Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #54: Big Hero 6

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)
And so, like putting on an old comfortable pair of shoes, I return again to the Disney canon. Good to be back everyone, feels like I never left. Unshaved Mouse doing what he was always meant to do, reviewing Disney movies! Put the Disney dance party album on repeat because the whole gang’s here! Including my collection of traitorous good for nothing maps who betrayed and abandoned me the very second things got rough and have now come crawling back like the worms they are.
“Hooray!”

“Hooray!”

“Ah, don’t be like that, Mouse.”

“Ah, don’t be like that, Mouse.”

“Don’t talk to me.”

“Don’t talk to me.”

"'S only ever love, M. You know that."

“‘S only ever love, M. You know that.”

“Where did you go anyway?”

“Where did you go anyway?”

“We just hung around with Rubber Lotus for a while. At first it was fun, but then it got a little weird. He kept asking us to call him “Mouse”. Did you know he has a shrine to you in his wardrobe?”

“We just hung around with Rubber Lotus for a while. At first it was fun, but then it got a little weird. He kept asking us to call him “Mouse”. Did you know he has a shrine to you in his wardrobe?”

“Yeah. Shrines. Never not creepy.”

“Yeah. Shrines. Never not creepy.”

And of course, since I’ll be reviewing a Disney movie that means the return of our old pal Walt Disney!
“Hello folks! Good to be back, Mouse. Glad to see there’s no hard feelings over that whole “brainwashing” thing.”

“Hello folks! Good to be back, Mouse. Glad to see there’s no hard feelings over that whole “brainwashing you to do my dark bidding” thing.”

“None. What. So. Ever.”

“None. What. So. Ever.”

"Glad to hear it. Say, you keep gritting your teeth like that you might chip your incisors."

“Glad to hear it. Say, you keep gritting your teeth like that you might chip your incisors.”

After the marriage of Disney and Marvel, the two companies did what many couples do in this situation; put their children from previous marriages in a room together and try to force them to like each other. In this case, Disney CEO Bob Iger told the Disney animators to look through Marvel’s back catalogue to see if they could find properties that would make good animated movies. Now, people who’ve followed my blog from the beginning know that when Disney adapts other properties, fidelity to the source material is not usually high on their list of priorities. Marvel fans, conversely, have a list of priorities that reads
Priorities
Marvel fans tend to get a little…um….Rain Man-esque…about movies changing even small details about their favourite characters, and films that don’t respect the source material tend to get eaten alive like a cow being dipped in a vat of piranhas.
Poor bastards never had a chance.

Poor bastards never had a chance.

So it’s not really surprising that the comic that Don Hall (director of Winnie the Pooh and writer on most of the Lost Era movies) chose the comic Big Hero 6 to adapt instead of a better known property because…well, no one gives a piping hot shit about Big Hero 6 and this way they could mess around with it as much as they needed to. In the comics Big Hero 6 is a Japanese superhero team that operates as a parody of Japanese pop culture tropes. I haven’t read the comic myself but reading up on it raised a few red flags for me, number one being that the mini-series they first appeared in was written by Scott Lobdell, a writer whose work is (if I may be horribly blunt) not my cup of tea.
Secondly…Okay, there are those who would consider this kind of broad cultural parody to be racist in and of itself. I’m not one of them. Irish people come in for a good bit of this kind of thing and I think as a nation our general attitude is…
all in good fun
But…some of the details about this book, like the fact that one of their enemies is the embodiment of all the people who were killed in the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki…
New spittake
Yeah, I think we can all agree that “loose adaptation” was probably the way to go on this one.
So much for the book. What about the movie? Oh, and while I’m not in the habit of putting up spoiler warnings I’m aware this movie only came out in 2014 so yeah, I will be discussing all major plot points just like I always do. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, get on that. The rest of you? Let’s roll.

So our movie begins with an introduction to one of its most important characters:
Ain’t she beautiful?

Ain’t she beautiful?

 

This is San Fransokyo, an absolutely gorgeously rendered amalgam of San Francisco and Tokyo and one of the movies greatest artistic and technical achievements. Basically, the animators fed ordnance survey data for the entire city of San Francisco and re-rendered the entire city from the ground up complete with 83,000 buildings and over 100,000 cars. It’s stunning, but it does raise some rather disturbing, Man in the High Castle implications so let’s put that one to bed. No, Big Hero 6 is not set in a world where the Japanese Empire won the war. The backstory here is that San Francisco was utterly destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and then rebuilt by Japanese immigrants using architectural techniques and materials from their homeland. And now San Fransokyo is a beautiful, technologically advanced utopia. See? There are advantages to an open immigration policy.
This man is standing in the way of you getting a robot.

This man is standing in the way of you getting a robot.

But San Fransokyo isn’t all glittering Starbucks Pagodas and wind-power generating zeppelins. The city has a seedy underbelly where low-lifes gamble on illegal robot fights in back alleys. One of these lowlifes is Yama, whose robot Little Yama is undefeated. He’s just finished off his latest opponent when he gets challenged by Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), a fourteen year old boy with a little bunny shaped robot around the size of your thumb.
Daaaaaaw.

Daaaaaaw.

Yama mockingly agrees to the fight and kicks Hiro’s ass in short order. But when Hiro challenges him again (with an even bigger stake), Yama falls for it and suddenly realises his mistake when Hiro’s robot tears Little Yama’s arm off and beats him to death with it.
"JESUS CHRIST!!!!"

