Twitter Plot Summary: A boy genius seeks to defeat a Kabuki mask-wearing villain who stole his invention with a group of friends and Baymax the vinyl med-robot.
For those seeing the film at the cinema there is a bonus animated short before the main feature called Feast. This is a charming story about a dog, Winston, and his owner presented in a superb cel-shaded style. In brief, the dog receives all sorts of junk food until his owner meets a woman. The food soon becomes healthier until the relationship sours, and then it’s up to Winston to intervene and pull his owner out of his depression. It’s a typically great Disney short and conveys a lot with almost no dialogue.
Now, for the main feature. Big Hero 6 is the latest Disney film and the first in their animated line to draw influence from their acquisition of the Marvel stable of characters. That will no doubt come as a surprise to many, as the Big Hero 6 are hardly one of the better known Marvel comics. Heck, there’s probably more people out there who know about Squirrel Girl than the Big Hero 6. Until now, that is.
Hiro is a 13 year old boy living in San Fransokyo (yes, it is a very silly name) who despite being a boy genius is heading down the wrong path by taking part in illegal robot fights. His older brother Tadashi steps in and points him towards a more productive path, that of robot design. Hiro designs a potentially world-changing microbot, but a personal tragedy then strikes and he is only roused back into action by Baymax and the discovery that his invention is being used for evil. He recruits a group of friends who each have distinctive powers and they set out to become superheroes.
The action is well handled, although they are frequently less powerful than the moments of humour, of which there are plenty. The animation too is incredibly detailed with every frame bustling with action and movement. It’s amazing the level of detail we can get in animated films these days, especially when you consider them against the original Toy Story.
In terms of the villain, the Kabuki mask dude looks the part but doesn’t have all that much to do in the grand scheme of things. His Stargate-style weapon is hardly original, although his reasons for being slightly evil do have believable origins. Likewise, Hiro’s friends are poorly sketched and are little more than an array of varying skills rather than defined personalities. It’s the one main area in which Big Hero 6 doesn’t quite fire on all cylinders, but it gets things spot on between Hiro and Baymax. The former is jaded and angry, the latter a big, huggable vinyl bundle of joy. Whether he’s petting a cat and calling it a hairy baby, proving himself incapable of punching down a door, or acting like he’s had a few too many to drink when his batteries run low, he is a constant delight and toy sales will no doubt go through the roof.
The plot may be in slightly too much of a rush to get to the finale, but the emotional journey of Hiro and his relationship with Baymax is the thing that will keep you coming back for repeat viewings. That and the desire to own your own Baymax. Just because.