At the Movies with Alan Gekko: Big Hero 6

MPAA Rating: PG/ Genre: Animated Superhero/ Voices of: Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk, Maya Rudolph, Katie Lowes, Daniel Gerson, Paul Briggs, David Shaughnessy, Billy Bush, Stan Lee/ Runtime: 102 minutes

I think it is safe to say that the slice of cinematic pie that I am reviewing today, 2014’s Big Hero 6, is one that manages to see a team-up of a dynamic duo of the world of movie magic’s top genres in the past 20 years in the forms of not only the jaw-dropping animated film, but also the incredible superhero film respectively. To that end, it can be said that Big Hero 6 manages to utilize nothing but the absolute best ingredients from these 2 universes and is a movie that many will see as a union of sorts between a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy (released the same year as this incidentally) and Wall*E (oh and the fact that I picked 2 movies released by Disney to describe another release by Disney is not a coincidence. Just a matter of convenience) which results in a film that has a ton of riveting action to throw around, characters that are so well-done that most other animated films should be taking notes, a respect for detail that is just incredible, and a heart as big as its heroics. Thus I think it is safe to say that Big Hero 6 is proof that when it comes to animation few if any do it better than Disney especially when seeing not only almost flawless this movie is, but also in seeing just how wide reaching of an audience it is able to garner, how memorable it manages to be, and just how enjoyable you and your little superheroes in training will find this thus resulting in a genuine slice of movie magic that you will want to see time and time again (even if it’s through a box of tissues….trust me you’ll thank me later).

The plot is as follows: Big Hero 6 takes us to the distant city of San Fransokyo and introduces us to a young man by the name of Hiro. Hiro, we rather quickly are able to pick up on, is a truly gifted and intelligent kid who would rather make use of his intelligence in robot fight clubs instead of go after more lucrative and worthwhile endeavors namely going to college. To that end, we see one day his equally as brilliant older brother Tadashi, in an act of love, takes our boy genius to the lab he works at the university where our intrepid hero finds himself introduced to Tadashi’s group of pals including goof-off but well-meaning Fred, the tough yet loyal and specializing in electromagnetics Go Go, the brilliant laser specialist Wasabi, and the friendly chemist Honey Lemon. Tadashi also takes the time to show off to our intrepid hero some phenomenal new tech that the group has been working on including something Tadashi has been developing in the form of a medical aid robot by the name of Baymax. Suffice it to say that Hiro is amazed by what he sees and when this is further built up on by a meeting with a legendary professor named Callaghan who extends him an invitation to join them courtesy of showing what he can do by conjuring up an incredible gadget of his own. Yet whilst our intrepid hero is able to do just that things horrifically go awry and in the process change Hiro’s world forever. To that end, we witness as Hiro becomes a shell of his former self in that he literally has vanished from the public eye and is unwilling to make much of an effort to do anything let alone pursue the dreams he still holds near and dear to him. However when Baymax is left on his front door and then accidentally brought to life, we see that this dynamic duo is able to actually bond and with the help of Tadashi’s gang of friends, decide to embark on an adventure to get Hiro’s drive back as well as solve a mystery that, if not solved, could have potentially lethal fallout for not just our gang of heroes, but for all of San Fransokyo as well….

