By: Staff Writer Madeline Zheng
Call them the heroes of the animated film industry—Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams have crafted a nearly flawless, hilariously slanted adaptation of the original Big Hero 6 comics. The animated story materializes in San Fransokyo, a futuristic mashup of San Francisco and Tokyo. Action-packed from the start, the film opens to a vicious bot fight amidst a roaring crowd, where fourteen-year-old robotics genius Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) emerges as the unlikely champion. Determined to drag him away from these illegal fights, however, Hiro’s caring, kind, and incredibly supportive older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) has other plans.
Tadashi hauls Hiro to his “nerd school” (as Hiro calls it), where Hiro meets robotics lab mates GoGo Tomago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred. Their projects are fascinating, and Hiro falls progressively deeper and deeper in love with the university—especially with Tadashi’s project: personal healthcare robot Baymax (Scott Adsit). Hiro is hooked—he’s determined to gain admittance. To impress Professor Callaghan in the college’s admissions showcase, Hiro presents a revolutionary invention: microbots, which can do virtually anything and are only limited by the controller’s imagination.
But soon after the celebration of Hiro’s successful pitch, tragedy strikes. The presentation facility burns down, and Tadashi, valiantly rushing back in to rescue Professor Callaghan, dies in the flames along with the professor. Moping through weeks of mourning and depression, Hiro eventually discovers that this fire was not an accident—that a masked man staged it in order to steal Hiro’s microbots. That masked man holds sole responsibility for Tadashi’s death. Hiro, Baymax, GoGo, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred jump into action: the six heroes set out to avenge Tadashi and to stop this mysterious masked villain in his tracks.
Even though at first the masked man’s motives seem utterly malicious, Disney has continued with its trend of humanizing the villain. As the plot develops, we see that the man has understandable incentive for his evil actions—in fact, there are many deliberate parallels in behavior between the villain and Hiro.
The true highlight of the film is adorable Baymax, the marshmallow-like robot whose innocence and perceptiveness make him a unique mechanism for both raucous humor and profound emotional exploration. Although the other five heroes remain fairly flat, Hiro shows considerable character development as we sob, laugh, and grow with him throughout Big Hero 6.
Going beyond storyline, visual and auditory elements of the film impress as well. San Fransokyo is a gorgeous ultramodern metropolis, complete with brilliant lights and an ingeniously complex city layout. Action sequences are impeccably designed and animated, as the heroes chase crime in costumes that perfectly suit their individual personalities. The film’s soundtrack meshes seamlessly with the action. Whether it’s the soundtrack, stunning visuals, or a gripping emotional roller coaster of a storyline, one thing’s for sure—Big Hero 6 is well worth a watch.