This will be the last film that I will talk about this year, but I don’t think it is really the best. This isn’t to say that Big Hero 6 is a bad movie, as it does stand out in a world full of superhero movies. The fact that it is Disney, owner of Marvel, the king of superhero movies makes it self-aware.
“Self-aware” is one of those terms thrown about by Internet critics describing films that follow conventions, but are clearly aware that they are following these conventions. Big Hero 6 is a superhero story that seems to know that it is a superhero story. Superhero stories have been done to death, and this one has the most important ingredient: improbability.
The film opens with Hiro Hamada, and he is an incredibly smart character who is so smart that he has essentially done with school in spite of being very young at…I don’t know…let’s just say 15. Hiro doesn’t seem to know what he wants to do with his life, but he does like robot fighting, and gets himself into trouble at the beginning because of it.
Hiro has a brother, who encourages Hiro to apply at a certain school that apparently has nothing better to do than encourage its students to pursue futuristic technology. Now, this film takes place in a world that looks futuristic already, some weird mix of San Francisco and Tokyo called: San Francoskyo. I probably misspelled that, but you get it.
Hiro realizes that he wants to go to this “nerd school”, but he needs some brilliant idea for an invention. His brother already has one with a robot named Baymax who is easily the mascot of this film. Baymax is essentially a robot medical droid with a complex structure within and the rest a balloon.
After a fast-forward montage, Hiro creates these microbots which are tiny little robots that can link together to form just about anything. Unfortunately, there is an accident at this lab, and Hiro’s brother dies off-screen. This is the second element of a superhero story: tragedy.
After that, it is only a matter of time before the Hiro arises from his tragedy with the improbability and become a superhero to fight against…something. In Hiro’s case, he has a sufficient motivation. Some guy in a Kabuki has Hiro’s microbots, and could be using them for something bad.
So this is your basic superhero story, and there is no denying it. The film even shows a scene where Hiro is inspired by comic books and action figures in order to turn he and his friends into superheroes. It’s a good thing that his friends are into the habit of playing with experimental technology. It’s also good that one of the Big Hero 6, Fred, is a huge fanboy who has a father that looks like Stan Lee.
One of the strengths of this film is one of its weaknesses. It is very clear that the focus of the film is the Big Hero 2 with Hiro and Baymax, and every trailer that I saw of this film focused only on them. This is a real shame, because some of the other characters of Big Hero 6 are for the most part, ignored. Kind of like how Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura were glossed over in the original Star Trek series. There is one character named Honey Lemon who is this super-smart girl who is trapped in the body of a supermodel and is very sensitive. She is such a great character, but is hardly ever used.
However, the relationship between Hiro and Baymax is really about how we deal with loss. As someone who has lost his best friend, this part really got to me, and there is a scene where Hiro has to say goodbye. The scene is everything the film is leading up to, and it works.
Now, I believe that the source material was some Marvel manga, and so I would imagine that these characters have been through a lot of adventures and development. I have no idea if they are making a sequel, but it is clearly set up for a franchise. Of course, I would imagine that Frozen is the one that everyone wants.