Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6Big Hero 6 (2014)

Review by Rachel Shuman

The story overall is a classic hero’s journey: orphan boy is told he can be more than he already is, gains a mentor, loses mentor to a villain, and sets out to avenge his mentor’s death. Disney loves this formula, and Big Hero 6 is no exception. The movie follows Hiro Hamata, a fourteen-year-old genius who is languishing in the world of bot-fighting after graduating high school the year before. Hiro’s apathy regarding his intellect and future have driven his brother, Tadashi, and their Aunt Cass to distraction. One night, Tadashi brings his little brother to his “nerd lab”: the robotics laboratory he shares with other graduate students. It’s there that we meet Tadashi’s project, Baymax, and some of Tadashi’s fellows.

San Fransokyo, the city where the story is set, is clearly San Francisco, with some additions that lend a bit of futuristic pop and Japanese flavor. This aesthetic is shown in the redesigned towers of the Golden Gate bridge, as well as the university buildings. Arrays of turbines, decorated to look like happy cats and other characters, are scattered above the skyline.

The movie has moments of Chaplin-like humor, which should appeal to viewers of all ages. The best way to describe it, overall, might be “a science-fiction cartoon with a strong sense of humor.” I was particularly touched by the empathy and sense of family shown by Tadashi’s – and now Hiro’s – friends.

Big Hero 6 won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

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About the reviewer: Rachel Shuman has worked in Circulation at Tredyffrin Library since 2005. Her other favorite Disney animated films are WALL-E and Lilo and Stitch.