BY RYAN MILOWICKI
When I first heard about Big Hero 6, my first thought was that the title sounded disappointingly generic and that an animated Marvel movie was bound to feel like a straight-to-DVD cash grab. But fear not: Disney’s first animated crack at Marvel source material is a colorful, visually stimulating immersion into a world of cultural diffusion rich with detail and imagination. The fictional mashup of San Fransokyo is a beautifully-rendered mix of East and West, complete with a Japanese-influenced take on the Golden Gate Bridge. In the way only Disney can, Big Hero 6 brings the dizzying action we’ve come to expect and love from Marvel movies and transformed it into charming and memorable fare for the littlest superhero fans.
Despite being bogged down at times by an overly simple and derivative plot, Big Hero 6 utilizes comedy to full effect and crafts some truly interesting characters and relationships. Combined with the stunning visuals and a very effective score, Disney’s only animated output this year is bound to be a hit with viewers of all ages.
Big Hero 6 plays out as a lengthy origin story, but one which contains nearly all the elements of a great hero’s journey. Hiro (not too subtle, eh?) is a 14-year-old genius who would rather use his intellect to become an underground robot fighting champion than a student of engineering. At the request of his older brother Tadashi, Hiro develops an amazing invention which gets him into the most prestigious technical college: microbots which behave according to the mind of the user, with limitless possibilities for use. The night of the competition, a devastating fire takes Tadashi’s life, and presumably Hiro’s invention with it. Struggling to cope with the death of his brother, Hiro stumbles upon Baymax, an oversized rubbery healthcare robot programmed to help the needs of any patient. As the two strike up a relationship, Hiro learns that a masked villain has salvaged Hiro’s microbots and is mass-producing them to increase his own power. With Baymax and the help of Tadashi’s four closest friends, Hiro uses his technical knowhow to turn their collective talents into superpowers, and form a team strong enough to take on the mysterious villain.
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