Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Movie Review: Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6

Teen genius Hiro Hamada is a bit of a brat and drives his older brother Tadashi crazy by sneaking out to illegal bot fights and generally treating life as a joke. But Tadashi knows his brother well and is able to get him interested in an upcoming science competition that the two brothers throw themselves into, only for tragedy to strike the night of the fair. Now almost totally alone in the world, Hiro, his brother's friends, and his brother's medical robot project Baymax are looking for what really happened that night and trying to bring closure to their lives. 

This felt like a bit of a disjoined film in some ways with it's two different "halves." As I believe everyone already knows, Hiro's older brother Tadashi dies in this film around the third or halfway mark, I was actually surprised that this happened so late in the story given how central it is to the overall plot. With that knowledge in mind watching the early part of the movie feels a bit too much like you're just waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the story to really get rolling. I do feel like this hurts the story however, when he's around Tadashi is a major character and I keep wondering if there was a better way to handle merging these two parts. 

This feels even weirder when you realize that the second half of the story is essentially a revenge tale and yet must be kept relatively light because of Disney's family-friendly audience. On a related note, I felt like Disney was trying to be TOO clever with the villain, especially they tried to be clever in Frozen. It felt like they weren't trying to make the audience consider who the villain was so much as they were forcing the audience to think about it, another way that the movie as a whole felt a little clunky. 

I also had mixed feelings on character races. On the one hand, diversity is always great but basically all of that is informed by outside interviews about characters (like, Honey Lemon is Hispanic etc). The movie could've even had quick things like family pictures to show that the brothers were half-white for example, in fact I was startled that I never saw a full family picture in the movie since that would've been so simple and generated sympathy for the characters! Also, the one non-hispanic white character in the film, Fred, is the one whose character was Ainu in the original if I recall correctly which is a bit unfortunate since that is a hugely under-represented group as well! 

As people can hopefully tell, I didn't dislike the film but yeah, this just wasn't the strongest thing that Disney has put out recently. While I'm not clamoring for a sequel, I did think that this story would lend itself well to spin-offs and it appears that a tv show is coming in 2017 and I can see that working really well for the series. I don't think that this particular story would have worked as well serialized but I feel like the cast is large enough that fleshing them out through a tv series makes more sense and would be easier than doing it through another movie (from a storytelling perspective). And I did really like Baymax which was one of my biggest concerns going in, he was well-written and his warmth was well balanced, I can see why so many people liked him (and the movie in general) but it just wasn't quite right for me.

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