Having recently visited New York for the Christmas period, I made sure to check out a film that wasn’t due for release in the UK for quite some time. I decided to go for Big Hero 6, Disney’s latest animated release which has opened to both critical and commercial success stateside. Rightly so too, as Big Hero 6 is another hit for Disney who have returned to top form, with films like Tangled, Wreck It Ralph and Frozen taking their place amongst some of the studio’s greatest works. It’s essentially what I call a ‘boy and his dog’ film, one which replaces man’s best friend for an alien, dragon or in this instance, a loveable and huggable robot named Baymax. Created by Tadashi Hamada, a robotics student in the multicultural city of San Fransokyo, Baymax is made with the intention of diagnosing and curing people’s illnesses. However, in typical Disney fashion, there is an accident at the university and Baymax soon finds himself in the care of Tadashi’s younger brother and fellow robotics genius, Hiro. Together, they soon cross paths with a super villian who may have had a hand in the ‘accident’ at the university, and form a superhero team with the other robotic students.
Since Disney bought up Marvel Studios in 2009, the divide between the two has been clearly defined. Until now. Big Hero 6, based on the little known Marvel comic, is the first film to feel like the brain child of the two, perfectly blending all of Disney’s usual charm and sentiment with Marvel’s action and adventure. It doesn’t necessarily offer much in terms of originality and it does hit all the same key moments from other films of its kind, but it takes enough time to build a story so that those moments have at least some gravitas to them. What the film does particularly well is deal with the theme of grief; something that again goes hand in hand with Disney, as Baymax’s healthcare function goes past the physical to the emotional as the marshmallow-like robot helps Hiro deal with his loss. It’s this element of the story that shines through all of the action and is the heart of the film.
From a visual standpoint, Big Hero 6 is crisp and vibrant, with occasional moments of sublime beauty with many eye widening sequences that fill the screen with colour. It has the good looks and the soul to go with it too, making Big Hero 6 a far from original but still highly enjoyable family film. There’s something in it for everybody and it’ll make you laugh, probably cry and definitely make you wish you had a Baymax of your own. With sharp visuals and a sharper wit, Big Hero 6 is a lovely story about friendship and sits nicely amongst Disney’s back catalogue.
On a separate note, as is often the case with Disney films, be sure to arrive early to catch the brand new short film, Feast. It tells the story of an abandoned puppy who is given a home and soon develops a relationship with food that every pet owner will probably be able to associate with. It’s a well observed and surprisingly romantic short that considering its running time, is as equally sweet and moving as the main feature.
Big Hero 6 is out in UK cinemas on January 30th, but be sure to keep an eye out for advance previews in the meantime.
Image credit to http://www.hitflix.com