Take a Drink: for each fist pump
Take a Drink: for each adorable moment from Baymax
Take a Drink: whenever you get the feels
Do a Shot: for each great reference
By: Matt Conway (A Toast) –
Animation at this point is mostly used for comedies and some fantasy action flicks, but one genre I’ve always wanted to see animation used in is a superhero film. Superhero films at this point have become as close to comic books as they can, with fast-paced action and clever dialogue being the focal point each of these respective film genres. These aspects are a quality that would fit an animated film nicely, as their colorful look and ability to create the impossible with ease makes them an appealing option.
Now it seems audiences are finally getting that with Big Hero 6, which is loosely based off of a comic book of the same name. Ever since Disney bought Marvel, I anticipated the idea that they could really incorporate the property into their own brand, but so far they have not. They have yet to use any of Marvel’s major heroes in a film or television show, despite the potential that has. The really should start doing so, though, as this first collaboration with Marvel is one of Disney’s best, and one of my favorite superhero films of recent memory.
After a tragedy involving his brother, Hiro meets Baymax, an invention of his brother who is used to help those in need. Along with his friends, Hiro conjures the idea to form a superhero team to stop the mysterious Yokai, who has stolen one of Hiro’s inventions.
The voice cast here is full of great talents, and all of them do a fantastic job. Unlike most voice casts which just stick well-known names in the film for marketing purposes, the cast is filled with less-known, but talented people. Young Ryan Potter does a great job as Hiro, portraying a teen who is growing up and facing tragedy. Scott Adsit has been a solid character actor previously in 30 Rock, but disappears into his role as Baymax. It’s a fascinating character, and the mannerisms Adsit adds really makes it feel like a fully realized character.
Really stealing the show, however, is TJ Miller, who continues to grow as one of the funniest people in Hollywood. Miller as always injects a lot of energy and charm into his role, and it’s no surprise he is the focus of most of the laughs here. The rest of the voice cast, including Daniel Henney, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., and Maya Rudolph all do a solid job, as it’s easy to tell by their excited voices that they are having a lot of fun with the role.
Big Hero 6 is honestly one of, if not the funniest film of the year so far. Five writers here collaborated on this effort, and it’s a surprisingly great effort. As I discussed in my review of The Book of Life last month, a lot of kids films center most of their attention on making kids laugh, leaving adults out to dry. Big Hero 6 is able to achieve the rare feat of having jokes that both kids and adults can laugh at, that don’t condescend to the kids watching the film. A lot of this is due to the simple mannerisms of Baymax, as the character just through a fist bump and his mannerisms can get some great laughs.
The film looks gorgeous. It’s not surprising that a Disney animated film has crisp and clean animation, but this may truly be their best looking film yet. The unique city of San Fransokyo is stunning, with each backdrop and setting being eye-popping. There were quite a few shots here that were truly remarkable, and reminded me how animation can really create some beautiful imagery. Big Hero 6 also uses 3D quite well, with the imagery really benefiting from the extra dimension.
With the animation looking great, the action scenes get an extra boost. The directing duo of Chris Williams and Don Hall have some experience directing action, with Williams previous directing Bolt, but the duo outdo themselves here. All of these action setpieces have a great of scale to them, with even the smaller fights feeling rather epic. Anytime an action scene comes up, a rush of energy is added to the film, with all of these setpieces being quite exciting.
While these raves make this sound like a fun film, Big Hero 6 really shines above most animated films because it takes chances in the story department. Both animated and superhero films have their fair share of deaths, but either its of more minor characters or the characters are resurrected. Here, Big Hero 6 is centered around the death of one of the main characters early, and it’s really a dark, emotional moment. I was surprised in general how the film dealt with more adult themes like revenge and grieving, but handled them with a great deal of restraint and honesty.
This genuine nature leads to surprisingly emotional moments. Death is something we all as people have to go through, some at an earlier stage than others. Seeing the young Hiro trying to grow as into a man as a teenager and struggling with tragedy is heartbreaking, as we have all dealt with the same in our lives. The film teaches an important message to children, that it’s important to fight through tragedy, but still honor those loved ones we have lost. This journey through grief for Hiro is something that touched me deeply, and was surprising to see.
Big Hero 6 is a rare treat that soars with a lot of creativity, big laughs, and a surprising amount of emotional depth. Honestly, this is one of the best superhero films I’ve seen in a long time, and I can not wait to see these characters again on the big screen.
Last Call: Stick around for the after credits scene, it’s fantastic