laugh out loud lines (and moments), the heart-wrenching emotion and the captivating Baymax, keep you sitting in your seat through the credits. You should stay until after the credits too, because there's an awesome post-credits scene. 'Big Hero 6' isn't redefining how a superhero film is told. What 'Big Hero 6' does, is bring a new level of personality, and just plain fun, to the superhero genre that can seem really stale.

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