DIR/WRI: Don Hall, Chris Williams • PRO: Roy Conli, John Lasseter, Kristina Reed • DOP: Jordan Roberts, Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird • ED: Tim Mertens • MUS: Henry Jackman • DES: Paul A. Felix • CAST: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, T.J. Miller
You have to hand it to Disney. They aren’t exactly going for volume in terms of film output these days. So every release must be very considered and come through an intense rigorous creative process. So rigorous you’d imagined that one might worry for the creativity part of the equation.
And yet the resultant recent films still contain admirable levels of verve, imagination and even individuality. Next up is this sassy animation that leans towards pleasing a more teenage demographic while still being sweet and accessible enough for the pre-teens.
Set in the future fusion cyber-city of San Fransokyo, it follows a rebellious computer whizz-kid Hiro who has his world rocked by a seismic shock that decimates his family. Feeling alone and unprotected, he is surprised to discover he has accidentally inherited a sweet-minded inflatable minder. The air-headed (and air-bodied) Baymax is a gentle giant, designed to protect and provide medical assistance.
His innocent protocol isn’t much immediate help to the streetwise Hiro but when an unfolding mystery about the boy’s missing invention deepens, Baymax is just the robot to have on his side. Around this duo a gang of talented friends dedicate their complimentary abilities to the cause of truth and justice. Although moving their skills from the lab to the real world isn’t an exact science.
This band of high-tech heroes are occasionally their own worst enemies but their definite very real enemy is a spooky menacing presence, Yokai, who commands a mutating legion of micro-robots at his fingertips. As villains and visuals go, the genuinely sinister air around Yokai will have kids and even adults watching through their fingertips.
However, balancing that out is Baymax who is a delightful creation from first appearance to last. The animators aren’t in any rush with him which is so refreshing. His surprise inflations and deflations are priceless as are his elongated awkward negotiating of simple obstacles. The bravery to hold the shot and play out the physical humour reaps huge dividends. As does Baymax’s idiosyncratic response to a fist bump.
Due to my considerable ignorance of the source material, the title of the film only made sense during the final frames. Apparently I’m as inept at maths as I am at science. If they can keep the standard this high, expect ‘Big Hero 6 – Six’ at some distant point in the future.
PG (See IFCO for details)
Big Hero 6 is released 29th January 2015