Review & Trailer: Big Hero 6

Big_Hero_(film)_poster_003Frances Winston takes a trip to the movies to check out this Disney/Marvel co-production

Directors: Don Hall and Chris Williams – Starring (voices of): Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Daniel Henney, T. J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans, Jr., Génesis Rodríguez, Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell

Based on the Marvel comics superhero team of the same name, this is the first Disney and Marvel co-production since the former acquired the latter in 2009. Featuring a mixture of unknown and established voice cast, this has already been a huge hit for the studio Stateside, and with lovable characters that just scream to be immortalised as action figures, it’s also a big merchandising story for the studio. However, it isn’t just a case of style over substance, and this has been nominated in the Best Animated Feature Category in this year’s Oscars.

Set in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, we first meet Hiro Hamada (Potter) as a tearaway robotics genius who spends his time participating in illegal robot fights. Frustrated that the prodigy is wasting his talents, his older brother Tadashi (Henney) encourages him to apply to the robotics lab at his university.

Impressed by what he sees there, he creates a project called microbots – tiny robots that link together to form anything – in order to secure a place in the school. Tragedy strikes when a fire breaks out at the university, killing his brother as he tries to save his professor, and leaving Hiro devastated.

Left alone with just Tadashi’s robotics project Baymax – a medical robot whose sole purpose is to heal you – Hiro locks himself away. However, when he accidentally activates Baymax, the pair follow one of his microbots to an abandoned warehouse, and discover that someone has stolen Hiro’s project. Determined to catch the thief, Hiro upgrades Baymax, and enlists his late brother’s lab colleagues to form a superhero team and save the day.

While this is a superhero origin story, it is not your run of the mill superhero flick. It has a huge amount of heart, and characters that really make you feel for them. With echoes of films such as The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, central to this tale is Hiro’s relationship with Baymax, which will completely tug at your heart strings.

Underpinning the whole story are themes of love, loss and coping with grief. All of the characters are dealing with issues, but together they struggle through, and the support network afforded to them by the group is just as important as catching the bad guy. Hiro is a fully rounded character who suffers deeply and loves hugely, and is impossible to dislike. This also benefits from being an animation, as it gives them the leeway to create things that would be difficult in a live action scenario, even with CGI.

This is colourful and brash – just like its main character – and will appeal to adults as well as children. Well written and beautifully executed, this is a great example of how collaborations between two powerhouses can work well. It will bring a tear to your eye in parts, and make you laugh in others, and you will fall a little bit in love with Baymax.

As with all Disney films, there are some moral lessons running through this, but they are not in your face and don’t overshadow the story. A lovely, fun movie that runs the gamut of emotions, this is a pretty good bet to walk away with the gold statuette on February 22nd.

In cinemas now!

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The new LGBT magazine; available online, for download and on podcast. It's time for another view.
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