Disney steps up animation game with ‘Big Hero 6’

By: Nathan Helfferich – Staff Writer

With the exception of DreamWorks hits such as “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” many animated film knockouts are associated with one word: Pixar. Year after year, Pixar produces some of the most creative, heartwarming films brought to theaters. Not to be outdone by their affiliate, Walt Disney Animation Studios has made a resurgence over the past few years. We rediscovered our love for princess movies with “Princess and the Frog” and “Tangled,” revisited our early childhoods of arcade fun with “Wreck-it-Ralph,” and sang our hearts out to “Frozen.”

Enter the futuristic, technologically advanced city of San Fransokyo and you will find Hiro Hamada (played by Ryan Hiro), a 14-year-old robotics genius who wastes his intelligence participating in illegal robot fights rather than pursuing a college education. Hiro lives with his quirky aunt and older, equally intelligent brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney). Contrary to Hiro, Tadashi uses his intelligence to his advantage and attends “Nerd School,” the local science college only suited for the brightest and best. Tadashi’s latest project involves a medical, marshmallow-resembling robot named Baymax (Scott Adsit) who can scan a patient and treat them within seconds. Baymax doesn’t power off until his patient declares that they are “satisfied with their service.”

A tour around Tadashi’s school including peeks at other student’s projects inspires Hiro to seek enrollment. As a form of application, Hiro invents a breakthrough technology involving microbots and neurological transmitters that control their movement. Hiro is devastated after an unfortunate accident involving the theft of his microbots follows the unveiling of his experiment.

Baymax quickly attempts to fix an emotionally damaged Hiro, whether he likes it or not.

Baymax is programmed to cure physical pain, not emotional illness, which leads to a learning process that educates the adults of the audience while the kids can wholeheartedly giggle. Ultimately, those giggles were surpassed by boasting laugher of adults on more than one occasion. Amidst amusing fist bumps and a crash course in karate, Hiro and Baymax team up with four students from the college to fight the masked villain that stole Hiro’s extraordinary microbots.

Between “The Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Disney has proved that teams of superheroes make for an incredible movie. “Big Hero 6” was no exception. Where “Big Hero 6” truly soars is through the imaginative superhero designs for each of the six, every superhero has their own unique power that directly relates to their interests and inventions, whether it is Wasabi’s (Daymon Wayans Jr.) slicing hand extensions, Go Go’s (Jamie Chung) innovative twist on roller blades, or Fred’s (T.J. Miller) fiery version of a mascot. As expected from any Disney movie, emotional attachment to the loving characters is unavoidable.

Another place in which Walt Disney Animation Studios truly shines in “Big Hero 6” is through the breathtaking animation. Fast-paced action scenes that scatter the streets of San Fransokyo leave the audience ducking in and out of excitement along with the rest of the six. Beautiful views of the city have you convinced that you’re going to book a ticket to San Fransokyo the minute the movie ends. Technological beauty in the form of animation is simply an added bonus to the magnificence of great storytelling that “Big Hero 6” possesses.

While many believe that Pixar still may stand atop the mountain of animation success, an evening with irresistible Baymax, young gun Hiro and the rest of the eclectic six makes you wonder if that’s going to change sometime soon. Ceaseless laughter, fun and excitement make “Big Hero 6” a must see for all ages. And if Baymax was wondering: yes, I am extremely satisfied with my service.