Managing to successfully combine humour with emotion, and targeting the difficulty of grief in the process, Big Hero 6 is a true gem. Animation has become a little tiresome, with dozens released each year that don’t quite capture the spirit of the classics like Toy Story, Beauty and the Beast or UP. The latter being one of the first to truly captivate adult audiences with it’s frank and rather imaginative storytelling. Don Hall and Chris Williams’ Big Hero 6, adapted from a Marvel comic, and brought to the screen by Disney (who here prove their worth) is possibly the best animated comedy since, well, a very long time.
Meet Hero (Ryan Potter) and Tadashi (Daniel Henney); two brothers living with Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph) in San Fransokyo (gotta’ love the play on words, right?). Hero is fourteen and already graduated from school. He fights Robots for cash in an attempt to cure his epic boredom and is, rather humorously, going through puberty (a particular scene articulating this makes for plenty of light-hearted laughs). Tadashi goes to college, under rule of Professor Callaghan (James Cromwell) and soon Hero enrolls as he creates a Robot capable of doing whatever the human mind can imagine. It’s a simple story coupled with a whole lot of cool. The star is Baymax, Tadashi‘s health-care Bot that becomes a friend to all involved. Armed with a soothing voice, toddler-style walk and an all-round good nature, you can’t help but feel you need a Bot like Baymax in your life.
With an accompanying soundtrack that mixes instrumental score with Fallout Boy punk rock, the tone is pretty much perfectly balanced throughout. Heart-wrenching without bordering on depressing. Comedic without taking away from the matter at hand. The cinematography is outstanding, with a colourful palette of pinks and yellows juxtaposed by low-key backstreet alley ways and urban ship yards that capture the personality of Tokyo. Thank you Disney for not westernizing this story to the point of no return.
A simple, uncomplicated plot. An aura of comic-book rebellion. An adorable new set of heroes. And aesthetics that capture the imagination. Big Hero 6 is a total triumph and reinvigorates a tired, repetitive and, somewhat, lifeless, style of film-making. This is fun cinema that’s a pleasure to watch.