“JESUS CHRIST!!!!”

Furious that he’s been hustled, Yama tells his goons to rough Hiro up but then at the last minute Hiro is rescued by his brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) who spirits him away on his scooter. The relationship between the two Hamada brothers is the heart of this movie and it is just beautiful. The script and Henney’s performance do a terrific job at making Tadashi pretty much the perfect big brother while also being a believable and relatable character. He’s like the Mufasa of big brothers.
"Yeah. Hes amazing. Probably why theres so much Hidashi porn out there."

“Yeah. He’s amazing. Probably why theres so much Hidashi porn out there.”

"So much what now?"

“So much what now?”

 tEN MINUTES

"BURN THE INTERNET BURN IT TO THE GROUND IT IS TAINTED BURN IT DOWN AND START AGAIN!!"

“BURN THE INTERNET BURN IT TO THE GROUND IT IS TAINTED BURN IT DOWN AND START AGAIN!!”

As they speed away from Yama’s thugs Tadashi chews his little brother out over betting on bot-fighting, which is illegal. It’s at that moment that the police descend on the alley.
Cheese it
Hiro and Tadashi have to spend a night in the cells before being bailed out by their Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph). Cass is an awesome character who’s proven to be something of a fan favourite but she confuses me a little. See, I thought that she was the boys’ aunt on their mother’s side, but the Disney wiki gives her name as “Cass Hamada” which would mean that she’s their father’s sister. But then…well, Cass? Why are you white?
White

“Oh my God, Mouse! You can’t just ask someone why they’re white!”

Sorry, sorry. Anyway. After being taken home Hiro goes right back to looking up bot fights online so Tadashi says that if he can’t stop Hiro from going he’ll at least go with him to make sure he doesn’t get into too much trouble. Instead, Tadashi takes him to his university to show Hiro what he could do with his genius if he actually put his mind to it. Tadashi obviously hopes that he can steer Hiro away from the unsavoury path his life might go down if he continues bot-fighting. My Dad actually did something similar with me when I joined a biker gang in my teens.
 banner_2307
Dad took me down to the old blogging mill, an told me that if I dedicated my life to blogging I could make something of myself the lying bastard. Tadashi, however, is on the level and introduces Hiro to his fellow students: Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jnr), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) and GoGo (Jamie Chung).
Gogo GoGo-Tomago-big-hero-6- Gogo_BH6
"So, you like GoGo?"

“So, you like GoGo?”

"Meh, she’s fine. Why?"

“Meh, she’s fine. Why?”

He also meets Fred (TJ Miller), who’s not a science student but just kinda hangs around hoping that he’ll somehow get super powers from proximity to all this science weirdness. Which, considering this is a Marvel movie, is pretty darn astute of him. And lastly, Tadashi introduces Hiro to Baymax (Scott Adsit), a robotic nurse that he’s been working on. Baymax is an absolute work of art both as a character and as a visualisation of what the next generation of robots will look like (the animation team met with engineers who are actually working on inflatable robots). The heart of this movie is the relationship between Hiro and Tadashi and later Hiro and Baymax. Because of this, the other members of the 6 don’t really get that much development (we don’t even learn their real names) and as a result can be a little one note. I don’t mean that in a bad way, they’re certainly likeable, but we don’t really learn a lot about them beyond each member’s one big trait; Wasabi is nervous and anal-retentive, Honey Lemon’s sweet and enthusiastic, Fred’s an idiot with really poor hygiene and GoGo is pure distilled badass sex appeal walking around like a person.
Hiro is amazed by Baymax but the two brothers are interrupted by Tadashi’s tutor Professor Callaghan (James Cromwell), a kindly, avuncular soft-spoken gentleman who VILLAIN.
VILLAIN. HE’S THE VILLAIN.
“Who told…I mean, no he’s not!”

“Who told…I mean, no he’s not!”

“Uh huh. Sorry Walt. You got me with Prince Hans, I admit it. But I’m not falling for it this time.”

“Uh huh. Sorry Walt. You got me with Prince Hans, I admit it. But I’m not falling for it this time.”

“How could you possibly think such a stand up gent like Callaghan is the villain?”

“How could you possibly think such a stand up gent like Callaghan is the villain?”

“Because he’s a seemingly nice older mentor figure with grey hair and an Irish surname. You did the exact same thing in Atlantis.”

“Because he’s a seemingly nice older mentor figure with grey hair and an Irish surname. You did the exact same thing in Atlantis.”

Cmon, they could be brothers!

C’mon, they could be brothers!

Anyway, Tadashi introduces Hiro to Callaghan, and Hiro is awe-struck when he learns that Callaghan designed the technology that his battle bot runs on, and is also the author of “Callaghan’s Laws of Robotics.”

Rules

 

Callaghan mentions that his daughter used to love bot-fighting and says that Hiro must find it very easy given his skill. He gives Hiro some parting words of advice and leaves, supposedly to do non-villainous things. Uh huh. Sure. I’m watching you Buddy.
Kung_Fu_Panda_2_last_battle_HD
Hiro is now dead set on getting into nerd school and Tadashi tells him that he just needs to create some kind of new tech that will impress Callaghan. Hiro reverse engineers his battle bot to create thousands of tiny little microbots.
"Ahem!"

“Ahem!”

