It’s pretty rare that I’m left speechless. As my mom puts it, I started talking at 6 months old and haven’t stopped. I’m sure friends and family will agree with her.
And then I saw “Big Hero 6.” I have no words for it and struggled with figuring out exactly what to say.
Admittedly, it’s not the movie I had planned on seeing this week. However, an erratic work schedule and an 8:30 p.m. showtime for the nearly three-hour-long “Interstellar” meant I had to have a Plan B.
The animated “BH6” revolves around Hiro, a 14-year-old genius with a bad attitude and time to spare. He hustles others in illegal “bot fights” while his older brother, Tadashi, balances classes at a local “nerd” school with keeping his Hiro out of trouble.
Tragedy strikes — as it always does in a Disney film — and Hiro joins forces with Tadashi’s friends and a friendly med robot named Baymax to fight an evil mastermind that controls stolen microbots.
Critics and fans have raved about this movie, giving it overly positive reviews on sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Everyone, it seems, loves the movie. And then there’s me. While it’s a decent film, there’s nothing overly remarkable about it.
Our hero, aptly named Hiro I’m guessing, is a little bit of a brat. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, whether from losing his parents at 3 years old or being the future’s Doogie Howser I’m not sure. He graduated high school early but has no real plans for the future aside from entering his homemade robot into fights and scoring cash.
Tadashi has fueled his own grief into the creation of Baymax. The robot — an oversized, cuddly robot reminiscent of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man — is built to help those in need. He’s trained in thousands of medical procedures and activates when he hears someone in distress. When things turn disastrous in the story, Hiro hijacks Baymax and trains him in martial arts, creating a marshmallow bodyguard and superhero.
The action sequences are great, especially for an animated film. There’s humor blended with touching, tender moments here and there. All in all, the film creates a good film that has all of the right elements for success.
That being said, it’s still nothing remarkable. If not for Baymax, the film isn’t one I would sit through. The robot, despite its artificial intelligence, proves to be the most human-like character in the story. His compassion and friendship go beyond actions on a screen and left me genuinely touched.
Hiro just manages to annoy me, more often than not. He twists Baymax past his protocols and creates a fighting machine. He helps his friends GoGo, Wasabi, Honey and Fred utilize their individual skills and talents to become superheroes as well, ultimately forming the title group.
Set in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, the world of San Francisco is blended seamlessly with Asian culture. It’s a little confusing at times but also a smart move. The city is two cultures that have become one.
I just wish the cultures of the Big Hero 6 were as easily deciphered. It’s an ethnically diverse group, although I couldn’t have figured that out. Honey — who I just thought looked like Buffy Summers in glasses — is apparently Latina, although I would never have been able to tell you. Fred is a not overly bright white guy. GoGo, Tadashi and Hiro are of Asian descent, although an L.A. Times interview with Ryan Potter — the voice behind Hiro — describes the latter as biracial. And Wasabi is black — and over-the-top when it comes to worrying, even going so far as to stop at red lights and use his turn signal during a life-or-death car chase. (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” wasn’t the only 1990s reference I managed to pull out of this film. There’s also a circular transporting wormhole device that is straight out of “Stargate.”)
So, if it wasn’t for Baymax, I’m pretty certain I would have gotten frustrated with the movie early on.
Speaking of early on, there is one definite thing I absolutely adored about “BH6”: the short before the film. Disney has begun placing short animated features before the actual film. What I hadn’t realized is that the shorts are somehow connected to the overall story arc of the feature film it precedes. For this one, we had a lovable story called “Feast.”
It centers around a precocious little Boston Terrier named Winston who loves to eat. A lot. He and his bachelor owner enjoy tons of junk food until something dark and dastardly steps in: love. Winston’s owner falls for a vegan waitress, and gone are the tasty meals of yesterday. It’s a sweet story and one that I absolutely adored. It’s a little sad, though, that a six-minute short left more of an impression on me than the main film.
Maybe I just missed the point of the film. “Feast” and BH6 are similar tales. Both are stories of heartbreak, discovery, loss and love. Both Winston and Hiro must realize there is something bigger than their own selfish whims. But “Feast” was simple. There was no glitz, no glamour, no high-tech toys. It didn’t need gadgets and gizmos a plenty, to steal a phrase from everyone’s favorite mermaid.
“Big Hero 6” will entertain and amuse most, especially if you’re a 10-year-old boy, but for me, it’s only saving grace was a big, huggable robot.