With so many comic book properties having either run their course, or underwhelming at the box office, it’s great that fans of the genre are getting a breath of fresh air in the form of lesser-known properties. Big Hero 6, for those of you who don’t follow anything but A-list super heroes, is a Marvel property. Albeit an obscure one, sometimes it takes a horse of a different color to not only grab audiences, but keep them engaged.
Given that Disney Animation has turned a corner in recent years (see: Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen) – not only embracing the digital realm but doing so with equal portions of talent and budget – this is another surefire win for the studio. And given that the film took home the Oscar for Best Animated Picture earlier in the year, the studio should be happy to keep taking chances on, more or less, new ground.
For years, decades really, Disney excelled at putting a colorful and kid-friendly spin on any number of existing stories from countries and civilizations across the globe. It’s nice to get something which doesn’t feel unnecessarily forced or re-branded. Big Hero 6 unfolds like a familiar story from the pages of a comic book, yet we become immersed in his world with little to no pandering.
It’s exciting to see a kid, granted one who is far more advanced than he should be at a young age, fall into a series of overwhelming situations that force him to excel and become a hero. Further, he finds solace with a team of like-minded individuals coping with the same problems. For all the whiz-bang action and the boisterous humor, it’s the strong familial element that creates the backbone to the story.
Really, the film wouldn’t be the same, or worth anything without it as it brings emotional gravity to the struggles; you have to bond to the character and become endeared to them to really find satisfaction when they overcome their struggles. Big Hero 6, coming from a studio fluent in character (and a good amount of manipulation) does so well with the material, it’s a shame we hadn’t been introduced to them before now. Perhaps it wasn’t their time (again, other safe bets had to run their course) but after Guardians of the Galaxy was a hit, we’re bound to see more off-kilter properties like this very soon.
It seems redundant saying “the graphics in these animated titles are stunning” because every studio, even those with a modest budget, is putting out spectacular work these days. But still it deserves to be said that the animators gave Big Hero 6 their all. With fabrics, textures, and colors so vibrant and photo-real, even those with a keen eye might mistake the digital pixels of San Fransokyo for actual video footage. Yes, it looks that good.
Helping round out the newly minted heroes, is an exceptional score from Henry Jackman. Jackman lent his bleepy and energetic sound to Wreck-It Ralph and this time he comes to the table with a really big theme. His music is not only essential to the story, it does nearly half the heavy lifting that the writers and animators do. And as a Marvel movie, make sure you sit through the end credits. Hopefully this will kick-start a franchise (again, Oscar gold means an immediate sequel green light) but if this just a one-off, it’s still a blast! Bada lada lad…