Yes, yes, they’re not actually microscopic so technically they should be called “macrobots”. Well done Nit, you’re living your life to the fullest. Hiro’s demonstration goes down a treat and Callaghan offers him a place in his school, but Hiro is also approached by Alistair Krei, a smarmy businessman who wants Hiro to sell him his tech for, get this, MONEY.

"BOOOOOO!!! HISS!!"

“BOOOOOO!!! HISS!!”

“Well there you are! He's obviously the villain!"

“Well there you are! He’s obviously the villain!”

"Do you take me for a fool sir? He's voiced by Alan Tudyk!"

“Do you take me for a fool, sir? He’s voiced by Alan Tudyk!”

"Alan Tudyk plays villains!"

“Alan Tudyk plays villains!”

"Yes, but only when the character doesn't SEEM like a villain. When he's playing a character who seems obviously villainous, he's never the villain! It's Tudyk's law!"

“Yes, but only when the character doesn’t SEEM like a villain. When he’s playing a character who seems obviously villainous, he’s never the villain! It’s Tudyk’s law!”

"Dammit! Foiled by Tudyk's law!"

“Dammit! Foiled by Tudyk’s law!”

Tadashi tells his brother how proud he is of him but they’re little moment gets cut short when a fire breaks out on campus. Tadashi runs into the blaze to save Professor Callaghan who was still inside. Tadashi goes in…and doesn’t come back out again.

Hiro, I’m genuinely sorry for your loss but this is a Disney movie AND  a Marvel movie, there’s no way you were getting through this without a mentor figure dying.

Stay away from fridges, Cass.

Stay away from fridges, Cass.

With Tadashi and Callaghan both dead (riiiiiiiiiight) Hiro falls into a deep depression despite the best efforts of Cass and Tadashi’s friends to bring him out of his funk. But when he drops his battlebot on his foot he accidentally activates Baymax who diagnoses his emotional state as puberty. Before Hiro can deactivate Baymax he finds one of his micrcobots which is still active despite the fact that all the others were destroyed in the fire so that’s weird. The two follow the mircobot to an abandoned warehouse (how many times in movies do you see warehouses that are actually being used?) and find vats and vats of Hiro’s microbots that have been mass produced.  They also meet this guy:

Yokai_BigHero6

So this guy is Yokai, our villain (even though he never gets called that in the movie). My opinion on Yokai as a Big Bad is basically this: Good look, not much else. Yokai is part of a larger problem with villains in Marvel’s screen offerings, namely that, with the exception of the odd Loki or Kingpin, the villains tend to not be that interesting.

Maybe hell get out of his chair. Maybe he wont. The suspense is killing me.

Maybe he’ll get out of his chair. Maybe he won’t. The suspense is killing me.

But you know what? I don’t tend to get too worried about it because it’s a actually a sign of how much superhero movies have improved over the last few decades. I mean it. The reason why villains in modern Marvel movies tend to feel a little under-cooked is because those movies are far more interested in the heroes and what makes them tick. I remember the days when the heroes were inevitably bland ciphers playing second fiddle to the villains and I don’t much care to revisit them, thank you very much.

Anyway, Yokai attacks and Baymax and Hiro only barely escape with their lives. Baymax’s battery starts to run low which gives us Drunk Baymax, a gift from the beneficent comedy gods.

 

The Adventures of Hairy Baby and Baymax. Six seasons and a movie, please.

The Adventures of Hairy Baby and Baymax. Six seasons and a movie, please.

Hiro gets Baymax back in his charger and Baymax notices that Tadashi is gone. Hiro sadly tells him what happened and Baymax is confused.

“Tadashi was a young man in excellent health, he should have lived a long life.”

“Yeah. He should have.”

Baymax is a hell of a riddle to ponder. Is he actually an intelligent being, or is he just an incredibly sophisticated tool programmed so well that he appears to be sentient? Or, does he start out as the latter and over time become the former? Doing things like petting the cat purely because he wants to would seem to indicate that he has desires and wants beyond what he was programmed for, but again this might just be a behaviour Tadashi programmed him with to make him more appealing. We also never see Baymax do anything that contradicts his programming (with one possible exception that I’ll get to) which would be a pretty clear sign that he’s something more than just a bunch of ones and zeroes. For example, the vast majority of human beings have a very strong aversion to killing other human beings. However, we can disregard this programming if the situation is dire enough. We can consciously over-ride our programming whereas a machine cannot. We never see Baymax do that (or do we?) so the mystery remains unsolved.

Anyway, Baymax sees that Hiro is in pain but can’t diagnose anything physically wrong with him. So, acting on his programming, he starts downloading information on mental health from the internet, although it honestly looks more like he’s downloading the ENTIRE internet.

"Nuclear codes help make me a better health care companion."

“Nuclear codes help make me a better health care companion.”

Hiro realises that the man in the mask was probably behind the fire that killed Tadashi and vows to bring him in. Baymax decides to help Hiro, reasoning that it will help his recovery. Hiro builds some armour for Baymax and downloads a load of martial arts movies into his brain.

"I know...ju jitsu." "Show me."

“I know…ju jitsu.”
“Show me.”

They return to Yokai’s lair on the docks looking to kick some Kabuki-masked butt but find the warehouse abandoned just like every other warehouse in the history of ever. But then they see Yokai emerging from the ocean hauling a massive piece of machinery. Wasabe, Fred, Hiro and Gogo show up at the docks looking for Hiro because Baymax and all six get attacked by Yokai who chases them through the streets of San Fransokyo. There’s actually a very interesting little moment where he appears over them with a massive crate raised over his head to throw at them but he doesn’t. But then Honey takes a photograph of Yokai and he gives this disappointed little head tilt as if to say “Well, I’ve got to kill you now genius.” They manage to escape by driving Wasabi’s van into the sea and almost drowning and Hiro says that they need a place to lie low. Fred says “I know a place and it was at this point that I realised that Fred’s character design is basically a human Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.

