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Laramie Movie Scope: Big Hero 6

Another big hit from the Disney-Marvel machine

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 10, 2014 -- From the looks of things, this film could be one of Disney Studios biggest hits. It uses a Marvel Comics character, it has Japanese characters to appeal to Asian markets, and it is as good as most of the Pixar films released under the Disney banner. Disney has evolved to meet the demands of the market.

“Big Hero 6” is an animated film that really isn't a movie for kids. There is enough humor in it aimed at kids to get a few laughs from younger kids, but most of it is aimed at older kids and adults, who will be more familiar with the parts of the story dealing with death, loss, depression and revenge. There is some dark stuff in this film, but most kids can probably handle it.

The story is about a young genius and troublemaker, Hiro Hamada, who lives with his Aunt Cass in future city called San Fransokyo, a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo. Hiro's brother, Tadashi, is a responsible college student, but Hiro likes to make money gambling on robot wars. He's a hustler who gets himself into trouble. One of his hustles lands both Hiro and Tadashi in jail. After that Tadashi manages to persuade Hiro to clean up his act and go to college with him.

Hiro works hard on a project to impress Professor Robert Callaghan at the college. He presents his project at a science fair hosted by Professor Callaghan and wows the crowd. It is a microbot system controlled by thought. Small robots can link together to form any object the operator can think of. Right after Hiro's moment of triumph, there is a fire in the building. Tadashi runs into the burning building to save people, but is killed in a big explosion. Callaghan and Tadashi are both gone.

Hiro is depressed and stays in his room, refusing to come out. Then he accidentally activates Baymax, a robot created by Tadashi. Baymax is a medical robot, who is built like a balloon man, soft and non-threatening. Baymax, trying to cure Hiro's depression, leads him to a warehouse where someone is making microbots, exactly the same as the ones Hiro created. A man in a Kabuki mask appears and threatens Hiro and Baymax. The stranger is in control of a large number of microbots.

Hiro realizes that the fire which killed his brother may have been set deliberately in order to provide cover for whoever stole his microbots. He decides to go after the man in the mask. He upgrades Baymax with weapons and enlists Tadashi's friends, GoGo Tomago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred to help him get justice for Tadashi. They are all fellow students of Tadashi, except for Fred, who is the school mascot, and is almost identical to the Shaggy character in the Scooby Doo stories.

As you can tell, this is a pretty sophisticated story, and it becomes more so as it goes on. It is a superhero movie about love, hatred, loss, revenge, courage and sacrifice. It is also a coming of age story. One of the interesting things about the story is how we learn a lot about Tadashi from Baymax. Tadashi put so much of himself into the robot that it represents him and his ideas.

The animation in the film is excellent and the voice actors to a fine job too. Unlike most recent animation films, no big stars are in the voice cast. While there are some well-known names in the cast, such as Maya Rudolph and James Cromwell, it looks like a lot of actors who needed the work got paid in this film. I think this is the way it should be done most of the time, with the obvious exceptions for top actors with very distinctive voices or extraordinary voice talents.

Disney reportedly put a lot of money into the animation technology used in this film, and it shows up on the screen. There is a lot of detail and photo-realism in the animation, and a lot of visual imagination. It looks great. This is an exceptional animated film. It rates an A.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2014 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)