Now right off the bat I feel it should be said that Big Hero 6 really truly is an emotional character-focused “buddy” slice of cinematic pie that is hidden under articles that might suggest it is more of an entry in the Action genre of movie magic complete with subtle yet potent moments of comedy. Indeed as it weaves its way through the odyssey shared by our intrepid hero Hiro and his robot sidekick Baymax, this slice of cinematic pie uses the quest they are going on as a vital instrument to better construct the growing bond between them with the emotionally scarred Hiro in one corner and the way too assertive and lacking in the pathos department Baymax in the other corner, a being that incidentally it is worth mentioning is one that has a bit of trouble truly comprehending the intricacies of how people behave yet is still nevertheless driven to see Hiro (or any other individual for that matter) healed no matter what. Indeed their joint quest manages to conjure up a greater comprehension of what they both need as we see that Hiro is able to locate a degree of necessary comfort and sympathy in Baymax whilst Baymax, even it is on a rudimentary level, is able to comprehend just what Hiro is requiring beyond the most basic medical explanation possible. Suffice it to say then that in the character of Baymax, I think it can be said that the creative team behind this slice of cinematic pie have managed to conjure up one of the most incredible human-constructed beings ever shown in a movie before. Indeed not only is he (?) a brilliant poster child for how aloof a robot can be, but he is also given just enough warmth and desire to relate to the people in his care that he is elevated beyond just a machine and provided with as close to a soul and heart as he could get without forfeiting his aloof charm and wit. Indeed if I could think of any way to describe him that would give you an idea of what to expect then I would say to think, personality wise, the android Data from Star Trek whilst physically looking like a kid-friendly mix between the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters and the mascot for Michelin in one body. Yet even though this slice of cinematic pie does poke quite a bit of fun at the character of Baymax, it also at the same time does form a beautiful connection between him (?) and both our intrepid hero Hiro, but also each and every one of us watching as well thus giving us one of the most delightful, caring, and iconic robots I have seen in a slice of cinematic pie in a long time.

As for every other area that a slice of cinematic pie like this needs to do wonders in in order to succeed, I think it is safe to say that this movie is an unequivocal triumph. Indeed not only is this slice of cinematic pie a genuinely great example for how to utilize technical sorcery to make every detail spot-on, but it also is able to conjure up a lively, fully immersive locale that might seem familiar despite taking place in a possible future, but is still novel through how complex it is enough to leave you in appreciating awe. Not only that, but the respect given to detail in even the tiniest of ways is so incredible that don’t be surprised if you find yourself repeatedly pausing the film just to take everything in that the animators have done and which has resulted in a truly immersive viewing experience that feels as real as anything digital animation has been able to pull off. Yet remarkably this magic isn’t just limited to what this slice of cinematic pie is able to do from a visual perspective. Indeed I say that because this slice of cinematic pie is one that comes full to the brim with subtle yet effective touches in regards to the character, sound, and musical accompaniment departments that all manage to work together in synchronicity in order to give us that much more of a magical time watching this film. Perhaps the best thing this film has going for it though is that it isn’t just a showcase for its technical ingredients and actually offers audiences a riveting, emotional, and human narrative as well. Indeed this is because even when looking past the main bond that forms between Hiro and Baymax, this movie manages to thrive on an immersive, complex and yet relatable narrative that deals with a few themes that are truly universal in relatability including dealing with an unexpected loss, overcoming when something bad happens to you, and the power that friendship can have in helping you overcome and finding your way back to who you were meant to be. Yes I feel I should warn you this slice of cinematic pie does decide to go to some dark and emotional places at times, but by doing so it is also able to come to a heartwarming conclusion with a main idea that is constructed on the concept of loss be it from a physical or pathos perspective and understanding that the two are not tied at the hip and that even in death a life can still have significance and help provide someone with a feeling of purpose even if they can no longer physically be there every single day to encourage them along the way.

All in all I am pleased to say that Big Hero 6 is a truly beautiful entry in the genre of movie magic known as animation seeing as it is filled to the brim with exciting action, possessing a wonderful cast of characters, and operating on equal parts comedy and heart alike. Suffice it to say then that film helmers Don Hall and Chris Williams have a truly iconic piece of work on their hands in that here is a slice of cinematic pie that, in under a couple of hours no less, manages to prove itself a riveting showcase for just about everything that could be seen as a positive that mainstream movie magic has come to be able to delight movie goers with for the past twenty years or so. Thus I think it can be said then that Big Hero 6 not only is really truly one of the long-gone year known as 2014’s finest, but also a slice of cinematic pie that you and your family can sit down and cherish now and always even if you might need a box of tissues handy each time you choose to do so. On a scale of 1-5 I give Big Hero 6 a solid 4 out of 5.