Look at those beady little eyes. And that preposterous chin!

Look at those beady little eyes. And that preposterous chin!

 It turns out that Fred lives in a palatial mansion complete with a butler named Heathcliff (we love Heathcliff). We also see a picture of Fred’s father who looks oddly familiar.

Freds Dad is Larry King?!

Fred’s Dad is Larry King?!

The team crash in Fred’s nerd-cave and spit-ball ideas as to who Yokai could be. Fred thinks that it’s Alistair Kreis because he’s a wealthy industrialist who wanted Hiro’s tech and also there’s only like two other adult characters still alive in this thing and it’s probably not Heathcliff or Aunt Cass. Also, he has a “K” in his name. Always a bad sign. Hiro doesn’t buy it but says they need to find out who Yokai really is. Fortunately, Baymax scanned Yokai so he has all his unique medical data which Hiro can use to track him and jeez Baymax, who taught you data privacy ethics, the NSA?

Anyway, this is a superhero movie and we’ve gone quite long enough without superheroes so Hiro upgrades all his friends with superpowers based on their research prjects. GoGo gets super speed using anti-magnetic wheels, Wasabi gets laser claws, Honey gets…the ability to pull…stuff…out of her…purse…I dunno, Honey’s power sucks. Oh, and they stick Fred in a monster costume and turn Baymax into a Sentinel.

SURRENDER MUTANTS.

SURRENDER MUTANTS.

 You know, it occurs to me that Yokai may be one of the most outmatched villains in the whole canon? I mean, he thinks he’s up against one fourteen year old boy and the Stay-Puft marshmallow man and then turns around to find that the kid has gone and turned his friends into human weapons of mass destruction and is now coming for his head. You really do not want to fuck with Hiro.

By updating Baymax’s scanner, Hiro is able to track Yokai to an abandoned island off the coast of San Fransokyo. The team head over there and find the remains of Project Starling, an attempt to create teleportation. Looking through the research logs, the team finds that Alistair Kreis was behind the experiment which was cancelled by the military after a test pilot was lost in the portal. The team reasons that Kreis is using the microbots to take back his equipment and renew his experiments, meaning that Yokai is in fact Kreis.

"Ha!"

“Ha!”

Yokai then attacks, flinging a massive piece of debris that is only stopped by Baymax.

Beneath one hundred and fifty billion tons stands BAYMAX. And hes not happy!

Beneath one hundred and fifty billion tons stands BAYMAX. And hes not happy!

The team and Yokai face off and suffer the worst defeat of any superhero team since Chuck Austen destroyed the X-Men. Hiro, however, manages to knock Yokai’s mask off, revealing that he is in fact…OLD MAN WITHERS!

"And I would have got away with it too if it wasn't for you meddling kids and your meddling robot!"

“And I would have got away with it too if it wasn’t for you meddling kids and your meddling robot!”

No, in fact, Yokai turns out to be, of course, obviously, never even a doubt: Professor Callaghan!

Ha! Suck it Walt!

"Oh Don...what have you done?"

“Walt?”

Huh. Weird.

Well anyway. Hiro is understandably shocked to see Callaghan still alive. He tearfully tells Callaghan that Tadashi died trying to save him but Callaghan simply sneers “That was HIS mistake!”.

And what Hiro does next? Hoo boy.

Hiro orders Baymax to kill Callaghan, and when he refuses, Hiro removes Baymax’s medical chip, essentially brainwashing him, and turning him into a mindless killing machine. As Baymax stalks a now powerless and clearly terrified Callaghan, the rest of the Six try desperately to stop Baymax from killing him. It’s actually kind of remarkable that the most emotionally fraught and tense action scene in the whole movie is our heroes trying to save the villain. I love it, though. I love that these are proper old school, “We do not kill. Period.” superheroes.  Anyway, Honey Lemon manages to re-insert Baymax’s chip and he returns to normal. Baymax’s first line after the chip is re-instered is:”My healthcare protocol has been violated.” which seems pretty bland but Scott Adsit manages to give the line a sense of lost innocence that is just heart-breaking. But what about Hiro? I’ve been thinking about this, and I can’t actually think of a single Disney canon hero who has ever done something so morally reprehensible and I’m coming up blank.

Oh yeah, never mind.

Oh yeah, never mind.

 Now here comes the bit I was talking about earlier. Hiro, furious at his friends for stopping him from straight up murdering a dude, orders Baymax to scan for Callaghan but Baymax says that his scanner is no longer operable. The big question for me is, is Baymax lying here? If he is, then that’s probably as good proof as you’re going to get that Baymax is sentient. He knows what Hiro is planning, so he has decided to lie to protect his own purpose as a care-giver and also Hiro. But it’s not clear cut. He might not be lying. The scanner might really just not be working. Anyway, Hiro and Baymax fly off, leaving the rest of the Six on the island and back home Hiro tries to fix the scanner. Baymax refuses to let Hiro remove his medical chip, asking again and again “Is this what Tadashi would have wanted?” until Hiro finally breaks down sobbing “Tadashi’s gone!”

