Where animations so often thrive, is within their ability to not only entertain, but to move the audience. A triumphant blend of adventure and pathos is what illuminates the likes of WALL·E, Toy Story and Up. However in Disney’s latest production, Big Hero 6, we deal too predominantly in the former; being a film that while undeniably riotously entertaining, is without any true depth or poignancy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – but given directors Don Hall and Chris Williams are evidently vying for it, it works against this playful picture.
Set in the fictional city of San Fransokyo, youngster Hiro (Ryan Potter) is left broken when a tragedy befalls his family. Downbeat and dejected, Hiro remains determined to emulate his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) and become a revered inventor. With a few ideas of his own, it’s his sibling’s creation Baymax (Scott Adsit): a soft, giant robot who lives only to protect, offering medical advice and remedies to those in need, who becomes becomes his most valuable ally. And when a barbaric and yet elusive antagonist begins to destroy all in his path, Hiro and his new friend know it’s up to them to save their city.
Though tapping successfully into the current trend for big, grandiose superhero flicks, with an affectionate nod by way of Marvel in their entire tone and approach to this project, Hall and Williams lose sight of the more intimate and heartfelt elements of the narrative, as we deviate carelessly into the realm of banal, conventional superhero flick. Thankfully the character of Baymax ensures we’re never left bored, as it’s such an affable creation, with an ungainliness that is endearing and so ungracious in its approach. It’s similar to WALL·E, in that it’s a robot without a bad bone (literally) in its body. Sadly the same can’t be said of the supporting characters in this instance, as the collective formed by Hiro, Baymax and Tadashi’s closest friends – each with their own unique, superhuman invention – are without any distinctive personality and are not nearly idiosyncratic enough. Guardians of the Galaxy shows just how essential it is to invest in all members of a collective to enhance the emotional investment in the project, but in Big Hero 6 you can barely remember any of their names after leaving the cinema.
Nonetheless, Big Hero 6 is aiming at a very certain audience, and those with an inclination for irreverent superhero films will undoubtedly be satisfied – just don’t expect the same level of charm and enchantment that you get with the majority of Pixar’s productions, otherwise you’ll leave feeling disappointed.