January, as I understand it, is meant to be a month of desperation. A month where films that cause breath to thin and skin to shudder to claw their way out of the ground, grab our ankles and drag us down to their abyss of bile and gunge. So can anyone explain why Big Hero 6 is being released in the UK in January?
To be honest, I have no idea. After being released in the USA, Canada and India, in November, why it’s taken to the New Year for it to venture to our rain-sodden shores is beyond me. But having managed to get a preview screening before its January 30th release I can now finally say, after much undue waiting, here is the obligatory overview for Big Hero 6!
Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) is fourteen year old boy genius who spends his time hustling for money in illegal robot fights. His brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney), disappointed in his brother’s style of life, introduces him to the work he and his friends do at San Fransokyo Tech, as well as meeting his project Baymax (Scott Adsit), as well as meeting the legendary Professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell), the creator of bot fighting who spurs his interest by claiming “We don’t do easy, we push the boundaries”.
Excited by the opportunity to do all the amazing work there, Hiro enters the college’s annual exhibition in order to win entry. Developing microbot technology, allowing anything to be done that can be imagined by the user, Hiro wins entry much to his delight and, despite an offer from Alistair Krei (Alan Tudyk), President of Krei Tech, Hiro declines. Leaving the exhibition, a fire erupts and, after Tadashi rushes inside to save Callaghan, but is enveloped in an explosion. Several weeks after the funeral, Hiro discovers Baymax in his room and Baymax, seeking to heal Hiro’s emotional wounds, goes out to help him, leading to Hiro to begin to question what really caused the fire.
I know this is a bit in-depth, and it is probably the first twenty-five minutes of the film, but I have to give you some info and at least you’ll know that a good chunk of the film gives you a backdrop to what will happen in the other two thirds of the film.
Now let’s get the positives out of the way because they are too easy to list. The animation; by God the animation is beautiful. I mean really beautiful. Everywhere you looks practically exudes a certain vibrancy that it leaves you almost with a feeling of nostalgia when the world was always colourful and full of wonder. I do also love the fusion of San Francisco and Tokyo and all the American/Japanese fusion that entails. It’s an absolute wonder to behold.
Secondly: Baymax. You think I’d forget about that marshmallowy helper? Not only is appearance huggably brilliant, as well as giving fifty percent of the film’s humour, Scott Adsit’s voice work is fantastic. Adsit gives a truly inspired performance as the caring robot, his voice, while remaining the same tone, manages to convey much emotion to everyone who watches him.
But now I’ve got the task of delving into why this film isn’t everything I thought it would be and, at time was, dare I say, it mediocre. Whoa everybody, calm down. Let me explain.
First thing that the film gets wrong is that Big Hero 6 suffers from the whole “villain” problem. What I mean by this is that they, very, very blatantly, try to make you think Guy A is the miscreant, but in actual fact is was Guy B all along, and he/she seemed like such a good guy. You can see the moment coming so brazenly that it takes the even faintest whisker of surprise out of it. Not only that, but the villain is about as two-dimensional as 1985 Mario so, although you can see the reasoning behind the actions committed, they are only delved into momentarily.
The next thing that is annoying is that this movie is a superhero movie by numbers. What I mean is the film is clearly a three act structure, and while most films follow that format, Big Hero 6 does this in a way that is physically palpable. There’s the formation of Big Hero 6, the dilemma of our protagonists and then the realisation that they need to do the right thing and, ultimately, victory but not without tinges of heartache along the way. That’s fine. That’s how movies work. But when you can feel each stages ending and beginning so clearly that it feels like the inevitable beat, beat, beat rhythm of a hammer on an anvil, and that can be oppressive.
Also the characters are very generic and that’s annoying. I know this movie is centred on genius’ using their minds as their powers, but they are all painfully portrayed as high school stereotypes. The “OCD” one, the ditzy one, the cool biker one and, of course, the comic book nerd. It seems Disney are trying to cram so many nerd types into the film so that it’d appeal to the most people, which is probably true, but then they decided “Hmmm, let’s make the one dimensional characters who get about as much depth as a puddle.” Aside from Fred, whose humour is infectious, the other characters seem to be there just to make up the team and to maintain some sort of affiliation to the very different comic books.
I’d keep going on about this film’s faults, but I feel that this would be merely hitting an already battered, bloodied and broken point firmly into the ground. But there’s one thought that keeps swirling about my mind like a ship going down a whirlpool (OK I’ll stop the bad metaphors), this film wasn’t made with me in mind and that’s sad. It was made for kids. Not families, but for kids. While it’s a film families can watch it doesn’t have that level for teenagers and adults like Pixar films do, or even classic Disney films do like Lion King.
While I wouldn’t say Big Hero 6 is a bad film by any measure, it would be foolish to say that it was the follow-up to the great successes that Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled and Frozen were. This film should have been amazing and, while it is fun and entertaining, it is one of those films that you will eventually only watch because of Baymax and because you have children too young to watch the more violent Marvel films. But then again, all the colours are very pretty and the costumes are fabulous….. And it’ll be a blessed relief from the usual January releases so, by all means, grab the kids away from the Nintendo’s and PS4’s and go watch a brilliantly designed distraction.
P.S.: The short film Feast is absolutely fantastic, as Disney shorts are now becoming ever since Paperman and, while similar to Paperman, it tells a more realistic love story.
P.P.S: Oh yeah, my 100th post so…HUZZAH!
P.P.P.S: Enough with the P.S’s but here’s a reminder that you can vote not once, but TWICE for the two books I’ll be reviewing at the end of Febookuary! Go to My Plan for 2015 and pick one or two of the options or choose your own! Voting closes midnight on January 31st.