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|Big Hero 6
dir Don Hall, Chris Williams
prd Roy Conli
scr Robert L Baird, Daniel Gerson, Jordan Roberts
voices Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, TJ Miller, Genesis Rodriguez, Damon Wayans Jr, Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk, Daniel Henney, Katie Lowes, David Shaughnessy
release US 7.Nov.14, UK 30.Jan.15
14/US Disney 1h48
A few upgrades: Baymax and Hiro
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
Bright and flashy, with enough energy to keep the audience entertained, this animated action-adventure movie is far too formulaic to become a classic. Based on a fringe Marvel comic, the premise has been thoroughly Disneyfied with the standard array of characters and a predictable mix of thrills, emotions and sentimentality. But some witty writing and a quick pace make it enjoyable.
In San Fransokyo, 15-year-old geek Hiro (Potter) and his big brother Tadashi (Henney) are living with Aunt Cass (Rudolph) after their parents died. Then Tadashi is killed in an explosion that Hiro believes he might have caused. While grieving, he meets Tadashi's inflatable health-care robot Baymax (Adsit), who helps him discover that the explosion was actually caused by a mysterious masked villain who stole Hiro's invention. Baymax then helps Hiro assemble a team of Tadashi's nerd pals (Chung, Miller, Rodriguez and Wayans) to track down the baddie, who's clearly planning something horrible.
The plot is reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy, as the Big Hero 6 are assembled, each with his or her own colour scheme. They're essentially just one personality point each: Chung's Go Go is a rebel, Miller's Fred is the goof-off, Rodrigues' Honey Lemon is the girly girl and Wayans' Wasabi is the hapless nice guy. Potter and Adsit invest a bit more into the charming interaction between Hiro and Baymax, mainly because Baymax's dialog is very funny.
He also looks pretty hilarious, all marshmallow fluffiness until the usual superhero nonsense creeps in as Hiro kits Baymax out in armour, weapons and gadgets. By contrast, the villain's appearance feels cliched and his use of Hiro's microbots is never very interesting, opting for spectacle over anything clever or meaningful. At least the setting is very cool, and the colourfully detailed city makes up for characters who look like vaguely compromised anime.
The compromises leave the film feeling lacklustre. Young kids won't mind, because the action is whizzy and thrilling. But older audiences never get a hint of suspense or emotional resonance. Everything is simplistic and obvious, trying so hard to please focus group audiences that it's almost impossible to find any artistic passion. Even the final moments, which introduce the team as a franchise-launcher, cynically suggest that this is a marketing project, not a movie.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
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© 2014 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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