MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Walt Disney Pictures
Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams. Animated Feature.
The posters and trailers for Big Hero 6 prominently feature a balloon-like creature, so I just naturally thought that his name must be “Big Hero 6”. (When I was a kid I also thought that the name of the bald-headed boy in the comics was “Peanuts”.) It turns out that this character is actually named Baymax (voiced by Scott Adsit) and he is a medical assistant robot from the near future.
Big Hero 6 is based on a lesser-known Marvel comic book and the adventure is set in the fictional city of San Fransokyo which is – you guessed it! – a metropolis with parts of San Francisco and Tokyo morphed into one. (The futuristic charms of Tokyo were also morphed with Los Angeles in a similar way in last year’s Her.)
Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) is a 14-year old orphan living with his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) and his guardian, caring and cool Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph), who owns a hip bakery/cafe. Hiro loves designing battle-bots that he enters in underground robot competitions, but this world is full of gamblers and thugs; it is dangerous company for a child prodigy. His brother introduces him to a technological institute full of young multi-ethnic geniuses who are inventing the world of the future. If Hiro impresses the faculty he might qualify for a scholarship and join his brother in an exciting new career.
Since the film’s entertainment value rests in an element of surprise, I won’t say much more about the story. Big Hero 6 celebrates creativity for the common good, friendship and sacrifice for others, with some exciting action scenes and a lovable character in Baymax. It is also visually quite beautiful and the 3D effects are used sparingly but effectively in conveying the wonder and beauty of San Fransokyo. I am also happy to report that at last we have a future movie world that is hopeful rather than dystopian, with energy sources and inventions that have improved the environment. Hurrah!
My one regret is that as the minutes on screen tick by, the movie slowly but surely moves into Marvel Universe gear, introducing us to more characters and setting up possibilities for sequels and cross-character plot threads. The original uniqueness of Big Hero 6 eventually segues into “been there, seen that” territory.
Still, this is a fun and entertaining film that was a pleasure to watch. It also gives us a plot development that can be used to talk about the love of Jesus Christ; a Christmas present wrapped in the pretty paper that is Big Hero 6.
P.S.: Be sure to stick around through the credits for a bonus minute of content, including a surprise revelation.
Three halos: An entertaining comic book movie with a big heart.
Two pitchforks: For cartoon violence and villainy; an unexpected death.
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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