Going In:

I’m always excited to take my daughter to see something that isn’t Frozen, and Disney has really been on a roll recently.  I loved Wreck it Ralph, Tangled, and even Frozen, so my expectations are high.  That being said, having seen a couple trailers I’m still not exactly sure what Big Hero 6 is.  I do know the title isn’t something that excites or interests my four year old, but it does look like fun.

Review:

Big Hero 6 is the beautiful new film from Walt Disney Animation Studios.  It follows 14 year old robotics genius Hiro as he teams with Baymax, a healthcare companion bot, on a dangerous and very personal adventure.

While visually exciting, Hiro’s adventure is a bit too predictable.  From the all-too-familiar early film tragedy, to the villain’s big reveal that is neither big nor revealing, Big Hero 6 plays out like a fairly standard action film.  Very loosely based on a Marvel comic series by the same name, Big Hero 6 tries to craft an ensemble superhero pic for the kids, but in the days of The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, it just isn’t enough.

Partway through the film, Hiro joins a group of brilliant college students to create a team of misfit superheroes.  There’s a fantastic montage of these friends transforming into heroes, but sadly it’s only a tease of what the film’s sequel might provide.  They never get a chance to blossom into anything other than criminally underused sidekicks.  These underused teammates consist mainly of caricatures and archetypes, as the film doesn’t devote nearly enough time to building their characters.  I really wanted to like them, but I walked away only remembering one of their names, Fred.  And that’s probably because he has a terrific post-credits scene that is completely worth waiting around for after the film.

The one story piece I thought was hugely successful was the exploration of the relationship between Hiro and his brother.  Their dynamic provides the heart of the film, exemplified through the big huggable robot Baymax, a creation of Hiro’s brother.  Baymax himself is a fun character, providing most of the film’s humor and emotion.  He also provides the most head-scratching zero-gravity moment in a film all about science, but I digress.  As a robot incapable of emotion, the film does a nice job of making it feel like he cares for Hiro and wants nothing more than to help.  I found myself rooting for Baymax and his antics, but I was never as emotionally invested in his character as the film so desperately wanted me to be. And perhaps this is a strange complaint, but surely I’m not the only person who thought his name was far too close to Betamax, the long dead video format that tried to compete with VHS in the 80s. (Yes I’m old!)

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Performances were great, by a cast of mostly unknowns.  Too many animated features cast Hollywood stars in their attempt to lure us to their film.  Outside of Jame’s Cromwell’s distinctive baritone, there were no distracting celebrity voices here.

My biggest issue with Big Hero 6 (outside of the awful title) is that it’s far too similar to The Incredibles to avoid unfavorable comparisons.  Everything it does has already been done better in a much more entertaining film.  I can easily recommend it, but know that Big Hero 6 lacks the magic of Disney’s other recent classics.  It really is a good movie, but it’s in a league of great ones.

Rated PG for trying to make you cry

Big Hero 6 Review
Storytelling6.5
Craftsmanship8
Performances7.5
Satisfaction6
7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

By day I’m a producer/director at a video game development studio. By night, I’m… um… yeah, i’m usually just a more tired producer/director at a video game development studio. BUT, by weekend I’m a husband, father, and critic of all things.

  • Justin

    Good point about famous actors’ voices being distracting. That’s one of my biggest gripes about animated films. I find it hard to believe that enough extra people go to an animated movie to make up for the big-name big-paychecks that get cut out of the budget. Maybe some marketing wonk can prove me wrong.

  • Leslie Bundick

    I also love the lesser known voices here! While my daughter watches Tangled, I can help but think of Chuck. When she plays Frozen I picture Veronica Mars. Big Hero 6 wasn’t my favorite. We had a good experience at the theater, but we won’t have this on repeat at our home like those films I just mentioned.

  • http://mastercritic.com/ Tim

    So I saw Big Hero 6 for a second time and it didn’t change my feelings. It’s still an enjoyable film that exists on a lower tier than Disney’s other recent animated offerings. Even though my 4 year old says she loves it, I don’t see her enjoying it as much as her other favorites. She just sits and watches – very little laughter or interaction outside of the “hairy baby” scene – that entire low-battery segment really is hilarious though.