At the 87th Academy Awards on the 22nd February 2015, there was some worthy winners, but there was one which caught the eye as arguably a ‘shock win’ and that was the triumph of Disney’s dark horse Big Hero 6, which won the title of Best Animated Feature, beating The Boxtrolls, How To Your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea and The Tale of Princess Kaguya.
Big Hero 6 is set in the futuristic city of San Fransoyko, which is a combination of the American city of San Francisco and Japan’s capital, Tokyo. Possibly the reason for this melange of city names is because the film was produced in the US and the story line is one that originates from a lesser known Marvel comic called Earth 616.
The story itself starts with its main character, Hiro Takachiho (voiced by Ryan Potter) who is a young brilliantly minded, but extremely immature 14 year old. His hobby is to enter illegal back-alley robot fights, which always turn sour and requires his older and wiser brother, Tadashi (Danny Henney) to keep having to bail him out of trouble. Tadashi feels Hiro is wasting his time and gift with these robot fights and persuades him to utilise his talents in a robotic lab to better himself and possibly help mankind.
Soon though, Hiro’s life is unimaginably turned upside down because of unpredictable circumstances, but in steps the hilariously inflatable health ‘robot doctor’ and companion, Baymax (Scott Adsit).
Over the course of the film, Hiro transforms Baymax from the lovable, round, squishy chum into an armoured karate master, who is thankfully still loveable- par one mishap where Hiro discovers the identity of the villain, whose actions in the early stages of the film has wounded Hiro emotionally. Hiro then sends Baymax on a short rant of destruction, but let’s not give away too much…
The appearance of Baymax is arguably one of many clever qualities from Big Hero 6. Baymax has an inner robotic structure surrounded by a latex-like outer shell.
This needs to be acknowledged because there has actually been research into the practice of how the production of healthcare droids and robots should physically look. Baymax’s outer inflatable latex skin is designed to not harm the patient as they are cared for, a trait that is actually being developed in real time and space.
Later in the film Hiro along with Baymax has assembled a team of equally gifted ‘nerds’ who worked at the same robotic lab that Hiro’s older brother introduced him to. This team of 6 are confronted by a ‘kabuki’ masked villain, cue great action sequences of amazing colour and some great shots of Baymax performing some outstandingly choreographed almost samurai moves, again a tip to the original story by Marvel.
Where Big Hero 6 really wins and is perhaps the reason for its success at this year’s Oscars is the detail of San Fransokyo, which is mesmerising and a great ‘semi-original’ creation.
There is one scene in which Hiro and Baymax propel themselves around the city’s skyline and sweep up and over the film’s adaption of The Golden Gate Bridge with cleverly added Japanese eaves, which is beautifully similar to Pixar’s Wall.e, where the robots perform a wondrous space ballet.
In conclusion Big Hero 6 is a charming film that has lived up to Disney’s recent surge in the animation sector; a task that was seen as a mountainous undertaking, especially after Disney’s now animated classic, Frozen jubilantly seized the box office.
Anarchy that is counterpointed by the gentle voice of Baymax the adorable big friend everyone should have…