Hammering Out... Big Hero 6

Hammering Out... Big Hero 6

Hammering Out... is a series of movie reviews featuring a lively he said/she said discussion between John and Julie.  Next up: BIG HERO 6.

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JOHN: With Marvel dominating the multiplexes, DC releasing a schedule of movies for the next 10 years (hopefully not all directed by Zack Snyder), and TV clogged with episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow, and The Flash, there has been a lot written lately about a so-called "superhero fatigue."  I thought those writers were crazy.  This, coming from the guy who loved Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Superhero stories haven't worn out their welcome - it just depends on the individual movie/TV show.  If they're good enough, it doesn't matter if they involve superheroes.  Then came Big Hero 6.

Big Hero 6 is Disney's latest animated offering, following in the wake of last year's uber-successful Frozen.  It's based on an obscure Marvel comic book property - one of the early spoils of Disney's acquisition.  It's legitimately good.  It's a cute movie.  Gorgeously animated, clever in spots, and it features an enormously likeable central character in Baymax, a gentle, inflatable nursing robot.  And yet.  Midway through, it becomes just another superhero movie.  Generic action, underdeveloped supporting characters, an inscrutable villain.  I enjoyed the movie, but I left disappointed.  I wanted more.  Actually, I wanted less Marvel, more Disney.  Big Hero 6 gave me my first real pangs of Superhero Fatigue.  It's a real thing, like FOMO and Restless Leg Syndrome.

Don't get me wrong - Big Hero 6 is a solid animated offering, sure to please both kids and adults.  But, as it progressed, and apart from a surprisingly emotional ending, I thought it just went through the standard superhero motions, doing an adequate job of it, if not much more.  I greatly preferred Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon 2, which easily takes the cake for Best Animated Movie of the year.

Am I being too hard on the movie?  I was pretty hard on Frozen last year, and then I came around after the second, and third, and fourth, and fifth viewing.  Should I give Big Hero 6 another shot?

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JULIE: I'm sure you will get another chance to see it, especially since our son has already started quoting Baymax around the house.

The movie was cute. And that's about it. You're right that the supporting characters were half-baked, though likable. I was especially a fan of Wasabi and how he got his name, and would've liked to see more of him and the rest, even T.J. Miller, who is just giving us straight up T.J. Miller-ness here. He's basically a Disney-ed down version of his Silicon Valley character, and I don't mean that in a negative way.

Another thing I liked was that the main character wasn't just another schlubby white dude who accidentally saves the day. A) He wasn't even white (yay for the diversity in this film), and B) he wasn't schlubby or stupid. He was a super smart kid who needed to start living up to his potential.

I am on board with what you're saying about the superhero stuff. It's too "been there, done that, and done it way better." The super powers are cool and based on the futuristic science of this film and not on magic or mutations, but they're never really used in a way that made me think, "Hey, I've never seen that before." The fight at the end is kind of a mess, as is the reveal of the man in the kabuki mask. The main thing this movie has going for it is enjoyable characters and a nice bit of humor, but that's really as deep as it goes.

I'd much rather talk about the animated short in front of the film, called Feast, which nearly had me bawling my eyes out before I even got to the dead brother in Big Hero 6.

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JOHN: Oh yeah, Feast was amazing.  Now, THAT was Disney at its best.  I immediately wanted to go home and hug our dog.  But, then he started whining at me and asking for a Kong, and I quickly got over it.  I do like the whole experience, however, of getting an animated short before the feature film.  That's just a fun thing, and I hope Disney continues to do it.

As a fellow geek, I was happy to see a cast of characters full of geeks, and inventors, and wacky rich stoner dudes (a/k/a T.J. Miller a/k/a real-world Shaggy).  Disney clearly knows what it's doing, and the movie gives viewers just enough to walk away satisfied and ready to buy Baymax merchandise.  I'll admit it - I'm a sucker.  I bought a Funko Pop of Baymax, a Christmas ornament, a t-shirt, and a stuffed Baymax for the kids before I even saw the movie!  I guess it's a compliment to the movie then that I'm not (totally) ashamed for having purchased all of that.

But, enough from us old fuddy-duddies.  Let's consult the target audience.  What do you say Boy-Child (age 6)?  Did you like the movie?

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BOY-CHILD AGE 6: I liked Fred, and his super suit because it blew fire and it had three eyes.  I also liked normal Baymax, but also superhero Baymax.  Superhero Baymax was cool because he had a rocket fist.  I didn't like the bad guy because he was a human and I wanted him to be a robot or an alien.  I liked Big Hero 6 better than How to Train Your Dragon 2 [Editor's Note: Son, you're a fool], Muppets Most Wanted, The Book of Life, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and I liked it just as much as Transformers: Age of Extinction [Editor's Note: yup, that's about right], Godzilla, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

JOHN: Well, there you have it folks.  About as good as Trans4mers.  That about sums it up.  Anything else, Jules?  Time for ratings?

JULIE: Time for ratings. On a scale of Scandal characters from Fitz pre-Jerry's death to Fitz post-Jerry's death, I give it a solid Harrison, but in his worst suit.

JOHN: I'd give it a solid, if unexceptional 3 out of 5 stars.  Also, I'd be remiss not to point out that the funniest part of the movie is anytime Baymax does a fist bump.  Bonus points to the Disney marketing team for holding that gag back from the trailers, and keeping it fresh.

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