When I started the Axia Film Society at an Autism Inclusive meeting back in August 2014, one of the request I got was to do a couple of Disney Films when I got the chance. The downside to that was, that there wasn’t that many Disney Films coming out at that time. I expected I would get to be Big Hero 6, but then I discovered that the film wasn’t coming out over here until January, so I decided to make sure that when it came out, this would definitely be on the review schedule. I put it on not knowing exactly what to expect as the trailers hadn’t fully convinced me to the idea of the film. However the praise it was getting in America was starting to convince me. Plus, because of my profession, I am doomed to review every single comic film that comes out, every year, no matter how good or bad they turn out to be! With that being said, I went into the film with trepidation that it could be really good, but it also could potentially be another dumb kids film that no adult should have to sit through when they take their kids to the cinema.
Let’s move on to the plot. Now last week I reviewed another comic film and drew a lot of parallels to the comic in my review, however, this week I haven’t really got that option because I am very limited on my knowledge of Big Hero 6 outside of watching Variant comics video on its history on youtube which is a channel I would highly recommend. All I know is it was a Marvel superhero team that we’e based out of Japan in the original and had some connection to the X Men books and a brief crossover with Spiderman. So in this case I am purely going to talk about the film on the basis of its film adaptation and not draw parallels to the comic, since Marvel hasn’t released any of the story lines in graphic novel form. Before I get fully into the plot of Big Hero 6 I should mention that each screening of the film also comes with a short called “feast” (which is nominated for an oscar for best Animated short). I will briefly say that the short is really well animated and an excellent use of silent film and it uses the 3D format really well, so you won’t be too bored by this film, and the design of the dog was really good, plus the animation is impeccable.
Now Big Hero 6 itself’s plot centres around the hero Hiro Hamada and his attempts to stop a villain with his new friend Baymax after his technology was stolen in a fire at University that results in the death of his brother Tadashi. Now the plot may sound very basic, but it deals with a lot of subjects such as the loss of a loved one and coping strategies, very well. These are some of the strongest points of the plot and the plot for the most part overall is very strong despite the fact it is a very much, by the numbers superhero story when you think about it. I think this is mainly down to it’s very likeable cast. Each of the characters are pretty interesting, with a few exceptions to the rule, though I do believe that most of these characters feel kind of stock at times and like you could have seen them in a lot of other kid’s films.
With that being said, I really enjoy the relationship between Hiro and Baymax, they become very close in a really believable way and it’s really great to watch and follow. The subject of the loss of a loved one is also handled a lot better in this film than in most average family films, which I think can often trivialise the subject a bit too much and offer too much of a simple solution. This film makes the characters loss feel very believable, especially considering that a good chunk of the beginning of the film is used to develop Hiro and Tadashi’s relationship, and how close they are together. As for the rest of the characters, they are nice enough but as I said before, they do feel kind of stock and could have been in other films. None of them really annoyed me on a large level, with the exception of Fred, who really should have learned to shut his mouth every so often and not constantly talk all the time. I must admit that the plot’s biggest weakness is its villain. He’s not too bad of a villain, but he could have been a lot better. I must be honest, I love the the design and stolen technology that he uses because it looks great. I will get further into that when I discuss the film’s presentation. Also, despite the mask, it’s fairly obvious who the villain is, they try to give you a red herring early on, but it really doesn’t work out and you can see the plot’s twists coming. The last aspect that didn’t fully work for me was the humour, which is very hit and miss, particularly with Fred’s lines but when the humour hits it’s good. It doesn’t sound like I really enjoyed this film’s plot, but I must be honest, I actually really did. By the end of the film I was really satisfied with having gone through the story, I just think it could have used a couple of extra touches to make it perfect. The film’s ending hints at a sequel, and if there is going to be one I definitely think I would come back to see it again. I think what sums up the plot’s biggest strength is it doesn’t treat it’s audience like idiots. It may, from what I’ve heard, simplify the Marvel comic it is based on a bit, but it does feel like a movie that’s made for both a mature audience and for kids and I think it will please on both levels. I loved Hiro and Baymax, and let’s face it, I think there are going to be a lot of people who agree with me, they are characters that I really grew to enjoy by the end of the film.
Now let’s move on the actors. Now there are no real celebrity voices in this film, it’s mainly well known voice actors but I think that aides the film because it allows us to actually see these people as characters, rather than celebrities in a recording booth like some films have done in the past. The strongest performances in the film for me were, Ryan Porter as Hiro and Scott Adsit as Baymax, particularly Scott who does an excellent job of playing the role in a very inhuman voice to sell the artificial intelligence personality, and how they managed to get that out of him is a credit to the voice directors. Ryan Potter also makes an excellent HIro, he really sells the likeability and believability of his character and what he is going through and the voice matches the character almost perfectly. Daniel Henney is really good as Tadashi although he isn’t really in the film long enough to let his performance stand out, but I really thought he was very good in the role and that he and Ryan have excellent chemistry. TJ Miller is ok as Fred, but I think he plays too much of the stoner nerd stereotype a bit too far and it does come across as a bit annoying at times. Damon Wayans Jr is pretty decent as Wasabi. The rest of the group were pretty good as well. Jamie Chung as Go Go and Genesis Rodriguez as Honey Lemon were both relatively enjoyable. The only performances that were a bit off at times for me were James Cromwell as Robert Callaghan and Alan Tudyk as Alistair Krei. I don’t know, I don’t think they sold their performances as well, and it’s a shame because Alan Tudyk was really good in Wreck-it Ralph, so we know he can do brilliant voice acting, maybe he should have been given a slightly bigger role and he could have shown him off. Other than that the cast was great and I really enjoyed them.
