Original Release: November 7, 2014
Runtime: 102 Minutes
Directed By: Don Hall and Chris Williams
Notable Actors: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, T.J. Miller, Jumie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Alan Tudyk and Maya Rudolph
When I think about Big Hero 6, I now think of it as the entire point of this project wrapped up into one film for me. Films we might have seen a year or two or even fifty years ago appear different to us now than when we first viewed them. They mean something different. We get a sense of nostalgia from some, and others we find something completely new from. Disney films, or I should just say films, are not meant to be watched once and forgotten. A good film follows us through our lifetime. We see it once and then years later and then again some time later. Sometimes we love the movie at first but re-watch it and don’t like it the way we once did. Sometimes a film becomes a part of our life and we never stop loving it. Sometimes, as is the case for me with the final film in our Vault Disney project, Big Hero 6, we see a movie and don’t really love it at all. In fact, I didn’t even want to watch this film a second time. But thankfully I did, because what I found was a film that I was finally ready to fall in love with.
Once Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, they immediately went to work on finding creative ways to integrate Marvel into the Disney canon. Director Don Hall, who was working on Winnie the Pooh at the time, was scrolling the Marvel database and stumbled upon Big Hero 6. Knowing nothing about it, he was immediately intrigued by the title and took a closer look. While the film was made by Disney Animation, many of the higher ups at Marvel were able to consult on the project in order to make it a joint effort. Big Hero 6 was actually a Manga printed by Yen Press and differs greatly from the film version. One key difference is that all of the main characters in the Manga are Asian.
I want to start by telling you my initial impressions when I saw it opening weekend in theaters. To be honest, I didn’t like it. I thought it was predictable and stole from many movies that I liked much more such as How to Train Your Dragon. I thought it didn’t deserve the hype and when it won best animated feature over The Lego Movie, which wasn’t even nominated, I was very unhappy. I shoved this aside as one of my least favorite Disney films. But that is what is so great about this series. It has forced me to re-watch films I’d put off as not good enough.
Big Hero 6 tells the story of Hiro, a smart kid who might just be too smart for his own good. When he loses his brother, Tadashi, in a disaster, he loses all hope of being a productive member of society until his brother’s medical aid robot, Baymax, comes to his rescue. This is a coming of age story at its heart but it revolves around a lot of themes that we’ve come to really recognize in this series. Love, loss, redemption. The idea that those we’ve lost never really leave us. Of course, this is also the first time we are seeing a super hero action film come out of the Disney canon.
The best parts of Big Hero 6 aren’t really the action parts though. The best parts are watching Hiro and Baymax learn to understand each other. I also love seeing Tadashi’s friends come to the aid of Hiro and really become his support group. The emotional investments in this film are the important ones and they remind us that friendship and love can conquer any evil.
The real star of this one, as you probably know, is Baymax. As an oversized marshmallow, he is absolutely adorable and hilarious but also provides the great big heart of the film. For a robot who can’t feel anything, he always makes us feel something, whether it’s joy or sadness or laughter. Baymax is the living embodiment of the want to do good in the world and leave it a better place and in many ways, I think the soul of Walt Disney pulses through the school where they invent things that will better the future and Baymax himself. And while Baymax represents all these things, he still manages to make us giggle as he drunkenly cuddles a cat.
If I have one criticism of the film, it’s that I wish we got just a bit more out of the supporting cast. I love watching all of them take their tech and finding new ways to make it into super powers and we do get little glimpses of their characters, but I can’t help but want more. I want these characters to be as deep and interesting as Hiro and Baymax, but sadly they come off a bit as a really good excuse for Disney to have some diversity in the film. If I have one hope for the sequel of the film, it’s that we get to know these super pals a bit more.
Big Hero 6 is a spectacle. The action is big and beautiful and the characters are fun to watch and never let the excitement end. When Hiro whispers his last “I am satisfied with my care,” my heart just drops and I want so badly for everything to be okay and then, in the end, it is okay. We all lose people in our lives and the only way to get through that hurt is to take what they taught us and never forget it and to love everyone around us that much more. We are all brilliant inventors, story tellers, performers, adventurers and creators and if we can only dream it, we can do it. That is the real message of Big Hero 6 and that message is heard loud and clear by the end.
And folks…that’s it. A couple weeks ago, I did my article on Zootopia upon release so this is our very last film in this series. I want to tell you how much this series has meant to me and I want to show you all the fun new things I have in store for this blog and dangit! I want to do all of that right now. But I won’t. There’s too much to say and too many emotions to deal with. Instead, I will have a full article with my journey through the Disney canon as well as links to every single article in the series. Then, starting next week, I will begin introducing our TWO new series on the blog that will take the place of this series’ Sunday/Wednesday schedule.
I love every single one of my readers so so so much and I cannot wait for the next chapter of this blog. But we’ll get to that soon. For now, I will simply say thank you for coming this far with me. Now get out there and start your own Disney Classic adventure!
Next Up: …
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NOTE: Obviously all the photos are courtesy of Disney Entertainment and I would never in a million years claim them as my own. That being said, all are actually taken with my phone during our viewing in order to capture the moment in a slightly different way than originally intended.
ALSO: My Fiancee has a blog too and he is talking about all the classics we are currently watching, which involves more than just Disney. Head over HERE and check it out!