Not many animated films nominated for Golden Globe begin life during a casual computer search. But the online origins of upcoming animation Big Hero 6 click perfectly with the result; a charming super-hero venture made for and about its terrifyingly tech-savvy young audience. It was co-director Don Hall (Tarzan, The Emperor's New Groove) who alighted upon the series Big Hero 6 whilst scrolling through Disney's database of newly acquired Marvel comics. In an interview Hall explains he picked it because he 'liked the title' – a feat of unassuming intuition that has more than paid off. The film opened in America to huge critical and financial success – not bad for an animation, based on a ‘90s comic book series, that produced a grand total of 10 issues.
Set in the futuristic city of 'San Franksokyo', the story centers on spiky Hiro, a 14-year-old computer prodigy who spends his days participating in back-alley robot fights. When tragedy strikes, Hiro is spurred to assemble his friends of fellow wiz-kids into a superhero team, who help him combat a masked villain. Hiro's plan: to upgrade his brother's loveable health-care-assistant robot Baymax to become the biggest hero of them all.
As heartfelt a story as Up, and with animation as rich and varied as Wall-E, Big Hero 6 owes much to the obscurity of its material, which granted the writers (including Monsters Inc scribe Den Gerson) free-reign to re-create this original tale for the silver screen.
Praise is also due to the art and animation departments. The Tokyo/San Francisco urban mash-up is exciting to behold, but it's the wonderful design of Baymax that gives the film it's magic. Artist Lisa Keene said her aim was to create a ‘huggable robot’, a feat surpassed with this cuddliest of computers. There is something in Baymax's squishiness that is reminiscent of Aladdin's big-hearted sidekick genie, voiced by the late great Robin Williams.
Like Aladdin – and indeed the best of children's films – Big Hero 6 is far more than its ostensible high-jinx; one of the film's central themes to consider the way children cope with grief.
Heart-felt and refreshingly funny, Big Hero 6 is entertainment for audiences of all ages – you won't find better company than Hiro and his blobby companion Baymax. One of the sweetest kids films London has seen for a while.
|What||Big Hero 6|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
30 Jan 15 – 31 Mar 15, 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to go to Big Hero's IMDB page.|