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Nerds can be cool, too
One thing is clear: Marvel is the dictionary entry for “box office success”. Whether if you are a fan or unfamiliar with their works, in reality, every single movie of theirs can make anyone go to watch it. Back in 2009, the eyes of all the movies fans turned to Disney who acquired Marvel Studios later that year. “What would come up from that partnership?” was of course the most frequently asked question. Well, after 5 years of relationship, we finally have the first product that comes from the fusion of the two behemoths of the industry. Marvel’s field of expertise, superheroes, combines its forces with the pioneer of animation, Disney, to bring Big Hero 6, a CGI superhero origin tale based on the comic of the same name that brings those life lessons we are all used to see from Disney and Pixar: tragedy, loss, family first, and one’s quest to grow. And, frankly, the result is outstanding.
On a parallel distant future, San Francisco has merged with Tokyo to become San Fransokyo, where apparently, robots are now things of every day’s life. It is here where Big Hero 6 tells the tale of Hiro (Ryan Potter) and older brother Tadashi (Daniell Henney), two orphaned boys that are geniuses in electronics. The difference is that Hiro is very cocky to go to university and prefers earning money (illegally), in underground robot fights. Tadashi, as the father figure, concerned about his little brother, tricks him into thinking he will take him to his next fight, but instead, takes him to his university to meet his nerdy friends and learn about their science projects. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Tadashi shows Hiro his own life’s work, a robot, “designed to be adorable”, medical assistant, Baymax (Scott Adsit).
Fascinated about the new world he has discovered, Hiro is convinced he wants to study in that same institute. He presents a project which wins him the ticket to sign up for it and everything is joy for everybody. Suddenly, a tragedy occurs in the school, killing Tadashi and leaving Hiro alone. In his depression, he accidentally activates Baymax, who tries to treat his inner wounds by calling Tadashi’s best friends, who are now his friends, too. This is the moment when Hiro discovers the events of the school might not have been “accidentally”, so he and the group decide to build powerful costumes based on science to help them on their journey to find out who is behind all of this, including Baymax.
Since many years ago, the animated sector has not exactly deliver “children’s movies”. Instead, they are movies that come with a deep plot but are, at the same time, easy for all the family to digest. The main focus of this animated film is a direct message: nerds can be cool, too. The word Nerd is frequently used in the movie without any of the common “cool guys” to bully them. It is something that is understood very early on the story, however, the other elements that comprise it make it a terrific plot. Some life lessons about how to overcome loss with the help of friends is perhaps not a new concept, but it surely has to be applied carefully for a family-friendly film. We all know something about the Disney protocol: there has to be drama. Nobody can forget what happens in The Lion King, Tarzan, Bambi, among others, and Big Hero 6 follows the Disney’s tradition by not making it feel cliché nor dark for children.
But I’m not saying the movie is only about drama! On the contrary, it is packed with so many funny moments sometimes you forget what they are trying to do. At the same time, the film is packed with so many emotional, heartbreaking moments, with most of them involving our big, stuffed balloon droid. He is a robot, yes, but the legacy of Tadashi that was programmed in his chip is crucial for Hiro to understand his true purpose. It might not be as groundbreaking as other giant Disney movies, but it does its job, although it has some Iron Man influences along the story that are quite obvious to notice. Finally, Big Hero’s 6 animation is magnificent. The competence in CGI animation is surely a big one, with most movies from DreamWorks, BlueSky, Fox and Disney/Pixar resulting in such a sight for the eyes that the sense of awe is inevitable and this visual delight is no exception.
Disney’s latest animation, with the influence of Marvel, results in a very nice, emotional and vastly funny experience. It is definitely one of the funniest CGI movies I’ve seen in a while. It is everything you would expect from the fusion of two of the experts in high-grossing films. The full experience of more than a century at making animated films and the superhero comics’ theme end up making a very good result. Perhaps some things might look a little recycled from previous films of both studios, but it’s nothing that truly affects the viewer’s experience. What really affects the spectator’s eye is the gorgeous visuals and the endearing plot that is unfolded by the great bond of Hiro and Tadashi and, later on, Hiro and his 5 big sidekicks. I keep falling in love with these movies that are not “children’s movies” anymore. These are family-friendly movies, which means, a strong message for the whole family to understand.
Rating: 8.5 – Definitely worth it