Baymax replies “Tadashi is here.” and plays footage for him of Tadashi working on building Baymax, from the early frustration and failure to the final ebullient joy when he at last succeeding in creating him. Finally realising just how close he came to forever tainting his brother’s legacy, Hiro tearfully apologises to Baymax. The rest of the six show up (Heathcliff flew them off the island in the family chopper) and they’re reconciled. Honey shows Hiro some footage they found on the island that shows that Callaghan’s daughter was the pilot who went missing in the portal and that Callaghan blames Kreis for her death. Callaghan is using Hiro’s microbots to enact revenge on Kreis so they hurry to Kreis Corp to stop him.

The Six arrive as Callaghan has activated the portal over Kreis building with the goal of sucking everything he built into it. Hiro pleads with Callaghan that revenge won’t bring his daughter back and almost gets through to him but then Kreis has to open his big stupid mouth and offers him anything he wants, money, power all that he has, everything that he asks for and more…

"I want my daughter back, you son of a bitch!"

“I want my daughter back, you son of a bitch!”

This tips Callaghan off the deep end and he and the Six must kung fu fight. Something interesting that Ms Mouse noticed about this movie is that Callaghan and Hiro use the microbots very differently. Hiro doesn’t need to gesture when he controls them and the constructs he makes are elegant and intricate, whereas Callaghan uses broad handgestures to control the bots and tends to use crude, blunt shapes. Hiro uses them as a scalpel, but for Callaghen they’re a club. Anyway, Hiro is able to beat Callaghan by getting the microbots sucked into the portal, leaving him defenceless. But he doesn’t hurt him, explaining to Callaghan that “Our programming prevents us from harming a living being.”

The portal’s still active though and they’re all about to clear the are when Baymax detects live signs from inside it. Realising that Callaghan’s daughter is inside the portal and is still alive, Hiro and Baymax fly in to save her only to discover too late that the portal leads directly into…

BAHIA!

BAHIA!

They find the pod where Callaghan’s daughter is in suspended animation and make their way back to the portal but Baymax is damaged saving Hiro from some floating debris and his jet boosters are smashed. Baymax tells Hiro that he can get them both to safety if Hiro will allow him to sacrifice himself by blasting them into the portal with his rocket fist. I actually kind of hate this scene but it is such a goddamn cheat. Both voice actors play it absolutely beautiful and it is genuinely heart-breaking. But at the same time, you know there is no way Disney would allow a character as marketable as Baymax to stay dead. It’s galling especially since this is a movie that has dealt with with the irrevocable nature of death and grief in a very mature and sympathetic way up until now. For them to pull the tired old “Oh no he’s dead, oh wait he’s not” trope this late in the game just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Not to mention, it just doesn’t make any sense. See, After Hiro gets back to Earth he find that Baymax placed his chip in the rocket fist which allows Hiro to rebuild him when he gets back to Earth. That doesn’t make any sense for two reasons; firstly, taking out his medical chip should have caused Baymax to revert to his red-eyed, killer-Baymax mode. And secondly WHY NOT JUST TELL HIRO “LOOK, HERE’S MY CHIP YOU CAN JUST REBUILD ME AIN’T NO THANG”?! Sure, it’s good for jerking the audience’s heart-strings, but it doesn’t make sense for the character to act that way.

Well anyway, Hiro tearfully says “I am satisfied with my care.” and Baymax blasts them back to earth while he spends an eternity floating amongst the pink elephants and Brazilian parrots. Hiro rebuilds Baymax and now all of San Fransokyo wants to know who these new heroes could possibly be despite the fact that they use their civilian names as their superhero names and one of them is constantly seen in the company of a robot.

"Authorities have been questioning Mr Clark Kent and his friend Superman to see if they know."

“Authorities have been questioning Mr Clark Kent and his friend Superman to see if they know.”

 And so the movie ends with Hiro and Baymax dedicating themselves to making the world a better place by punching people.

"Is this what Tadashi would have wanted?" "Who cares!"

“Is this what Tadashi would have wanted?”
“Who cares!”

***

Gorgeous, sweet, funny and a pretty darn good superhero movie to boot, Big Hero 6 is a cracking good fusion of the best of both Marvel and Disney’s respective traditions. And, while I almost never find myself saying this at the end of a canon Disney movie; bring on the sequel.
Scoring:
Animation: 19/20
San Fransokyo is an absolute marvel (pun absolutely intended) and the characters look great, move great and probably smell fantastic.
Leads: 19/20
Hiro is one of the most morally ambiguous main characters in the entire canon, and Baymax is just a total, utter triumph of design.
Villain: 12/20
The movie’s only real bum note. Yokai/Callaghan’s not bad per se but the movie just isn’t as interested in him as it is in Hiro, Baymax and the rest of the six.
Supporting Characters: 16/20
Good to great.
Music: 16/20
The soundtrack by Fallout Boy kicks ass.
FINAL SCORE: 82%
NEXT UPDATE: 17 September 2015
NEXT TIME: A well-meaning American billionaire made a cartoon show where a multi-ethnic team of magic kids and their superhero friend try to resolve the centuries old sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.
An actual Irish person will now review this episode.
Expect extreme and inventive profanity.
captain_planet_a_p
Captain Planet and the Planeteers: “If it’s Doomsday, this must be Belfast” aka “The one where the IRA get a nuclear bomb” is next.
“Uh, Mouse? We…we can’t find Walt.”

