"Big Hero 6" Review

Title: Big Hero 6
Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Genre(s): Action/Comedy
Rated: PG (For action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements)

Since Disney's acquisition of Marvel we have gotten more superhero movies than I could have ever dreamed of. In my day it was a big deal if we got a new Batman movie. Now we have Spider-Man, Thor, Hulk, and some superheroes I haven't even heard of. Disney's latest animated movie is “Big Hero 6,” which is based on a comic book by Marvel (though their name is conspicuously absent from the advertising). It features a team of superheroes I have never heard about and probably never would have otherwise. The movie is more like “The Incredibles” than “The Amazing Spider-Man,” however I found that made the movie more enjoyable as this was a movie about characters and their lives. Truthfully, I had no idea superhero powers would be involved in this until late in the film. The main protagonist is a young Asian boy named Hiro, who is a tech genius but is very depressed.

His older brother died in a fire that was potentially caused by a new technology he created. Now he blames himself and fends off all attempts to make him feel better. The only one he can't hold off is a medical robot named Baymax, a puffed up rubber machine that his brother created to help sick and injured people (and is hug friendly to boot). Like Olaf from “Frozen,” Baymax steals every scene he's in and is likely to become a huge star in the Disney universe. So if you got sick of a talking snowman, you might as well take preventive prescriptions now, because I have a feeling Baymax is going to rule the world for the next couple of years. This character acts like a robot (which makes sense I suppose), but he is instantly likable. Even when he dons red superhero gear it's hard not to smile whenever he is on screen. That may be the main reason I enjoyed this movie so much: It made me smile the whole time.

That doesn't make “Big Hero 6” a great Disney film by any measure. It is a very good Disney movie though. When I was younger one of the aspects I most looked forward to in a Disney film were the final battles with the villains. Since these characters are superheroes we now have a Disney film that has more memorable battle sequences that run longer than usual. All this is made more exciting by the villain of the film, an unnamed character who is simply referred to as the “guy in the kabuki mask.” He may be the best Disney villain we've seen in a long time. He's silent, looks scary, and has an ability to morph a bunch of computer circuits into whatever he wants. This includes weapons, boxes, and even cost efficient modes of transportation. It should be noted the villain does have a look that might scare younger kids. That may explain why Baymax comes off cuddlier than others; he needs to balance everything out.
The film is being shown in 3D in most theaters and that's the format to watch it in. There has been word that Disney has been losing interest in 3D because of diminishing returns, however, this movie shows that there is still life in the format if done correctly. Also adding to the visual charm of the film is the vibrant colors. I did watch the film and felt that it would have looked better had it been made in the classic hand drawn 2D style of animation, but those days are long gone now. Still, nostalgia aside, it's not the format of the film but the quality of the film that makes something good. There's a strong possibility that many people will watch this and say it's not as good as last years “Frozen.” That may be true, but to make that comparison is missing the point. “Big Hero 6” is a different kind of film than “Frozen” was, and it does its own thing and does it well. That should be more than enough for most families. It should especially be for families who can't bring their younger kids to all the PG-13 superhero films that get released. In that sense this movie is probably a godsend.

Parents, there are some suggestive jokes and some violence, but nothing above average for Disney. Recommended for ages 8 and up.