Marvel has countless properties beyond the most iconic ones that have been adapted to film and serial cartoons (multiple times for some). Many have small, but devoted fan bases who want to see them adapted to the big screen. Now that Disney owns Marvel studios, it owns every property not already owned by Sony or Fox. When they allow two live action films a year, it limits the risks they are willing to take. Adapting Big Hero 6 as an animated feature was a creative solution to the issue. After all, they’ve adapted multiple classic fairytales for the past eight decades, why not comics. They reflect modern interpretation of mythology, and are a modern form of literature.
Big Hero 6, is a film that children and adults can both enjoy, making it truly deserving of the term “family film.” The humor in it is genuinely funny and the tragedy is genuinely tear-jerking (aside from an obvious fake out near the end).
The central protagonist is Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), a 14 year old genius who lives in a city that is a hybrid of San Francisco and Tokyo (San Fransokyo). He puts his brain to work building robots that appear to be weak, but uses them to hustle in illegal robot fighting, much to the chagrin of his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney, who uses his own brain to design Baymax (Scott Adsit) and inflatable robot doctor/nurse). When Tadashi shows Hiro, the lab where he and his friends develop new inventions at a local university, Hiro is determined to attend. He meets several of Tadashi’s friends from the lab who are supportive of his goal to attend the university.
For his entrance exam, he develops microbots that impress the university staff including Tadashi’s mentor Professor Callahan (James Cromwell) and a profiteer entrepreneur Alistair Krei (Alan Tudyk, there seems to be a bit of a trend with this character and his character from Frozen), whom Callahan warns Hiro not to trust. The microbots disappear, leading Hiro and Baymax to join forces with the other young inventors from the university lab to save the city.
The humor from the trailer is even funnier in the actual film (typical of a Marvel adaptation, there is a great post credits scene, so be sure to stick around for that). Baymax is a character that people can’t help, but love and Hiro is a character that people can’t help but root for. He faces a couple of ethical and moral dilemmas that show how much he needs his friends. The team have to use their brains more than their physical fighting skills (none of them exactly have super strength.) Seeing the team work together and watching the innocent Baymax adapt to his new role as a superhero is always fun. The animation style is similar to that of Tangled and Frozen, making the 21st century Disney digital animation distinctive from Dreamworks and Pixar (both, like Marvel are Disney properties). Big Hero 6, has the quality that will make it enjoyable on repeated viewings, making it a fine addition to any DVD-maybe Blu-Ray collection. It’s also been out for a couple of weeks, so it is a good option for Thanksgiving weekend if Mockingjay and Penguins of Madagascar are sold out or just plain over crowded.