“Uh, Mouse? We…we can’t find Walt.”

“What do you mean you can’t find him?”

“What do you mean you can’t find him?”

“I mean he’s gone. And…we found this.”

“I mean he’s gone. And…we found this.”

Rules

“This is bad, right?”

“This is bad, right?”

"Oh Don...what have you done?"

“Oh Don…what have you done?”

TO BE CONTINUED

83 comments

  1. Personally, I’m not really a fan of Big Hero 6. I mean yeah, I definitely enjoyed it, but during the whole viewing experience I was extremely bored with the whole affair. Everything was just so standard and derivative. For me the only consistently excellent creation is Baymax. Also this film irks me because it beat out both How to Train Your Dragon 2 and the even more deserving The Tale of the Princess Kaguya for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. I know that’s petty, but… Yeah.

      1. I never saw Kaguya but I heard good things. Never been the biggest Ghibli fan though. I prefer the SotS style with big eyes and no purposefully ugly (though admittedly very well designed) characters.

      2. Ghibli is probably my single favorite animation studio. They’re just the most consistently excellent. Sure, Cartoon Saloon has yet to make a bad film, what with two masterpieces under their belt, but that’s only two movies. Not until they’ve made 5 films will I feel comfortable declaring them the spiritual successor to Ghibli. However, they are already on their way in my book. 😉

      3. I mean I get the appeal of Ghibli- it’s just not my thing. It’s gonna be awhile at the pace they’re going, but I have heard talk of an children’s animated series…

      4. I understand that. There’s definitely a cultural rift between Japanese and American cinema. Certain ideas and pervasive throughout Japanese culture that are completely foreign to Westerners, and many of them don’t successfully clear the gap. So I understand why you don’t particularly care for them.

      5. Well, Avatar adapts Eastern ideas and philosophy for a Western audience, and very successfully I might add. It is made primarily for a Western demographic, and thus is intentionally made to be a lot more accessible to that audience. Ghibli, on the other hand, is made for an Eastern audience, and therefor doesn’t take the extra effort to appeal to the West.

      1. Indeed. Still though, DreamWorks was the only studio actually campaigning to win. EVERYBODY thought HTTYD2 would get the Oscar, and I would have been fine with that. Song of the Sea or The Tale of the Princess Kaguya both deserved the award more than either BH6 or HTTYD2. And Laika acted as if they didn’t even care about The Boxtrolls’ nomination. But yeah, it was a really good year for animation.

  2. Full derpy disclosure. I didn’t know it was Callaghan. The whole way through I was going, ‘It’s Kreis, Callaghan or Tadashi. I hope it’s not Tadashi, but I bet it will be.’
    And I thought Honey’s power was cool! I could handle having to carry around a stereotypically feminine bag if it meant I could pull an endless supply of smoke bombs and goo orbs *that I engineered* out of it.
    I love this movie like mad, honestly. Taking my little brother to the movies is one of our most beloved traditions and this was just perfect for both of us.
    I have to admit it’s a little weird that Interstellar and Big Hero 6 both had Bahia portals and were released so close together, though. And of the two, BH6 is definitely more enjoyable. Interstellar is just so long and for a film that’s hyped up for its scientific accuracy, the ending was way bizarre.

      1. I was afraid because Speed Racer did it and it was so obvious and silly.

        I just realised the implications of Baymax downloading the entire internet. Just as well Hiro rebuilt him because I’m pretty sure all those cat videos and viruses-riddled balloon-porn sites would have messed up his OS something dreadful.

      2. Oh! Also, also, also – ‘Tamago’ is Japanese for ‘egg’, so her name is seriously ‘Go-Go Egg.’ (‘Tamagochi’ is ‘tamago’ plus ‘tomodachi’ (friend) so a Tamagochi is literally your ‘egg friend’.)

  3. I’m probably the only person here who got the Biker Mice from Mars reference. I think I may even still have a comic or two of them somewhere. Also, was the robotics law segment referencing Isaac Asimov? Me and my friends would definitely watch The Adventures of Hairy Baby and Baymax. Also, I wondered why Baymax looked so familiar when he got all armored up! Sonofabitch was a Sentinel in disguise! Hiro Hamada is responsible for the Sentinals in this universe! And….I liked GoGo as well. *Goes to look up “fan art” of her*

    1. *raised hand* The Biker Mice were actually pretty big in where I’m from when I was a child. Came from TV every single afternoon for years. They were strange, sure, but kind of bad ass as well. Obviously TMNT knock-offs, now that I think about it, but still pretty bad ass.

  4. Oh, and fuck Captain Planet! The only good thing that show ever did (other than be fodder for shows like The Nostalgia Critic) was inspire Don Cheadle to play him. Even as a kid I thought the show was lame!

    1. I always thought the concept had potential…but the cartoon was baaaad. Very badly executed aesops.
      Can’t wait for Mouse to tear it apart!

      1. It is funny that I really loved “Captain Planet” as a ten-year-old. And I even watched in English, even though my mother tongue is Swedish. But when I re-watched the show as a grown woman, I saw its flaws.

  5. Baymax is one of my favorite Disney characters ever. Not only does he get a lot of funny moments, but the way he was portrayed and his relationship with Hiro was genuine and sweet.

