REVIEW: Big Hero 6

27 02 2015

Disney Animation often tries to repackage tried and true formulas, although they usually pull their material from within.  “Tangled” and “Frozen,” of course, try to channel the hand-drawn princess magic.  “Big Hero 6,” on the other hand, appropriates from one of the best non-Mouse House animated films of recent years: “The Iron Giant.”

Baymax, the robotic spectacle of “Big Hero 6,” looks more like a giant marshmallow puff than a welded set of metal beams.  His function, however, proves virtually analogous to the Iron Giant’s.  Baymax arrives to help and to heal, not to inflict harm or wounds.  This mainly takes the form of ministering to a boy in a single-parent household still reeling from the loss of a family member; here, that would be the racially ambiguous Hiro.

Even though Baymax looks cushier and sounds more gently reassuring than the scratchily voiced (by Vin Diesel, no less) metallic behemoth, “Big Hero 6” feels lacking in the charm and emotional pull of “The Iron Giant.”  Heck, it falls short of even some of the mode mediocre Disney flicks.  And it certainly does not have the creativity of “Wreck-It Ralph” to fall back on when it cannot deliver on the feelings front.  While “Big Hero 6” crafts a clever world – San Fransokyo – in which its characters can roam and provides some flashy visuals, it skimps out on character development and thus cannot quite deliver that human spark when it needs to do so.

This might have something to do with the fact that the film started out as a Marvel property.  Even though they gave Disney full autonomy to make the movie they wanted, the influence of the comics juggernaut rears its head once more to spoil what could have been a great movie.  By the time “Big Hero 6” gets to some fairly complex moral deliberations from its simple-speaking robot in the final act, the stakes are not really established to make them feel of any consequence.  B-2stars



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