Movie Review

Film Review: BIG HERO 6 (2014): A Film That Gives Us The Hiro We Deserve

Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 (2014) Film Review, a movie directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams and starring Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, and James Cromwell.

Big Hero 6 is the rare comic-book movie that fully embraces many of the elements that have made comic-books successful for the past 75 years. The end result is a fresh and engaging take on the modern day super hero origin story that also packs an unexpected level of depth. With its stunning production values, moving story and hilarious characters, Big Hero 6 distinguishes itself from 2014’s crowded field of both super hero and animated films and offers an entertaining experience for audiences of all ages.

Big Hero 6 is the origin story of a 6 member super hero team which centers on a boy named Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) and his newly acquired robotic sidekick Baymax (Scott Adsit) as they attempt to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Hiro’s brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney). Big Hero 6 could easily be described as a boy and his creature film reminiscent of E.T. and The Iron Giant, although simply referring to the film as a buddy story would be selling it short. While Hiro is just one of many characters in a long line of Disney movie orphans, his tale spends a great deal of time focusing on what it means to lose loved ones. What sets Hiro’s character arc apart from the orphans in most films is that Big Hero 6 does more than use the death of family members as a plot device that sends the protagonist off on an adventure. Tadashi’s death is the ocean that the film dives into in order to explore how we deal with pain and anguish. There is an earnest sensibility in the way this film portrays love and loss that never strays into melodrama. The film does a wonderful job of illustrating numerous manifestations of people exhibiting grief and even though we may not agree with the decisions that the lamenting characters make, we can understand why they decided to make those choices.

The exhaustive amount of precision placed into every single pixel of this film shows a dedication to the craft evocative of a master at work. In creating Big Hero 6, Disney has displayed a level of passion, dedication and artistry that has positioned it a tier above everything else out there right now. My eyes were overwhelmed as they took in the fanatical level of detail applied to the scuff marks on every wall, reflections on shiny surfaces and scratches and chipped paint on doors. I suspect that had I been able to pause the film and zoom in on the screen there would have been smudged finger prints on the glass windows. San Fransokyo (the virtual amalgamation of San Francisco and Tokyo that the characters inhabit) is such a richly detailed and highly actualized place that it elevates itself above being a backdrop for the events of the film and becomes a major character itself. Never before have I seen an animated feature that so accurately captures the actual feeling of a busy metropolis during a mid-day rush. Big Hero 6 is a monumental achievement in visual storytelling that demands your attention.

My only complaint about Big Hero 6 was that it never took the time to explore why Hiro didn’t have any friends of his own. The audience is left to make the assumption that the cocky nature and off-the-charts genius that Hiro displayed at the beginning of the film would have made it difficult for him to maintain friendships with kids his own age. While the majority of the film is spent exploring the relationship between Hiro and Baymax the characters rounding out the super hero team are given just enough to do so that they don’t feel like completely one dimensional side-kicks. Each of the four characters that fill out the rest of the team come across as smart, funny, and interesting and never feel like a distraction from Hiro and Baymax’s journey. Although T.J. Miller is given the most to do with his bombastic portrayal of the film’s comic book zealot Fred, each character is given a moment to shine and fits well into the dynamics of this very unique superhero team.

While many franchises continue to retread the same tired superhero origin story clichés it is refreshing to see the way that Disney took this fledgling franchise into a fresh new direction. On the surface, Big Hero 6 looks like a candy-coated super hero thrill ride that allows us to vicariously live out every child’s comic-book fantasy but upon further inspection the film explores the pain and suffering that comes with loss and the consequences that arise from how we choose to deal with it. In the end, Big Hero 6 provides some laughs, some tears, and most importantly some reasons to feel optimistic about the overpopulated superhero film genre.

Rating: 8.5/10

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About the author

Victor Stiff

Born and raised in Toronto, Victor has spent the past decade using his love and knowledge of the city to highlight and promote significant cultural events such as TIFF, The IIIFA awards, and the Anokhi Gala. He is an avid reader of Sci-fi and Horror and constantly sits through indie film marathons in rabid anticipation of the genre’s next great film auteurs. He also contributes sci-fi and fantasy movie reviews to www.zone-six.net

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