For starters, the short at the beginning can eat a dick pavlova.
And you know, I forgot there’s a reason I try my hardest to either see movies at home or in the dollar theater after everyone’s forgotten about them. I tend to like animated movies, but I don’t like children. At least when I talk through a movie, I try to do it quietly, and they tend to ruin serious or dramatic moments in a movie because they’re too young to understand human emotions. I thought I’d beaten the little monkeys by going to the dollar theater as I usually do, but since there aren’t any kids movies out right now, I guess I should have seen the mess of four foot gremlins that awaited me. So that might have tainted my movie-going experience and made me vow to try to talk through movies less.
But all things considered, Big Hero 6 is definitely a step in the right direction.
I vowed this year to be nicer to Disney and not inherently go into each movie thinking that it’s going to be crap. But this year I also came up with the phrase Disnappointing. So we’ll see which one ends up running the year. I’m going to try really hard to let it be the former.
Anyway, this movie left me with a depression that I’m starting to become very familiar with. It’s even bought me dinner once or twice. I would wonder here about becoming more jaded in my old age and just not enjoying animated movies much, but The Book of Life topped my Top Ten list this year, not to mention the other animated movies on that list (though How to Train Your Dragon 2 also gave me this feeling of melancholy).
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the movie! I’d even see it again when it comes out in RedBox. But because of that depression, some of this review might get a little more bitter and a little less funny. I’m just letting y’all know in case the tone shifts weirdly in the middle of a paragraph or something.
You know the drill. *SPOILERS* Put a bag over your head, close the browser, and go crawl into a sewer if you don’t want to know!
The movie starts out in San Fransokyo, a city built so we can have the familiar setting of San Francisco and all that anime stuff the kids are into these days. DON’T DENY IT!
So there are some dudes fighting with little robots in some kind of futuristic cock fighting situation or some such and there’s a huge dude who should really get his cholesterol checked or sign up to be a Sumo wrestler because he might as well with all that bulk. And somehow he has the most amazing robot fighter thing ever.
Sure, whatever, let’s roll with it.
Then our hero, uh, Hiro (I mean really??), shows up with a cutesy little robot and does the innocent little boy act, but we all know what’s coming, don’t we?
And he wins. But obviously big, bad heart attack in a track suit doesn’t appreciate being played for a ton of cashola and sics some goons on him. Luckily, his big brother Tadashi shows up and they make their escape!
Only to be picked up by the cops, because gambling is illegal for robot fights for reasons and comic relief.
Now, if you don’t know about Tadashi’s inevitable fate, you have either not seen the trailers or you have managed to not stumbled across it on the internet somehow, both of which are impressive feats. I went in knowing all about it and was determined not to give a shit about him, but for once, Disney actually made me get emotionally invested in the characters. I suppose that’s an accomplishment since I managed to not care about any of the characters in Frozen, literally.
So I was left simply resenting the movie for making me at least hope that he had some kind of interesting death.
And we’re introduced to their weird aunt, who raised them after their parents died of the fatal off camera disease of plot convenience. And she is a character I really wish had more screen time and development. Pretty much every line she says are funny and cute and I really like her and she was in, like, three scenes. -_- They could have had an interesting family dynamic, but they were too busy trying to shove about five plots into an hour and a half long movie.
And that’s my biggest complaint, I guess. There could have been two or three movies in this one movie alone, but instead we end up with a movie that just feels rushed.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, so Tadashi is trying to convince Hiro to enroll in his college, since he apparently graduated high school at 13, another plot point that just gets thrown at us in the random exposition scene taking place while they’re trying to get away from the not Sumo wrestler at the beginning. But anyway, Hiro doesn’t want to because he’s being a teenager, so Tadashi takes him on a tour of his lab at the college and we get a breakneck introduction of the other five “main” characters.
Honey Lemon, Wasabi, Go Go, and Fred. Each has a “kooky” and stereotypical personality type, which normally would be annoying, but it works for this movie better than it has any right to. The character that threw me the most was Fred, because the voice of Tuffnut was suddenly coming out of the screen at me. Apparently, the voice actor literally only does one type of character, because he even looked like Tuffnut only not Viking. So that was weird.