    I also could tell Callaghan would be the villain right away. Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen’s much better villain twists put me on high alert, so I was disappointed with the movie in that regard. Hopefully Zootopia has a better villain twist. And since Alan Tudyk will be in that movie, you can bet there will be one.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I thought the main characters were all awesome (especially loved Honey Lemon and GoGo), the animation is smurges, and the action is pretty fantastic. Baymax is also awesome, the “badalalala” fist bump thing had me rolling when I saw it. As you said, bring on the sequel (and great work as always Mouse).

  7. I think it’s high time Disney/Pixar brought back the full-fledged, I-do-it-all-because-I’m-evil sort of villain. They’ve pulled the “Surprise! I’m the villain!” too many times now for it to be effective. (Although, full disclosure: I thought the Yokai was going to be Tadashi.) Also, I’d love to see a return of the Kickass Villain Song.

    Oh, Don. Blucatt again? Personally, I think he’s holding Walt hostage until Mouse to fulfill his oath to review the worst Disney movie of all time. Well, hold your horses — there’s a ridiculous, ham-fisted PSA masquerading as a children’s show that needs to be addressed first.

    — going off on a tangent here about the 1990s and pro-environmentalist messages in children’s programming . . . the two best shows I ever saw about being eco-friendly were the episode “Zanzibar!” from Rocko’s Modern Life and the episode “Green Day” from The Secret World of Alex Mack. The first one taught the lesson that one person really can make a difference (and it’s ok if you miss the rehearsals for bursting into song with the rest of the townsfolk.) The second one showed me actual, real reasons why a business would choose to sell products that are not eco-friendly — and showed that it was a real struggle for the small business owner to balance her bottom line with toeing the cultural party line.

    Kinda sad that a show about a cartoon immigrant wallaby and a show about a girl who got superpowers from a plot convenience stolen out of 1950s B-movies had better and more realistic eco messages than all the versions of Captain Planet put together.

    1. Yeah, I miss obvious villains as well. Unfortunately Zootopia is going to be more of a mystery story, at least it seems like that to me, so the villain is probably not going to be obvious from the get-go. Moana and Gigantic on the other hand, we can only hope.

      Oh, and how much do you want to bet that they’re going to change Moana’s name to something bland and generic, like they so fond of doing right now.

  8. Awesome review as always. Good to see the old Disney canon back. Wanted to read this at my college campus but apparently they block your site on the grounds that it’s ‘adult & pornography’. Oh well.

  9. Great review, Mouse! I really enjoyed this movie. I would not mind at all if they made a sequel to this movie. Heck, I wouldn’t mind a TV series either (similar to the Lilo and Stitch TV series). More Big Hero 6 adventures, please!

    Like Frozen, (I know this won’t be a very popular opinion), I don’t mind the villain so much. I don’t like him as much as I do Hans from Frozen, but I like him a little more than other people do because, again, he’s a more realistic villain. In the case of Frozen, it was someone who can act all nice and charming to worm their way into a position of power, and once they have it, stab you in the back and take what you own for themselves. In this case, someone who may have been a good person at one point, but driven to madness when something bad happens, in this case, losing his daughter. (As Joker puts it: “Madness is like gravity. All it takes is a little push”). I mean, he blames Krei for the loss of his daughter and he did what most people (not necessarily ALL people) would do: get revenge. And I suspect he was at the science convention looking for something that would help him do just that because, hey, why waste time making your own invention when you can steal someone else’s? And when he saw Hiro’s microbots (or macrobots. Whatever), he thought “Bingo!” and stole them.

    Also, what I find disturbing about him is the fact that he was so blinded by revenge that he was willing to kill his students and the younger brother of a student that he admired. Without any remorse whatsoever. Think about that for a second…

    I don’t know, I just appreciate that Disney is trying something new and different in their approach to villains, whether it works or not. I understand if it’s not in others’ tastes, though. Different strokes for different folks.

    By the way, what can Hiro’s suit do besides ride Baymax? Is it only for that purpose? To ride him? If so, that’s lame. Give him at least something else to use to be more useful to him and to the team. Maybe invisibility or something?

    1. I think good is fine…nowadays the audience expects way too much from the studios. They can’t knock it out of the park every time, as long as they provide me with something which shows a lot of love and effort, I am satisfied.

  10. Cas Hamada is naturally adopted. Because that is currently en-vogue with Comic book movies. (I am just kidding, the Disney Wiki is quite of notorious for being full of mistake, and they are especially sloppy when it comes to assigning surnames. I bet when you look in the end credits of the movies, there is only “Aunt Cas” written.)

    What about the end-credit scene? I hope you are aware that there is one….

    either way, I agree with everything you say. The scene with Baymax in the end is pointless and yes, I prefer the Superhero movies focussing on the heroes, too. Not that I dislike wonderfully complicated villains like Loki, and Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce is divine, but I also thoroughly enjoyed Ronan. He was the perfect villain for GotG. (Malekith is a dud, though).

    The best part of the movie is the animation though. It gives me so much hope, because it shows that Disney is really trying to broaden what you can do with CGI. After a decade of movies which looked pretty much the same, I am glad for everything which sticks out one way or another.

  11. I managed to reverse psychology my way out of knowing who the villain was. The wealthy industrialist was so obvious it had to be the professor. But, Disney must know that I know that so it couldn’t be the professor. But if they knew I knew that then I couldn’t drink the wine in front of me wither.

  12. I really liked this movie, partly for the animation, everything Baymax and general awesome but mostly because I walked out of the theatre going, “A Disney movie about grief actually exists…” I’m not sure why it surprised me so much but that was really what hit me about it. The whole movie is about Hiro and Tadashi and losing someone you love and the time after.

