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Review

Disney surprises audiences with first comic adaptation, ‘Big Hero 6’

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November 14, 2014

Disney, along with all the animated wonder that entails that name, seems to have missed Halloween this year, for they have donned masks and costumes in their latest feature film “Big Hero 6,” a step outside the norm but a giant step inside great new possibilities.

Genius is one great thing to have, but knowing what to do with it is an even greater challenge. So is the dilemma with Hiro Hamada, a young robotics prodigy in the city of San Fransokyo, squandering his knowledge of robotics on robot fights and profit. But his brother Tadashi sees great potential in young Hiro, pushing his brother to do something great for this world with his knowledge of technology.

Movie poster for Big Hero 6.
“Big Hero 6” is released by the Walt Disney Co.

Before that can be seen though, loss strikes Hiro and sends him into depression, with no seeming way out. Until a remnant of someone’s past picks him back up; a pudgy robot named Baymax that wants to help young Hiro.

Along with the friends he meets along his scholarly journey, Hiro uncovers a plot brewing behind his grave loss, with one of his own inventions being used for evil purposes. It will be up to Hiro, his friends, and their knowledge of science to face this shadowy threat and put an end to the uncertainty and the sadness within Hiro.

The new possibilities I spoke of before for Disney lay in the premise of “Big Hero 6.” Disney is for the first time adapting a comic book work, specifically a Marvel work created by Man of Action (creators of animated works such as “Ben 10” and “Generator Rex”). But what also lurked behind my brain was uncertainty that this would work; Disney doing Marvel could always have the possibility to fail. And big surprise, I was not disappointed in the least with “Big Hero 6.”

What caught my eye the most was the fun animation of Disney crossed with action. I don’t think I’ve seen this good 3-d animated action since something like “The Incredibles,” where you’re sucked into each battle and can have fun watching the heroes work together and work their magic.

It becomes something special to watch on screen and appreciate altogether when all the heroes that rise up face their dark and amorphous adversary.

The art also adds onto that unique sense of action that “Big Hero 6” brings. Viewers will be treated with appealing images of a San Francisco combined with Tokyo, taking heavy American and Japanese influences to all its designs, structures, and even characters. The cast does share somewhat of a manga-like design to it that I found to be artistically pleasing.

Though in some ways, the plot of “Big Hero 6” is one that I seemed to appreciate more than the animation for once in a Disney film. “Big Hero 6,” in many ways, adheres to the generic superhero team gets together, fights bad guy, hero is redeemed, and sacrifice is made formula we have seen a lot.

Despite this, it adds quite a bit dialogue and plot wise to make it seem fresh. The themes of loss, creativity, love for your work, duty to your fellow man, and remembrance work very well to make this film down to earth and relatable. These themes are reinforced by the good performances from the actors, witty and playful dialogue, and even some deconstruction of the superhero genre (one scene has a character try to cut a hole in a steel door, screw up three times, and give up).

I can say for sure that “Big Hero 6” will go down as a great milestone in Disney’s animation history as an experiment that went horribly, horribly right in every way. Aside from a somewhat quick resolve in the end, Big Hero 6 creates a vibrant and inspired world where heroes rise, science prevails, and love and loss go one in the other to inspire one to do great things with the great gifts they have. That’s something I think anyone could take to heart and live on with.

Ryan Funes is a lover of all things movie, TV, video games and stories and wants to become a television writer someday. In his spare time he enjoys hanging with friends, tapping into his imagination, and watching cartoons of all kinds.