And then we get to meet Baymax, this month’s cutesy sidekick du jour. Personally, I find these characters annoying. And I know they’re not meant for me, but that’s not excuse! I always have said and will always say that movies made for children shouldn’t be allowed to phone it in and add cutesty things just because they think they’ll sell more toys! But, for the record, Baymax is actually a somewhat integral part of the plot, so I suppose I can’t hate him as much as I want to. Tadashi built him to be a walking, talking nurse to help people in a very unspecific way unless they need antibacterial spray or to be defibrillated.
And then we meet a guy who I pegged as either the villain or the dead old sage within a second, Professor Callahan. He encourages Hiro to enroll in the college, and he’s, like, Hiro’s, uh, hero or something, and so after seeing the lab and then that experience, Hiro decides to enroll. In order to do that, he has to build something that wows Callahan in a student expo.
What follows is a cute series of scenes in which we get some more Tadashi and Hiro time, which wouldn’t have trumpeted the tragedy even if I hadn’t known. No one gets sibling bonding time in a Disney movie without the older one dying! Because it’s always the older one . . . . *suspicious look at Disney* Should I be concerned for my safety? God, don’t ever let me get into a Dinsey movie! I’ll either end up dead or basically pushed aside to a life of loneliness while my sister gets the hot Sami guy. *coughFrozencough*
Actually, now that I think about it, how come sisters get to have both survive, but if you have a brother in a Disney movie, he ends up dead or evil? This needs to be addressed at some point, Disney!
Hm. Lost my train of thought again . . .
Oh, right, so, happy, twee moments and Hiro builds a bunch of stuff with the help of Tadashi and the gang and the night of the expo finally arrives! Hooray! Hiro is understandably nervous and we get one more Tadashi support scene, along with the rest of the gang, but psh, who cares about them? It’s not liek they’re an integral part of the movie title – oh wait.
Blah blah blah, Hiro blows everyone away with his invention, which is really just a massive adaptation of Callahan’s robot thing that he liked so much. I mean, he tweaked it super hardcore and altered it to the point of being an almost entirely new invention, but didn’t alter the appearance any, so I’m pretty sure that’s still copyright infringement, but who cares, I guess. He calls his invention Microbots (get it?) and they basically act like any of those tiny, mind-controlled robot things in most science fiction, joining together, moving around in an amorphous blob, etc.
Granted, animation technology makes them look really cool.
His invention is a hit with both Callahan and a man named Krei (which is prnouced Kree in the movie, but should by all rights be pronounced Cry, since it’s spelled the German way), who is set up to be the villain, which immediately made me suspect he wouldn’t be. It was too obvious, even for a Disney movie. After turning down Krei’s offer to buy the Microbots, he gets the coveted letter of acceptance into classes at the college from Callahan and everyone celebrates! Hooray! Tadashi takes Hiro for a little post expo chat before they plan on catching up to the rest of the group and have a little quiet moment of brotherly affection while staring out pensively at the city.
Can you just sense the massive tragedy on the horizon? Don’t worry. We’ll get to it soon.
Right now, in fact!
There’s a fire! The expo hall is on fire and they’re informed that Professor Callahan is still inside. Tadashi, being the older brother and not the main character, plays hero and gets blow up. It’s actually pretty dramatic, if completely pointless. No one runs into a building in which literally everything is on fire. That’s what firefighters are for and the entire building was on fire! Even if Callahan was still alive when he got in there, the odds of both of them making it out alive are minimal. So, while Tadashi’s death might be less pointless than some movies I could Frozen – I mean, mention, I couldn’t help but come away with an acute knowledge of how unimpressed I was with it.
Of course, when it comes to character deaths, I’m notoriously hard to please.
. . .
That was a weird sentence.
Understandably, Hiro spirals into a massive depression and gives up his robot building dreams and withdrawing from everything and everyone. The Five (I’m going to call them that because saying all their names is time consuming) try to cheer him up, but he’s 14, he’s having male PMS and his brother just died. Talk about double whammy.
Time to bring out Baymax again so that dumb kid behind me will stop crying.
