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Review: Big Hero 6

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Walt Disney has made some important acquisitions to add more brute to its strength. Two notable studios – Pixar Animation and Marvel Studios – have fortified Disney’s position. Big Hero 6 (BH6) is a domino effect from those two acquisitions. Pixar founder John Lasseter has been overseeing and has revitalized Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) back to prominence with Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen the past two years. The latter acquisition of the house that Lee, Ditko, and Kirby built has also allowed Disney to pull from the Marvel database of stories. BH6 is a much less popular comic and the WDAS adaptation is loosely based given the much more family-friendly tone vs. the original Marvel comics that included characters Sunfire and Silver Samurai on the cover. Those characters’ film rights are currently owned by 20th Century Fox, but aren’t really missed in this Disney version.

Writing: A+

Disney is filled with memorable characters due to the well-written scripts and BH6 is no different. Newcomers to the Disney animated universe – Baymax, Hiro and the rest of the super hero team – are destined to gain the same level of popularity as established characters such Woody, Buzz, and Wall-E. WDAS’ writing has been about changing up the formula as of late, even in Frozen, and BH6 is full of fresh ideas. Baymax approaches life in a very Wall-E-esque way and it’s a genius approach that contrasts much slower and deliberate dialogue against a fast-paced technologically advanced world.

Pacing: A

The film is very-well paced even in its fast paced world of San Fransokyo. The introduction, conflict, and resolution acts are unpredictable, but are very-well placed. There’s never a sense that the story is rushed in any way, which is a delight especially with animated films as of late.

Collective Performances: A+

Japanese-American actor Ryan Potter and television veteran Scott Adsit are entrusted with the lead roles of Hiro Hamada and Baymax respectively. The dynamic between the two characters is solid as both give excellent performances. Damon Wayans Jr.’s voice acting of Wasabi was also a breath of fresh air as an African American character in animation that’s not stereotypically portrayed. The supporting cast is solid with Maya Rudolph, Alan Tudyk, and James Cromwell lending their distinct voices to add credibility to the cast. Since it’s a Marvel-based story, there was even a Stan Lee voice cameo as well. Did you spot it? Collectively, a solid performance from the cast with a show-stealing performance from stand-up comedian T.J. Miller as science misfit Fred.

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Presentation: A-

If there’s one minor knock on BH6, there was really no clear art direction with the storyline. The story took place in a futuristic mash-up of San Francisco and Tokyo that’s inspired by many science fiction films; however, there really was no clear indication. The locations are similar to Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner world. As far as the art direction in comparison with WDAS’ Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6 had a dark and colorful pallet, but I could not nail down a consistent style. Outside of that one minor grip with the film, it is pure awesomeness to see in action. The technology at WDAS and Disney is becoming so much more evolved that the San Fransokyo world is brought to life with such detail. As far as soundtrack score, Disney has re-assigned Wreck-It Ralph composer Henry Jackman to help those tears come out of their ducts. The orchestral score is solid. Disney also employed the band Fall Out Boy to create the original song “Immortals” for the film.

Overall Grade: A

Big Hero 6’s plot is similar to WDAS’ Meet the Robinsons storyline except with no time traveling and its much more grown up. There are no T-Rex’s complaining about their short arms here. BH6 is a bold new direction from Walt Disney, as it may pave the way for more of Marvel’s stories to end up on the as the main animation entry every now and then. It’s definitely clear in the case of BH6, that Disney can use different stories that are a little more serious and still have that long-lasting Disney magic effect. Overall, like Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, another film franchise has just been created.

 

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Images Source: Big Hero 6 Facebook Page

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