It seems like you can’t walk ten feet these days without being mauled by various superhero paraphernalia, whether it be ads for new marvel movies, action figures, or Happy Meal toys. Naturally, since Disney won’t be satisfied unless they have all the money instead of just most of the money, they’ve decided to dig deep into the Marvel back-log and have pulled out the obscure Big Hero 6, on which today’s film is exceedingly loosely based.
The film comes to us from the superstar tag-team duo consisting of Chris Williams and Don Hall. Williams, also from the 2008 animated extravaganza Bolt, and Hall, also from absolutely nothing, collaborate on this big-budget production, ostensibly a stand-alone universe not convergent with that of the larger Marvel canon. As is the case with mush of Disney’s more recent productions, the visual flash and sparkle was superficially impressive, yet utterly failed to distract me from the tissue-thin plot, two-dimensional characterization, and dialogue that sounded as though it was written by a ten-year-old.
Big Hero 6 features a mostly ensemble cast, including the vocal talents of Ryan Potter as protagonist Hiro Hamada and Scot Adsit as his robotic medical caretaker Baymax. The cheesy-sounding dialogue might be exacerbated, especially in the case of Hiro’s friends, who constitute the other four members of the titular superhero group Big Hero 6, because their every line of dialogue comes across as so obnoxiously enthusiastic, regardless of the situation or the context in which it’s said. There’s very little wit and they way in which the characters play off one another seems very canned and forced at times, not helped at all by the fact that the supporting cast only seems to have one or two archetypical character traits each: i.e. ‘the black guy,’ ‘the slacker,’ ‘the tough-girl,’ etc.
According to Wikipedia, Disney pumped a ton of cash into some state-of-the-art graphical rendering hardware in order to produce the film; while the visuals are undeniably stunning, considerably less attention has been afforded to the story, and the film suffers for it. By far, the most engaging parts of the movie are the interactions between Hiro and Baymax, and while those parts are admittedly filled with a lot of heart, that’s really all the actual substance that plot has on offer. It’s almost as though someone came to the frantic realization that the title of the movie ends in a six and not a two, and basically went “Oh, shit. We’re going to have to cram another four characters in here somewhere!”
Even during the combat sequences (of which there are surprisingly few, given the whole “superhero” thing) the supporting cast hardly seem like they’re even given anything interesting to do, calling into question the necessity it all. It’s pretty clear that Disney is going to try to make an ongoing franchise out of Big Hero 6, so maybe we’ll get more development from the characters as the series continues; honestly, I’m kind of excited to see more, as the visual design and diegetic world-building are all top-notch and really visually compelling.
At the end of the day, Disney gets a new line of toys to sell and Marvel gets to buy another yacht, but for all the pomp and circumstance surrounding Big Hero 6, it’s a barebones action-comedy with a flimsy plot, buoyed by some pretty excellent visual design and a fun and interesting dynamic between the central characters.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5