What follows is a ditsy little scene involving Baymax trying to “help” Hiro and a few prat falls with some “wacky” dialog between Baymax and Hiro. I will admit to some chuckling over some of the moments, but I think I resisted most of the humor because of the kids guffawing like a rowdy group of tiny drunks around me. I think I’m turning into a Disney villain.
Speaking of villains, after a sequence of a snap tour of the streets of San Frasokyo, they find themselves at a creepy looking warehouse in the sketchier parts of town, but apparently there are no muggers in the future, only super villains with creepy warehouse. Hiro discovers that someone is manufacturing his Microbots, which he thought were all destroyed in the fire, and amassing huge numbers of them for . . . reasons.
And then the villain shows up. Someone on the dev team was watching The Legend of Korra while designing this guy, let me tell you. AND I”M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO’S NOTICED!!!
Just saying. And the Microbots even kind of look like some kind of metal bending nonsense. I’d probably be more upset if I didn’t think it was kind of kickass and one of the better aspects of the movie. It allows for flowing chase scenes that involve lots of twisting, hyper action, which is the kind of stuff I can dig like a shallow grave.
Hiro figures out that the guy in the mask must have set the fire to get the Microbots and therefore is responsible for killing Tadashi and goes all Batman on him, outfitting Baymax with some armor and karate moves, thinking that will be enough. Baymax continues to try to help him with his hormonal grief and goes along with it, but also manages to contact the Five, who show up later after following him and Hiro to the docks like creepers while they go after Mask Man (who should really have gotten some kind of cool super name, but noooooo. . . )
What follows is a fun chase scene in which the Five get some characterization, but not enough. And that’s probably my biggest bug bear for this movie. For a movie called Big Hero 6, there is way too much Hiro and not enough of the rest! And that’s a shame, because they have so much to offer! Despite their sterotypes, they are all actually strong personalities, they’re all nerds, which is cool but never really focused on, and they get next to no screen time unless it’s to bolster Hiro’s character.
I mean, really? They end up in the river and having to go to Fred’s house to dry off and be safe from Mask Man and they find out he’s a trust fund baby, not just a goof-off, and nothing is really made of it, other than revealing he’s got an awesome Alfred wannabe. WHAT?! What is this??? I feel like this should be addressed! And why is Honey Lemon such a hippie with an accent that seems to change depending on what words she’s saying? And where did Go Go gain her need for speed? And are we not going to address Wasabi’s obvious OCD? There could have been an entire buddy movie about the original “Big Hero 6” with Tadashi where they all work to find a place of acceptance where they don’t seem to belong with the nerds, but they’re too nerdy to feel at home with the rest of their stereotypes. It’s be like the Breakfast Club only with robots! And less 80’s hairstyles.
*sigh* Anyway, so they decide to band together and Hiro adapts all their inventions to make super cool suits for them to have, and the Fall Out Boy song during the montage is one of the best moments of the movie. All of the costumes and “powers” that come from this a pretty sweet, so maybe for the sequel (and I know there will be one), we can actually have them for more than two scenes, hm?
Third Rod to El Dorado gif this post. . . that never bodes well.
Anyway, it turns out Baymax was able to bioscan Mask Man (should I just call him not-Amon? Yeah.) and luckily, there’s apparently only one other person that matches the bio scan exactly. I’d call bullshit on this a lot more if I actually 100% knew what exactly Baymax’s bioscans read. And that person is hiding on not-Alcatraz (but it is), where they find some kind of exploded test site of Stargates (topical joke!) in which they have some exposition just handed to them in the form of security footage. They see that the Stargates are actually a failed test for some kind of teleportation portals (thankfully they didn’t go so far as so have blue and orange rings around them) in which a hat went through fine but not a human because reasons.
Not-Amon shows up and they have a fight scene in which they demonstrate how uncoordinated they are as a team, which, again, coul dhave been an entire movie on its own, but whatever. Hiro and Baymax manage to get the mask off Not-Amon, where he was keeping his mind control device for the Microbots.
