Big Hero 6

 

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In Disney’s 54th official animated feature, heroism takes on a rather cuddly aspect.

 

Big Hero 6

 

Following the phenomenal popularity of Frozen, Disney’s 54th official animated feature – Big Hero 6 – may come as something of a shock. Far from the land of fairy tales and frosty princesses, this is an adventure more likely to appeal to young boys than their misty-eyed sisters. The magic here is of the scientific kind and is inspired by Marvel Comics’ superhero series of the same name, with the accent on a cuddly robotic ‘healthcare companion’ called Baymax. Set in a fanciful urban combo of San Francisco and Tokyo – San Fransokyo – the computer-animated ‘toon focuses on a 14-year-old robotics prodigy, Hiro Hamada, addicted to the suspect activity of ‘bot fighting’ (think Fight Club with automatons). However, the real genius is his older brother Tadashi, who is not only determined to harness his younger sibling’s potential but has created Baymax, an inflatable marshmallow programmed to serve mankind.

 

Baymax, like many cinematic robots before him, struggles to comprehend the human world around him – and to adapt accordingly – and supplies most of the abundant humour. With so many superhero movies around at the moment, it is the film’s first half that is the most appealing, before reverberations of X-Men, The Incredibles, Iron Man and The Fantastic Four come crashing into the mix. Like most of Disney’s animated protagonists, Hiro is without a mother and so Baymax becomes the moral compass in his life – and the real reason to see this film. No doubt some will despair of Baymax’s similarity to other classic friendly robots, but Big Hero 6 is such an entertaining package that it seems unfair to quibble. Some of the action sequences are genuinely enthralling and the visual invention is a wonder to behold. And for once the cartoon doesn’t talk down to its young audience, preferring to instil in the viewer the wonder of science and of the excitement to come in the near future. As Hiro says, our only limit is our imagination.

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

Voices of  Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr, Génesis Rodríguez, Alan Tudyk, James Cromwell, Maya Rudolph, Stan Lee.

Dir Don Hall and Chris Williams, Pro Kristina Reed and Roy Conli, Screenplay Jordan Roberts, Dan Gerson and Robert L. Baird, Ph Rob Dressel and Adolph Lusinsky, Pro Des Paul A. Felix, Ed Tim Mertens, Music Henry Jackman.

Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios-Walt Disney.
108 mins. USA. 2014. Rel: 30 January 2015. Cert. PG.