The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

'Big Hero 6': Fun, fast, fantastic

The Marvel classic makes another superb Disney animated feature

Walt Disney Animations Studios' latest feature film effort — “Big Hero 6” — is a mostly-stellar addition to the company’s timeless resume. Loosely based on Marvel’s own “Big Hero 6” comic book line, the film serves as an origin story, covering the introductory moments between Hiro and Baymax up to their first conflict.

The studio's diversion from the source material is surprising, and likely a contributing factor to the film's rather severe pacing issues. Nonetheless, the film does enough right, specifically the excellent animation style used, the phenomenal action and set pieces and an overall gripping second half.

“Big Hero 6” stars Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter), a 14-year-old boy genius who graduated high school at age 13. He has taken up building robots and fighting them in illegal street fights to make money. His brother, Tadashi (voiced by Daniel Henney), invites Hiro to his lab at university and introduces Hiro to his latest creation: Baymax (voiced by Scott Adsit), a health care companion designed to help people in distress. The story evolves into a superhero adventure in which Hiro and Baymax team up to discover the identity of the Kabuki Mask Man.

Much of the exposition leading up to Baymax’s introduction suffers from poor pacing. The film tries very hard to ground its characters with motivations, relationships and experiences before the main conflict of the film is introduced, but too much is crammed into the short space allotted for exposition.

Viewers are pushed and pulled from one scene to another; the intimate moments dedicated to creating rounded individuals ultimately feeling forced and rushed. The exposition is necessary, however, and once the film finds its rhythm it is gratifying to see the characters fully realized, making the climactic moments all the more powerful.

Animation helps transport viewers into the film’s world even when the storyline does not. Vibrant characters pop on the screen, water flows in and out of fantastical environments, and light shines naturally through every window.

The city where the film takes place, San Fransokyo, is further proof of Disney Animation Studio’s mastery. An interesting mix of San Francisco and Tokyo, San Fransokyo has all the recognizable backdrops of San Francisco with added Japanese flares. Filbert Street is lined with cherry blossoms, and the Golden Gate Bridge is outfitted with torii (a traditional Japanese gate usually placed at the entrance of shrines).

“Big Hero 6” contains all the necessary action movie elements: an interesting villain, jaw-dropping set pieces and mind-numbing action. The Kabuki Mask Man, dressed in all black except for his red and white mask, is both frightening and impressive as he chases Hiro and Baymax across the city.

As battles heat up, sparks fly across the screen, flooding the screen with a rainbow of colors. The fights stand out as one of the most satisfying aspects of the film. Each punch connects with a gratifying thud, glass shatters into millions of reflective pieces, and concrete is crushed as robots are thrown to the ground from thousands of feet up. Not one action scene fails to mesmerize, and viewers are left eager for the next one, any ultimate disappointment stemming solely from the inevitable closing credits.

Overall, the film is a fun, fast and fantastic effort — another hit among Disney's collection which will undoubtedly stand the test of time.


Latest Podcast

From her love of Taylor Swift to a late-night Yik Yak post, Olivia Beam describes how Swifties at U.Va. was born. In this week's episode, Olivia details the thin line Swifties at U.Va. successfully walk to share their love of Taylor Swift while also fostering an inclusive and welcoming community.