Thursday, December 11, 2014

Big Hero 6 ★★★

Image result for Big Hero 6 film stills

    Although Disney has essentially become a shadow of its former self (if compared to their glorious golden age or even the elation brought to us by the renaissance years), its newest picture, "Big Hero 6," attempts to evoke that same sense of euphoria and excitementyou know, the kind that makes children rush to the nearest toy store and adults exude the exasperation aligned with taking their young child to see a PG rated film. Lovable characters, a compelling storyline, along with adolescent humor, are all elements needed to produce a quality animated film, and "Big Hero 6" surely delivers on these notes.

    However, as we find ourselves in the midst of an origin tale for the latest superhero group, there are several shortcomings that arise. Our so-called "villain" is nothing more than a flat and rather one-dimensional persona (granted most are), whose only motivating force for action is to align with the thematic intentions of the film, which I will chew over shortly. Yet, the most notable deficiency stems from the environment in which our heroes reside.

    If the seemingly futuristic city of San Fransokyo, a poor amalgam of the real life cities of San Francisco and Tokyo, as well as the name of our central protagonist, Hiro, is not satisfyingly enough indication as to the subculture in which Disney is blatantly trying to advertise, then I'm not sure what is. The allure of the Japanese "anime" subculture is one of spiked hair, large and charming facial features, and imaginative writing, all of which "Big Hero 6" possesses, and yet, it can never quite convince us of the atmosphere in which it aims to capitalize on.

    As if taking a page from the innards of a Spider-Man comic book, Hiro is a young boy (who I'm guessing is of American-Japanese ethnicity) whose parents were lost in a tragic accident and who is now under the care of the stereotypically unhinged and carefree aunt. Ironically, Hiro's intelligence supersedes the image he imposes, which is one of a small and immature teenager. (This is introduced to us via a comically inclined expository scene.)

    Naturally, there is loss, followed by comfort, and the deceitfulness of a malefactor who is ultimately not what they seem to be. This all leads to the creation of a team of heroes whose individual ineptness summarizes the quirkiness of their character. There's the obsessive compulsive and danger fearing male, the intelligent and eccentric blonde, the strong feminist type, and the long-haired hippie geek.

    And, of course, who could forget Baymax. Arguably the mainspring of the entire picture, Baymax is a plump, robotic health provider who seems to be as much trouble as his worth. Along with this physically obtrusive figure comes situational humor as he struggles to get through tight spaces and as his frail exterior warrants somewhat humorous repairs. In essence, the film is filled with jests that will only be enjoyed by youthful children and none of which made me crack a smile.

    It is quite clear where the concern of this film lies: in the realm of moral implication. The lesson of dealing with individual loss, and the raw emotions that accompany such events, is spelled out in obvious manners such as characters simply stating that "this is a revenge story" and other subtle ways, such as single shot motifs that warrant feelings of abandonment and remembrance. It is a very important instruction, no matter the age, and one in which Disney would imply that revenge is only hurtful to the situation.

    Nevertheless, it would seem as if this picture had been done before, and it most certainly has, just not in this particular style. The presence of Stan Lee in yet another on-screen cameo, albeit in animated form this time around, is a playful reminder of that fact. If anything, however, it is the ability to be able to relate to Hiro that should nominate success. In that regard, it succeeds substantially.

    "Frozen" and "Big Hero 6," the last two films bestowed upon us by Disney's animated studios, have ignited a firestorm of acclaim, and they are cherished by both audiences and critics alike. Have we all forgotten the heartwarming tales of "Bambi" and "Pinocchio?" Have we lost the admiration for pictures such as "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King?" It is as if our lives are devoid of all contentment and anything Disney fabricates brings a joyous celebration. I'll reserve my childish glee, I think, until hand-drawn animation becomes something more than just a forgotten art.

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