Big Hero 6 commences with a scene involving underground robot fights, like in the movie Real Steel. Our protagonist Hiro is a child genius with no direction in life who spends his time hustling at these robot fight events. A push from his big brother, Tadashi inspires Hiro to pursue further study at “nerd school” to make something of himself.
But just when Hiro begins to realise his potential he suffers a personal loss and starts to question himself again.
The typical tragedy trope is employed to spur Hiro into action. Clichéd as it may be, this loads the film with some powerful emotional scenes that explores the humanity of characters, instead of just depicting them as the usual “good”, “bad” or “super”. The heroes have flaws and the villains aren’t entirely evil.
Of course there’s an assortment of colourful characters to flesh out the cast, from the speed obsessed feminist, Go Go, to the dopey college mascot, Fred, to the oblivious Aunty Cass.
The star of the film though, is Baymax, a large mechanised marshmallow designed as a futuristic nurse. Tadashi had created Baymax as a robotic health practitioner. Hiro has other ideas though, so he upgrades Baymax by teaching him karate and creating body armour for him, making Baymax the ultimate hero sidekick.
Hiro and Baymax make a loveable mismatched duo. As much as Hiro needs Baymax to aid him with his hijinks, Baymax is restricted by his programming and robotic abilities. This leads to some hilarious scenes that depicts Baymax trying to help Hiro, but missing the point of what Hiro truly wants.
I love how the film is set in San Fransokyo, a hybrid of Tokyo and San Francisco. The small Shinjuku alleyways lead onto steep San Francisco streets. There are recognisable icons from each city, like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Ginza Shiodome. This amalgamation of cultures will surely create cross appeal for movie-goers the world over, regardless of where they are from.
Big Hero 6 ticks all the boxes for a family friendly film. There are a lot of laugh out loud moments that will appeal to adults and children alike. There are also more serious underlying themes of grieving and loss that add to the seriousness of the film and keep it grounded.
This story is deep enough to allow for character development and a decent plot, but still remains accessible for children. It’s the age-old underdog superhero story, but with a modern spin.
It may not have the musical soundtrack to match Frozen, but Big Hero 6 safely sits in with recent high calibre 3D animated Disney films like Frozen and Wreck It Ralph.
If you want to take a child to the movies any time soon, I recommend Big Hero 6. It’s a lot of fun, and entertaining enough for everyone watching, regardless of age.
(If you go, be sure to stick around for a marvel-ous post credit scene)