Big Hero 6
Let us introduce you to Baymax; possibly the cuddliest animation sidekick of all time.
As you'll know if you're an animation fan, it's all about the sidekick. So it's lucky that Oscar-nominated Big Hero 6 has one of the cuddliest, funniest and cutest you're likely to see on screen, in the shape of Baymax (voiced by Scott Adsit). After all, what's not to love about a giant blow up Michelin-man who only comes to life when you hurt yourself? Nothing, that's what. He walks slowly, talks with no expression and takes things so literally there'd be instant death if you advised him to go jump off a cliff. But that's why you, and kids everywhere, will grow to love him too.
Baymax is backup for our main character Hiro (Ryan Potter), a teenage genius who doesn't understand he needs to use his brains for good. Why bother building something to help the world when you can create a robot or fleece grown men out of their cash? As you'll probably guess, Hiro, who graduated school at 14, isn't allowed to stay on that path for long. He's introduced to a whole new world when his brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) shows him how he and his friends spend their days - building the kinds of technological wizardry most people could only dream of. This is where Baymax comes in; he's Tadashi's creation, aimed at ensuring everyone has access to healthcare.
And so the first part of the film is a thinly-veiled attempt to show kids that there is something cool about science - even edgy girls like Go Go (Jamie Chung) are getting involved after all. It's a little laboured and will cause some rolling of the eyes among the parents in the cinema - but really, is it so bad to encourage children to want more than fleeting fame from a reality show?
Things really hot up when Hiro is left with only his auntie Cass (Maya Rudolph) to look after him. And it goes from bad to worse when he discovers the wizzy micro robots he designed to get into science school have been stolen!
This is where Baymax comes into his own; we dare anyone not to get a fit of the giggles when his battery runs down. It leaves him laughing and flailing around like a drunk, and gives some of the funniest scenes in the movie.
Tadashi's friends gather around to help Hiro, using their science know-how to transform into a band of superheroes - or the Big Hero 6 - determined to right the wrongs. So we have Baymax in the kind of futuristic suit Iron Man would be jealous of, plus a fire-breathing goodie and one whose super-speed wheels become weapons of destruction too. But Hiro can't contain his emotions - will his reworking of kindly Baymax into a cold-blooded assassin be a step too far?
This is a team-up between Disney and Marvel, and it shows. The storyline is perhaps a little saccharine - we couldn't help wondering if every Disney star has to be parentless - but some of the messages are on point. Kids may well be inspired to explore technology more when they see what it can achieve, and there's nothing wrong with that. There's not the kind of humour we're used to in other animations though, meaning it'll drag a bit for the adults.
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