Hiro (Ryan Potter) is a young teenager of remarkable intelligence, living with his brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) and aunt in the city of San Fransokio. When Tadashi is killed in a freak accident, Hiro finds himself in possession of a robot his brother created, named Baymax (Scott Adsit). Baymax was created to be a heath carer, but when Hiro discovers that one of his inventions has been stolen, he reprogrammes Baymax and teams up with his friends to get it back.
Big Hero 6 is based on a Marvel comics series of the same name, but like many of the Marvel stories, has gone through massive changes from page to screen, to make it an adventure aimed at kids.
The voice cast is made up of Scott Adsit as Baymax, Ryan Potter as Hiro, Daniel Henney, TJ Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Alan Tudyk and Maya Rudoplh. All do a wonderful job of bringing their characters to life, and injecting them with warmth and personality, but the show is firmly stolen by former 30 Rock star Scott Adsit, as the loveable, huggable and adorably innocent Baymax.
It seems like an age since Disney approached the subject of death on screen, and although Big Hero 6 does not place Tadashi’s death at the front and centre of the screen, it is clearly yet sensitively portrayed in the film, and is the catalyst for Baymax and Hiro’s friendship. Bravo Disney! All too often, the subject of death is avoided in children’s films, but as someone who grew up reading dark but somehow real children’s tales; this is a welcome re-addition to the Disney storytelling canon.
Screenwriters Jordan Roberts, Daniel Gerson and Robert L. Baird carefully blend the threads of adventure and grief together to make the story work, and fill Big Hero 6 with plenty of jokes, visual gags and sentiment to make it feel fully rounded, yet fun. There are times when the story drags its heels a little, and the action heads off in odd directions, but it all comes back together to make a satisfying whole.
Directors Don Hall (Winnie The Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt) balance the action, mystery and comedy well, while allowing the audience to experience Hiro’s grief, and for the character to become despondent and listless, before finding a new purpose in life.
Visually, the film looks great, and creating the fictional city of San Fransokio was obviously something that the filmmakers relished, as it combines the best of east and west in one place. The scale and size of the adventure gives the animation somewhere to go and a whole sky to explore, while keeping the story real and relatable.
In all, Big Hero 6 is a fun adventure with a warm heart and a surprisingly dark mid section. Baymax is the next robot sensation, and his warm innocence leads to a lot of fun and emotional warmth. There are times when the film feels as though it is waiting to get going, but when it does, it soars.