By Kate Joseph
Disney has rarely struggled for success, especially not in the last year.
“Frozen,” Walt Disney Animation Studios’ biggest-grossing film of all time, garnered several awards and smashed records after hitting theaters last November. Disney also cashed in this summer with Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which quickly became the second-highest-grossing movie of 2014. So it’s no surprise the studio’s newest flick, “Big Hero 6,” is packing just as big a punch.
The film is very loosely based on the comic of the same name from the 90’s and is also the first piece of Marvel’s work Disney has adapted to an animated feature film after its acquisition of the company in 2009.
Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams molded the source material into a universe entirely their own. And that’s exactly how Marvel wanted it.
“Marvel loved the idea that we were going to do something with one of their things, and they really loved that it was ‘Big Hero 6,’” said Hall. “They were very encouraging of us to take it and make it our own. They kept saying, ‘you don’t have to set it within the confines of the Marvel universe. You don’t have to worry about that.’ So that gave us license to make this our own.”
Without making the obvious comparisons to Pixar’s 2004 film “The Incredibles”, Disney’s first animated superhero film in 10 years hits the mark just as strong.
Set in the fictional city of San Fransokyo, the modern animated masterpiece centers on 14-year-old robotics genius Hiro Hamada. After an inevitable Disney tragedy placed late in the first act, Hiro struggles to unmask a villain who is using his stolen robotics technology to seek revenge.
As in any super hero troupe movie, Hiro realizes teamwork is the only way to defeat his antagonist, and with the help of Baymax, a huggable healthcare robot, and four other robotics students, he attempts to do just that.
A few unexpected twists and modern flairs shake up the plot of an otherwise predictable film geared towards children. However, an inspiring message, tons of laughs and incredible animation will appeal to nearly every moviegoer.
Despite a few dark undertones, comic relief from Baymax and Fred (voiced brilliantly by Scott Adsit and T.J. Miller respectively) will leave theatergoers with mostly tears of joy in their eyes.
The visual aspects undeniably make “Big Hero 6” the best computer generated film Walt Disney Animation Studios has ever created. The action sequences are smooth and beautiful while still providing an exuberance of color and power to elicit gasps from audiences still staggering from the fairytale universe of “Frozen”. The innovations in character movement and scenery designs are impressive enough to assume Disney will not be backing away from adapting more of Marvel’s work for animation.
“Big Hero 6” manages to succeed on nearly every level and is a must see for any Disney or Marvel fan, just don’t forget to stay until the end of the credits for an additional scene in true Marvel tradition.
Although a “Big Hero 6” sequel has not yet been announced, the scene certainly gives indications of future adventures from the eponymous group.