Big Hero 6,
directed by Don Hall & Chris Williams
(Walt Disney/Marvel Animation, 2014)

Disney and Marvel's first lovechild is based on a Marvel comic so obscure it's a wonder it ever floated to the top of the short list. Big Hero 6 tells the story of Hiro Himada, a 14-year-old robotics prodigy who gets into a prestigious technology program on the strength of his microbots, swarms of tiny robots that can link together to form anything imaginable. On the eve of his presentation a tragedy claims the life of his beloved big brother, Tadashi, as well as the university's star professor, inventor and, incidentally, Hiro's hero. With the help of new friends and Tadashi's prototype medical helper robot, Baymax, Hiro leads a team of misfit superheroes to track down the person he believes is responsible for deliberately setting the fire that killed his brother and mentor.

A near fatal attack by a massive tiny robot army led by a masked man leads Hiro to realize his adversary has not just murdered his brother and the professor but stolen his designs as well, with an intent to use them for all the wrong reasons. Upgrading Baymax to high-grade armor and a battle-chip, he pursues the masked man until vengeance becomes his entire focus, causing problems with his friends.

The theme of vengeance vs. salvation is present throughout the film. The main motive behind the masked villain's attempts to use the microbots to re-open a rift in space and time is in order to correct a great wrong and save a life. Baymax and Hiro, with a little help from Hiro's loyal friends, comes to his senses and races to save the day, crossing an inter-dimensional rift on a rescue mission.

The 3-D animation is gorgeous. Every line, every detail is clear. The story takes place in futuristic San Francisco, giving the animation a rich background in which to beautifully blend western and eastern cultures. The action is super-hero movie-worthy, and the emotional ride is just as intense as the physical one. There were dark tones that the filmmakers weren't afraid to show, as well as light-hearted humor, which more than makes up for the formulaic plot and lack of real character development. The masked villain is rather too obvious, so the intrigue factor isn't terribly high. Still, the emotional depth gives the story traction and the amazing visuals, coupled with big, rolling action sequences and very cool futuristic technology, more than makes up for the somewhat generic story. Highly entertaining, perhaps more for kids than adults, but still energetic enough to be watchable.

review by
Mary Harvey

25 April 2015

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