Sunday, November 9, 2014

Movie Review: "Big Hero 6" (2014)

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Movie"Big Hero 6"
Director: Don Hall and Chris Williams
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

A child prodigy in robotic engineering named Hiro (Ryan Potter) has been using his talents to build battle robots and gamble on bot fighting. After getting arrested, his brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) manages to convince Hiro to apply at his university after showing him the science lab where students develop new technologies. In order to get into the school, Hiro must impress Professor Callaghan (James Cromwell), who is head of the science department, at the annual science fair hosted by the university. For his project, Hiro creates tiny microbots that can be telepathically controlled by wearing a special headband and can combine to make solid metal structures, transportation and much more.  Callaghan is extremely impressed by the microbots, as is an industrialist named Alistair Krei (Alan Tudyk). Krei offers to buy the microbots, but Hiro declines. Shortly after, a fire breaks out at the school, and in an attempt to save Professor Callaghan, Tadashi is killed. This drives Hiro into a depression and when he accidentally hurts his foot, it activates a medical robot his brother was working on called Baymax (Scott Adsit), who, in an effort to help Hiro cope, stumbles upon the truth behind the fire and a mysterious masked man who set it to steal Hiro's microbots. Hiro, along with Tadashi's classmates, Go Go (Jamie Chung), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Fred (T.J. Miller), use their smarts and engineering skills to develop special suits that give the wearer superpowers in order to combat this mysterious masked man and the stolen microbots. 

This is Disney's first attempt at taking on a Marvel comic book outside of Marvel Studios (IE: where Ironman, Captain America, The Avengers, etc get made). It did not disappoint! Disney Animation has sure stepped up their game in the last few years. It seems like they have found their voice again after floundering a little bit. "Big Hero 6" is just that: big, plus exciting, fun, funny, action-packed, colorful, and heartfelt. Though it keeps a little bit of their signature depressed orphan main character early on in the film, it quickly regroups and eventually ends on a high note with lots of mischief, laughter, and superpowers in the middle. Those who are hardcore fans of the comic book (if there are any) may criticize this adaptation as it does make massive changes from the source material. Many of these changes revolve around making the movie as a whole more appealing to kids and adults alike, but since we didn't know anything about the comic before we saw this movie, it didn't hinder our enjoyment of it one bit!

While there are many intriguing and engaging characters in this film, the real star is Baymax. Baymax is a large, plush, lovable marshmallowy robot with a soothing voice and a knack for the literal. He is responsible for most of the movie's comedy because he takes things so literally. When Hiro is down and out about his brother and consumed with his grief, Baymax is there to pick him up and lift his spirits. His calmness during the calamity helps Hiro heal his broken heart. Eventually, he starts to act as a surrogate brother to Hiro because, just like Tadashi designed him to be, there is a piece of him inside Baymax. We have no doubt he will become one of Disney's most popular attractions/money makers in no time.

This movie also takes young adults who are extremely intelligent and puts them in the forefront as superheroes. This, to us, is amazing. They are atypical nerds, not socially awkward or fumbling, bumbling bookworms as they are often portrayed. They are just a normal group of kids who love science and technology and also happen to be really smart. Each character has their own design and individuality, which shows that there is no sameness with what constitutes a "nerd." You wouldn't know by looking at them that they were nerds, which often has a very stereotypical look associated with that branding. It lets the kids watching know that being smart and being good in school is cool, and that science and technology are much more than what you can learn from books. With the right combination of imagination, playfulness, and hard work, you can be creative and be whatever you want to be as long as you love it. We also think that what "Frozen" can be for little girls, "Big Hero 6" should be for little boys, as these movies don't follow the typical norm for cartoon movies.

The way this movie is able to deal with grief is really commendable. It's obvious enough for even younger kids to understand. The message is that hopefully, you can deal with your grief in a positive manner, like Hiro, who had some missteps along the way but realized that it's okay to be sad about losing someone. At the same time, he found out that he shouldn't close himself off to the outside world because his friends and family were there to help him in his hour of need. Others in the film dealt with their grief in less constructive manners. Though it is hard at first, if you lose someone, they are never truly gone as long as you keep them in your hearts and minds.

And yes, I did cry.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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