Fans of bright, flashy things will love this colourful, kinetic animated adventure, although anyone seeking originality or involving characters should probably look elsewhere. This is the first Disney animation based on a Marvel comic book, although they have essentially only retained the title and a vague semi-Asian setting. The result is a film that feels like something you've already seen before, with the usual Disney plot formula, characters and action beats, plus lots of sentimentality. At least it's witty and fast-paced enough to keep us entertained.
The futuristic setting is San Fransokyo, a slightly more Japanese version of San Francisco in which 15-year-old computer-geek orphan Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter) lives with his Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph). Both are shaken when Hiro's brother Tadashi dies in an explosion Hiro thinks he might have caused. Then he meets Tadashi's health-care robot invention Baymax (Scott Adsit), a cuddly inflatable creature who just wants to take care of Hiro. He goes along with Hiro's plan to turn him into a fighting machine that helps find the masked man who stole Hiro's microbot invention and actually caused the explosion. Baymax also helps Hiro assemble the Big Hero 6 team, adding Tadashi's nerd-inventor pals: goofy Fred (T.J. Miller), rebellious Go Go (Jamie Chung), nice-guy Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.) and girly Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez). Together they set out to stop the villain before he enacts his nefarious plan.
All of this is animated with bright colours and a snappy sense of the technology. There are several exhilarating set-pieces along the way as the young heroes work out their special powers by inventing all sorts of gadgets. But nothing about the script meaningfully deepens these characters. Each person on-screen is essentially one personality trait, while potentially colourful side roles (including Aunt Cass) are left badly undefined. What holds the interest is the superb interaction between Hiro and Baymax, mainly because of the obvious affection between them. And also because Baymax has all of the film's funniest lines.
Continue reading: Big Hero 6 Review