It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a child going through a rough patch can find their circumstances greatly improved by the addition of a friendly robot. This axiom is true for The Iron Giant and even more so for Big Hero 6. While the former is more of a commentary on the Cold War, the latter is about how one deals with loss. We’ll get to more about that in the review. Before we do that, though, I just want you to know that Big Hero 6 is a fantastic movie. Let me tell you why.
Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) is a young genius who prefers to spend his free time hustling bot fights instead of doing something constructive, a fact that frustrates his older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney). After brushes with the law aren’t enough to get deter Hiro, Tadashi decides to take him on a tour of his school, the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. While there, he shows Hiro the project he’s been working on: Baymax (Scott Adsit), a cuddly medical companion robot. It turns out to be a brilliant big brother move.
Instantly enamored of the school, Hiro decides that he needs to attend it. He comes up with a brilliant project to get noticed by Professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell), the head of the robotics department, and presents it at a high-profile event. He’s granted admission to the prestigious institution, but not before receiving lucrative offer from businessman Alistair Krei (Alan Tudyk).
That’s when things go awry. After fire engulfs the building housing the event, Tadashi rushes in to save Professor Callaghan. He doesn’t make it out.
Hiro understandably sinks into depression after the death of his brother. Fortunately, Baymax is there for him and to get the plot rolling. They discover that someone has taken Hiro’s invention and is doing something nefarious with his microbots. Thanks to Baymax’s well-meaning intervention, Hiro’s friends come to the rescue and they team up to get to the bottom of the mystery and sort out what really happened the night of the fire.
While the mystery plot is a huge deal in the movie, the way Hiro ultimately deals with the loss of his brother is what the film is really about. It’s about friends coming together to help one of their own. It’s about how awesome Baymax is and how technology can do some great and terrible things. Also, science. There’s a lot of science.
I’m not familiar with the movie’s source material. I understand that there are a lot of folks who aren’t fond of the changes that were made for the movie. Perhaps going in with few expectations outside of a hope for a great experience assisted me. Expectations aside, the movie was finely crafted, gorgeously animated, and full of some fun vocal performances. Henry Jackman‘s score was an amazing companion for this adventure. The writing was sharp and the characters were truly well-cast.
My hope is that this great movie performs well and gives us more adventures with the movie’s heroes. I’d love to see some more Go Go (Jamie Chung), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), and Fred (T.J. Miller) as they help people alongside Hiro and Baymax. I’d love to see more movies with an unabashed love of science. I’d love to see more movies with a diverse core cast like this one. I just want more movies like Big Hero 6. We need more movies like it.
Before I head into my final thoughts, I just want you guys to know one thing: Stay until the end of the credits. You won’t regret it. Trust me.
All right, I’ll keep this short because I don’t actually have too much to say about this movie that I haven’t already said. I’m just really hoping that this movie does well because we deserve more films like it. We deserve to see a wider variety of faces and skin tones in our media. As has been shown to us time and again, money talks. Movie studios are driven by money. If you want to see more diverse movies, pay money to go see them in theaters. It’s as easy as that.
Now, let’s talk marketing for a moment. Yes, folks, Frozen was a great movie that was praised by critics and audiences alike. It also made a metric crap ton of money. I get that. Stop trying to compare every subsequent movie to it. In the words of that one song that everyone’s heard even if they haven’t seen the movie, “Let it go.” Let movies stand on their own merits without comparing it to a box office juggernaut.
At the end of the day, Hollywood will only give us what they think will earn them the most money. It’s a cold, hard fact, but there it is. They’re businesses and no amount of just complaining at them will give us the results for which we’re longing. That’s why you have to vote with your money. That’s the language they understand.