Big Hero 6 (2014)
While last year wasn’t one of the brightest for the genre of animation, the year of 2014 has turned out to be a pretty good one despite the absence of Pixar Animation Studios from the scene for we’ve already witnessed a few quality releases in Warner Animation Group’s The LEGO Movie, DreamWorks Animation Studios’ How To Train Your Dragon 2 & Laika Studios’ The Boxtrolls. And now, from the creators of Wreck-It Ralph & Frozen comes another impressive outing that’s as fresh, smart & intuitive as the above mentioned films and, apart from continuing the recent success streak for the studio, also marks their first foray into the genre of superhero filmmaking as the premise is based on Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name.
Set in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, Big Hero 6 concerns a young prodigy named Hiro Hamada who finds himself instantly captivated by the vast potential of robotics after his brother takes him on a tour to his university where he also gets to meet Baymax; an inflatable robot created by his brother to serve as a personal healthcare companion. Earning his admission ticket by impressing everyone at the science fair with his invention, things soon take a drastic turn for Hiro when an unexpected tragedy strikes following which he discovers his very own creation being used by a mysterious masked man for evil purposes. And so, in order to stop the masked villain & uncover his identity, Hiro ends up upgrading Baymax with a combat chip & also enlists the help of his brother’s friends whom he transforms into a band of high-tech heroes.
Directed by Don Hall & Chris Williams, the first half of the picture is brimming with lots of creativity, passion & ideas that are seamlessly blended with elements of humour which is then presented in a very polished manner. The second half exhibits major drop in both pacing & originality by taking a more generic route but nevertheless succeeds in maintaining a fine balance between its emotional & humorous aspects to wrap itself up as one of the finest looking films of the year. Coming to the technical aspects, the 3D animation is absolutely gorgeous in every sense of the word for each frame is rendered in meticulous detail with expert use of colour contrast, saturation & sharpness to provide an intensely vibrant look to the whole picture. Set pieces puts on screen a futuristic city that’s simply a mash-up of San Francisco & Tokyo, thus the name San Fransokyo.
Camerawork is highly admirable here for it is always moving & presents an energetic vibe when it comes to capturing the moments of action while taking a much relaxed & immersive approach during its dramatic sequences. Editing is carried out in an elegant manner for the story is briskly paced throughout its 102 minutes of runtime although it could’ve trimmed a few more moments from the middle section. And I’ve nothing but praise for Henry Jackman’s score that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be at any given moment. Yet the best thing about Big Hero 6 remains its interesting set of brilliantly voiced & finely written characters with the constantly developing bond between Hiro & Baymax serving as the core ingredient that makes this film work on so many levels.
Voiced by Ryan Potter, Hiro is the central character around whom the main plot revolves & the film does a fantastic job in depicting the transition process when he’s recovering from a devastating incident that leaves a huge void in his life. Next up is Baymax, voiced by Scott Adsit, who is without a doubt the standout character here for his instantly likeable cuddly appearance, polite behaviour, one-sided perspective & soothing voice brings a charm of its own while also making up for some hilarious moments when his personality just doesn’t fit the dangerous situation the other characters find themselves in. Yet, Baymax proves to an amazing friend who’s there for you when you’re down, wants to just cheer you up no matter what it takes & is always around in case you need a big warm hug, and the moments between him & Hiro perfectly illustrate that.
Rest of the supporting cast also serve their purpose well & end up adding their own flavours into the story although this superhero flick does suffer a little from the lack of a stronger & more intimidating villain. On an overall scale, Big Hero 6 is a rich, sweet, funny, touching & colourful tale of companionship from Walt Disney Animation Studios that’s skilfully narrated, superbly executed & emotionally satisfying for the most part, and has something in store for viewers of all ages. Sophisticated in all filmmaking departments, filled with heart & compassion, and exquisitely demonstrating the best of both Disney & Marvel in one action-packed feature that’s full of awe & admiration, Big Hero 6 continues Disney’s resurgence towards its lost glory & is one of this year’s finest animated flicks. Also, make sure you don’t miss out the accompanying short film named Feast that would put you in just the right mood for the main feature presentation.