A couple of weeks ago, The Wife and the Daughter went to the Colonie Center mall, near Albany, to see the movie Big Hero 6 in 3-D; I had a choir rehearsal. They both liked it a lot, though The Daughter said it was a little sad.
They went out of town to visit my in-laws the day after Thanksgiving, and as it turned out, the local second-run theater, the Madison, had started showing the movie in 2D, which was fine with me. I hadn’t been to the venue since it had been refurbished several weeks ago.
Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter) is a techno-geek who graduated high school at age 13 but has little direction beyond hustling people in illegal bot (robot) competitions. His older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), realized that Hiro needed focus, and brings him to a competition at Tadashi’s college. But after a tragic fire, Hiro is morose.
His brother had invented an inflatable medical robot named Baymax (Scott Adsit). The robot wanders off, and Hiro discovers that someone has stolen the technology he created and is using it for nefarious purposes. Hiro and his brother’s school friends use their creativity and intellect to turn themselves and Baymax into superheroes in order to identify and stop the villain.
First off, I LOVE the setting of San Francokyo, the locale that has blended the two cities in fun and creative ways. The animation was quite fine. The voice actors, which also included Damon Wayans Jr., James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk, Abraham Benrubi, and Maya Rudolph as Aunt Cass were solid.
I enjoyed the storyline, though most of the heroes in Big Hero 6 aren’t always particularly as well defined as they could be. And if the story mentioned how the boys were orphaned when Hiro was three, I missed it.
On the plus side, there are difficult lessons that Hiro has to learn about justice and forgiveness, and Baymax (who I kept hearing as Betamax) helps him learn them through the compassionate programming that Tadeshi encoded. Hiro also gets support from his brother’s friends, who become his friends.
My buddy Greg Burgas wrote this on Facebook, and I think it’s correct: “At the heart of Big Hero 6 is the need for young people to process complicated emotions in a positive way, which seems to me far more mature and interesting than a lot of kids’ movies.” But I didn’t think it was just a kids’ movie. There’s a great action scene when the heroes use their powers and just get in each others’ way, which seems logical for people with skills they are just developing.
I read one negative review that said that the movie wasn’t funny. I thought good chunks of it were LOL hilarious, especially when it involved Baymax. Another thumbs-down review wondered where the audience was for this movie, thinking it was too intense for small kids and too boring for adults. I know The Daughter would likely have been frightened by it when she was five, but at ten, she was fine. Her mother, who is an adult, and her father, who purports to be one, were seldom restless.
Someone pointed out that, in the midst of some faux comic books the heroes were reading was one very real comic book, one I once owned. Marvel Premiere #32 featuring Monark Starstalker was written and drawn by Howard Chaykin back in 1976. This was a very obscure item, even in the day, and I’m curious why it was chosen.
Stay to the end of the credits, because… well, just do it.
There was a short before the movie, The Feast, “The story of one man’s love life is seen through the eyes of his best friend and dog, Winston, and revealed bite by bite through the meals they share.” It was cute, but I might have enjoyed it more if the hipster film buffs who had been blathering about DeNiro and other actors had SHUT UP when the Steamboat Willie intro came on. There was little dialogue in The Feast early, but their yakking was still distracting.