Following on from the mega-smash Frozen, Disney look to an obscure Marvel comic book for there next animation; Big Hero 6. Following the successful branching out from the plain old romantic stories to exploring the sisterly relationship, this does the same but with brothers.
It is the near future and in neo-city San Fransokyo 14-year-old boy genius Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) spends his free time developing robots to participate in illegal, underground fights for money. After one such fight he is rescued from a beating by his brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) who works for a university developing advanced technology. His latest project is a robotic healthcare assistant named Baymax (Scott Adsit). Inspired by his brother and his mentor Professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell), Hiro develops a collection of tiny robots called Nanobots that can be controlled by a psychic band around the users head. But after an attack on the University by a masked Kabuki warrior, the nanobots are stolen and Hiro and Baymax must team up with other tech genius’ to find the mystery man and stop his nefarious plans.
Establishing itself as both a family drama, an out-and-out comedy and a superhero origins story, Big Hero 6 uses its little-known source material to deliver a patented genre-leaping narrative. The future world is partly inspired by Blade Runner, but being Disney is a lot lighter and breezier in its approach. While the members of the superhero team are nicely voice acted by the likes of Damon Wayans Jr. and TJ Young it is Adsit as Baymax who steals the show.
Using a combination of slapstick comedy and honesty to the point of social awkwardness Baymax is a robot that everyone in the audience would want. Imbued with an inflatable squishiness, he is as adorable as he is resilient and caring, while his inability to perfect a fist bump from Hiro highlight just how hilarious social interactions like that might be to someone outside of pop culture. Disney have always made a point of developing intriguing and lovable characters and in Baymax Big Hero 6 has one for the ages.
The opening act is packed full of belly laughs and fascinating minute detail, but once the film slips into more traditional coming-of-age fare it loses some of its charm. There are moments that drag and the impact from certain dramatic scenes involving the team don’t really work. Fortunately the relationship between Hiro and Baymax overcomes the predictable twists and turns and when they have their big moment you realise just how much you care about both of them.
Big Hero 6 is another neat addition into the Disney catalogue, although doesn’t have the legs to compete with the likes of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. But it more than matches Frozen and it’s always interesting to see Disney branch out from their ˜princess stories.’