And at this point, I figured it could be one of two people: the old guy who had “died” in the fire or the Krei guy’s quiet assistant, but there was not enough movie left for it to be the latter and we hadn’t seen her since the first scene with Krei and therefore would have no reason to care about her taking the technology, although they could have worked it into the plot somehow, if they’d put any effort in. But they went for the boring one instead.
*gasp* Professor Callahan?!
Ok, confession time. In case it hasn’t become clear in these little finger exercises, I tend to favor the villain leg on the gimpy movie bodies, especially ones that I find attractive. And I was finding not-Amon pretty hot as he’s doing all this cool robot surfing and tentacle moves all over the place, even with the little niggling thoughts on who was behind the mask, but when it finally was revealed that it was Callahan, who is, like, 60, I felt rather foolish. Not my fault they modeled him to have the body of a 30 year old under that coat! But still.
So Hiro ends up realizing that Tadashi died for literally no reason (that’s a little self aware, there, Disney) and flips his shit, taking out Baymax’s chip that prevents him from hurting people and tells him to destroy Callahan. The Five try to stop him and finally Honey Lemon gets the nursing chip back in him, but they’re all kind of freaked out by Hiro’s sudden homicidal turn in attitude. Hiro does the teenager “You guys will never understand!” thing and flies away on Baymax, leaving them all the have to call Fred’s not-Alfred and get him to pick them up.
What follows is a really effective and touching scene in which Baymax shows Hiro Tadashi’s test videos while he was working on him and Hiro realizes that even though Tadashi is gone, he would have wanted Hiro to be a better person than the man who ended up causing his death. So when the Five all show up again, he does the apology thing and hugs go around and they watch the security footage again, trying to figure out why Callahan had gone to the froot loop factory. It is revealed that the pilot that had been lost in the failed Stargate was his daughter.
I am so tired of villains that have to have some kind of “justified”(ish) reason or some kind of redeeming quality!! Hey, remember when we had villains that literally just wanted to use badass tiny robots to rule the world, get revenge, or just destroy a city because he hated the burritos at that one taco stand or whatever??? Look, Disney, Dreamworks, Sony, Warner Bros., 20th Century, and whoever else is planning on making a kids’ movie in the future, enough with the villains that are sympathetic, with the villains that literally come out of left field in the last half of the third act, and with the villains who need some kind of deep reason to do what they do. We are allowed to have villains that just want to take over the world, you know.
Or hell, even movies in which there is no villain, like Hotel Transylvania, and the conflict comes from actual emotions and coming of age stories. All of those are better than movies that have a redeemable or justified villain. I don’t want to see that. I’m sure a kid who doesn’t understand the greys in life don’t want that. But hell, now that I’m thinking about it, I guess you could use those types of villains to teach kids about all of the ambiguities of life, but not when you have the cop out ending coming up.
So we’re all set to go into a climactic showdown between the heroes and the villain, who is on his way to ruin Krei’s day. And life. Well, basically to just kill him after destroying a big important, I guess, building with the same Stargate technology that had taken his daughter from him. You know, the scientist from Astro Boy could have gone this route, but instead, he just goes crazy and builds a new son. Much more reasonable.
Fight scene happens, villain is defeated, but the Stargate isn’t closing! Oh no! The Krei guy says something about it destroying itself but Baymax senses that Callahan’s daughter is still inside and still alive! Whoop dee friggin do! That means the villain’s sole motivation has just been negated and Tadashi actually died for nothing!
UGH! Also, it makes it so that any kind of moral discussions or whatever about Callahan’s reasons for becoming not-Amon are completely defenestrated!
*sigh* So with that rather weak ending, I was left feeling like the movie could have been so much more, and that was Disnappointing. But I’d like to reiterate that I did like this movie. That probably didn’t come off at all in this review, but it’s always more fun to find things to complain about. I’d recommend the comic books this movie was based off of, if for nothing other than more focus on the Five and maybe some backstory or something (to be honest, haven’t actually read them yet). But I also recommend this movie. Just watch it without the larva. Maybe when I see it again from RedBox, I’ll be feelign better disposed toward it. The visuals are good, the concept is solid, the characters are actually quite engaging, and many of the plot points are pretty good. I just wish there was more depth.