Cool Things: Big Hero 6

It’s time to contradict a rule I shared with you just last month – I’ve only seen this movie once. I’m still okay with recommending it to you.

Big Hero 6 is, hands down, the best movie released in 2014 that I’ve watched so far. For those wondering, other movies of this year that I’ve seen include The Amazing Spiderman 2, The Lego Movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Edge of Tomorrow. And yes, Big Hero 6 is better than all of them. Not by much, in the cases of fellow Marvel property Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Edge of Tomorrow, but still better.

Let’s start with the basics. If you’ve seen any of the trailers you know that, at it’s heart, the movie is about grief. Protagonist Hiro Hamada lost his parents at a young age and his remaining family consists of his single aunt and older brother, Tadashi. Then Tadashi dies.

The sum total of Tadashi’s legacy consists of his younger brother, his four friends from college and his experimental healthcare assistant robot Baymax. Again, if you’ve seen a trailer for this film you already know that the squishy, huggable Baymax is a major character in this story.

Other films and other media have tackled the issue of robots among us before. It may seem hard to believe that there’s any new ground to break. And maybe there’s not but every moment Baymax is on the screen he’s so fun, so charming and so pure-hearted you really won’t care. It may be odd to say but it’s Baymax, the creature of programmed behavior and mannerisms, that comes off as the real hero of this bunch.

Baymax has one purpose in life – to see to the health of the people around him. When it becomes apparent to Baymax that Hiro is suffering from grief and depression he starts working to cure it. Most of the important moments of emotional development in the story are a direct result of Baymax’s actions.

Robots tend to be very flat, one dimensional characters even in their best depictions. But Baymax surpasses that problem in spades and he alone would make the movie worthwhile. Fortunately we get more than just one good character in this movie.

Hiro is a very believable protagonist as well. Sure, he’s a genius and most of us movie goers aren’t but in watching him get caught up in dreams, goals and ultimately grief we see in him a very human, relatable character who’s just trying to figure out who he’s supposed to be in a world that seems very set on taking away all his points of refrerence.

The supporting cast is a lot of fun, too, and better experienced than described. Unfortunately, outside of the mask-wearing villain and Tadashi there’s not much development among them. The movie is already pretty packed and there wouldn’t have been much time for developing them more but it’s still kind of disappointing to have funny stereotypes rather than funny characters. Keep your fingers crossed for a sequel and maybe we’ll see more of them developed.

It’s really hard to talk overmuch about the plot in this film. Most of the villain, from his identity to his goals, is kept a secret until the end so I can’t really say much about it. A shrewd writer will probably see through the twist but the ride is still more than worth it. I will say I like the way the story sets up and then subverts common expectations.

In the end the one complaint I had about Big Hero 6 after walking out of the theater is that I wanted more of it. More fun, more time with the characters, more stories to explore and enjoy. And if that’s the only complaint you have then the movie is obviously doing a lot right.

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