Let’s get on to the Presentation. Now I will warn you, if you want to see this film in 3D like I did, Odeon Cinemas are only at the time of me writing this review, showing it in 3D at weekends and they only give 2 screenings a day, so it is a lot more difficult that I realised to see this film in 3D. I went one further and went to see the film in IMAX 3D and I will say this is one of the films which I think really benefits from 3D conversion. I’ve always believed that animation is better for 3D than live action as you can really set the shots to work with it, particularly 3D animation and this is the prime example of it. The shots really pop out and feel lively and vibrant. It’s a credit to the animator’s and director’s that they manage to get the 3D to work so well. Although the shots look like they were really made to work with the 3D, however, I don’t believe those shots will be detracted in any way if you insist on seeing a 2D screening or if your cinema isn’t showing a 3D at the time you want to go, as I said, it was every difficult for me to find a way to see this film in 3D, which I think is a shame as I think it’s probably the best way to see this film. The animation in this film is excellent. The art style is brilliant, it’s probably the best example I can think of a western studio doing an anime. Which isn’t surprising, considering a lot of the art direction and animation of the film was designed by Ben 10 creator Man of Action. You can definitely see a lot of the art style has been bought over from Ben 10, but I think this one goes a lot further with the anime-esque element. The animation also flows beautifully, I love these locations. I practically wanted to live in the fictional city of San Fransokyo because it is one of the best designs of a location I have ever seen blendeding Japanese and American culture almost perfectly. The fantasy realm at the end of the film was excellent and I loved it and I am not giving away too much of a spoiler by mentioning that. Baymax’s design is also brilliant and I really enjoyed the way the characters look, especially in their superhero outfits. These were really cleverly designed. That being said, the design and 3D aren’t going to be worth it unless the action is great and believe me the action is one of the best portions of the film! It’s well choreographed, well shot and it plays to the strength of the animation. It really feels like a mega blockbuster superhero film that Marvel would normally produce. Nothing has been dumbed down for the Disney market and they really take advantage of the abilities of the characters, especially Baymax to make the scenes work and I really loved the micro bot technology that the villain uses to create Constructs it feels very similar to Fullmetal Alchemist in a lot of ways. Honestly I think the films visuals and action are actually one of the biggest strengths of the film. It is a beautiful film to look at. Thank goodness its also got the plot to back it up because otherwise it would have all meant nothing.
Now I wanted to make sure I had a second opinion on this film from another adult, so since my friend Simon was visiting me at the time (you may remember his comments in the Taken 3 review) I decided to take him along to it, especially considering this is a film that he wouldn’t normally go and see, this would really test if the film was any good. Now normally we really disagree on a lot of films, however, this time we came out with a similar reaction. We both really liked the film, but we did feel that the villain was the biggest weakness to the film and if he had been tweaked a bit more it would probably have been a film that we both would have absolutely adored. Simon’s thoughts were, that the 3D wasn’t necessary worth it, he would have been very happy with a 2D screening. So you can definitely take something from the fact that despite the fact that I believe you should see this film in 3D format, others may not enjoy the 3D as much. Also when we discussed the BAFTA’S and Oscars we both agreed that we would like to see it win best-animated film at the BAFTA’S because we both preferred it to The Lego Movie though when it came to the Oscars we both had slightly different opions. Simon said he would prefer How To Train Your Dragon 2 should take it because he enjoyed that movie more, I preferred Big Hero 6 to How To Train Your Dragon 2 but I think I would prefer the Oscar to go to Tales Of Princess Kaguya or Song Of The Sea neither of which I’ve seen because they come out here in March and July respectively (and may receive reviews upon release) but judging on the trailers and talent behind them I think those 2 are going be some of my favourite movies this year
Do I have any other negatives to say on this film. Yes, I don’t believe the film is blown up as well in the IMAX screen as it could have been and I’m not sure whether the IMAX screen was an initial thought of the film makers. Not everyone who reads this blog, lives in an area where seeing it in IMAX is a possibility, so you can take or leave that negative.
To summarise, Big Hero 6 is probably one of the better animated films aimed at a younger audience that I have seen in a long time. It really was a joy to watch and once again it’s a film that where it may have a few hiccups, they don’t bother my enjoyment of the overall film. Its been nominated for best animated picture at both the BAFTA’s and the Oscars and as I said while I would definitely like to see it get a BAFTA as I preferred it to the Box Trolls and The Lego Movie which it is up against (I am writing this at a time before I have actually seen the BAFTA’s). I’m not sure I would like it to win an Oscar simply on the basis that it is up against some excellent films in that category including How To Train Your Dragon 2 and the upcoming Song of the Sea and Tales of Princess Kaguya, once again both of which may receive reviews on this page. That being said, I would not object to this doing well at the awards. It was a really well told story with excellent animation and action and it had characters I would definitely like to see again in future films. If you have kids or you love animation this is definitely a film to see because judging from the trailers that I saw in the theatre this is the best we are going to get for a while. In short, I really liked it. Thank you to the people at Autism Inclusive who requested that I review a Disney film because I’m not sure I would have seen it otherwise.
So what were your thoughts on Big Hero 6. Was it a great translation of a Marvel comic without actually translating a Marvel comic like I thought, or were there more negatives than positives in this film. Please leave a comment if you have an opinion on this film. We accept all comments and opinions and you don’t need an account or be from a particular area. Once again if you would like to leave your own review on our site, please send a word document in a email to firstname.lastname@example.org all in lower case leaving your name in the email, though if you wish, we can let you remain anonymous on the actual site. For more details check my big eyes review
Now lets move on to this week’s question:
Since I have reviewed my first directly produced Disney Animated Film. I would like to know what your favourite Disney Animated films are?
Next Friday it is going to be 2 days away from the Oscars and I am going to review the last film to be nominated for best picture to be released in this country. On 20 February I will be releasing my review of “Selma”
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