  13. Personally I was pretty disappointed by the secondary team members. I mean GoGo is badass, and she has the best line in the movie – “Woman up!” – but aside from that I would have rather seen more of Hiro, Baymax and Tadashi. Oh, and Cass, obviously more Aunt Cass. That was never going to realistically happen, because, well, the name of the film is Big Hero 6, but now it felt like they were there simply because they had to be there.

    Nevertheless, it’s a pretty good origins film for this team and a good Disney film in general. Not the best, but still a good film to follow Frozen.

  14. Thanks for the review! I admit, I wasn’t very interested in seeing this movie. But now, after your review…I’m still not that interested. 😦
    Superhero overexposure syndrome, I think. I’m sure I’ll end up watching it sometime, it just doesn’t make my list of must-sees. (Its not a big list.) Still, it sounds like these characters have a lot of potential. Actually, I am reminded a bit of “Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain” by Richard Roberts, a book I highly recommend. The MC is an inventor-type like Hiro, though she’s kinda sorta not really a villain. (Mostly, she’s just got really bad PR.)

  15. Good… ahem, evening, Mr. Mouse.

    I thought it only right to inform you that one of your semiregular commentators is, Mr. R—— Lotus, is… ahem… indisposed for the moment, and will likely remain that way for some time. Tragic case of Bad Taste Syndrome (BTS), incurable in ninety-one percent of all cases, mm, but hope springs eternal for us here at Arkham Asylum. In one of his rare lucid moments, Mr. Lotus asked that I commentate on your latest review in his place, and… ahem, I accepted in hopes that it would speed his recovery.

    The melding of West and East in animation is fascinating as always, hm, and Disney in particular has been an absolute master at shaping and molding the psyches of entire generations of children since the 1940s. I would not be surprised to see a second Renaissance of interest in Eastern art in America, mm… perhaps fueling the “Booru” phenomenon further than ever before. It is likely to be an unprecedented godsend for my business… erm, the field of psychology as a whole. Already, various social media sites are theorizing that the bond between Mr. Hiro and his brother, or Mr. Hiro and Baymax, may exceed those of mere brotherly love and companionship…

    Incidentally, I have been conversing with one of my most esteemed colleagues, Dr. E—– Fiedelman, and his notes would indicate that your own psyche may prove equally fascinating. Tell me, what do you find so intriguing about the fish?

  16. Ah yes, Big Hero Six is a fun romp! The villain IS pretty obvious, but I thought Callaghan was actually a pretty good foil to Hiro. He probably could’ve been more interesting if we’d known more about his relationship with his daughter, but this movie was already suffering from Too-many-characters-too-little-time-itis.

    Also, the Stan Lee cameo at the end is probably my favorite Stan Lee cameo of all time.

    Unfortunately, as a Gravity Falls fan, I can’t watch this without making jokes about Ford coming out of the portal, or looking at the Bahia-scape and saying “Huh, no wonder McGucket went nuts.”

  17. So yeah, I was REALLY disappointed with this movie when I first saw it, I found the side characters to be pointless, the villain underdeveloped and bland, and the action scenes to be nothing special, and the ending absolutely sucks.

    But, I don’t fully hate the film because it does its job well at being a fun, enjoyable superhero flick for kids and a somewhat relatable story of loss for teens and adults. But it also feels like it should have had more meat to it.

    I actually like the idea of Callaghan, it’s just the film doesn’t give him enough to be sympathetic, interesting, or developed. I get what the filmmakers were doing in tying to parallel his tragic origin to Hiro’s but the reason why Hiro’s sad story works better is because we SAW that relationship and got to know Tadashi as a character but we don’t get any of that with Callaghan and his daughter because “Oh, crap we have to make this film 90 minutes.” For me, Callaghan is on the same level as Clayton, as both villains have oozing amounts of potential to be great but the writers just took a lazy way out instead.

    I like the side characters, they’re likeable and the way they use their powers is cool, I just wished the film had more scenes of them and Hiro bonding, hanging out, and understanding each other, but for the film we have they just come off like they just HAVE to be there because they were there in the comics and they don’t get a lot to do because again, “Oh crap, We have to make this film 90 minutes.”

    The big fight finale was also a let down in nothing really stood out or really wowed me, it felt bland, generic and forgettable.

    The ending is absolute trash because it feels too much like a TV pilot ending for a series rather than an ending that ends this story and these character arcs.

    I’m also not quite sure this needed to be a superhero film because it’s more focused on the “boy and his friend robot” story.

    Now, it’s not a bad movie, it’s good as I love Baymax and I’m glad it did well enough to give Disney indication to try new things for their animated films, it’s just that there’s not a whole lot of meat to it for me personally and I REALLY want this studio to try and go back creating diabolical, evil, but interesting villains and not rely on this “Big twist, he’s the villain!” crap as it’s getting tiring at this point.

    1. I rewatched Movie Bob’s review recently and he said that the filmmakers obviously trusted their audiences intelligence, it was just a shame that they clearly didn’t trust their attention span.

      1. Yeah, I agree with Bob on that statement, there’s really nothing wrong with slowing a film down to get to know these characters and let them come alive, that’s one of the reasons why most of Pixar’s films work so well.

  18. Hercules makes the deal with Hades fully aware that that will mean people will get hurt. But, it isn’t a direct morally reprehensible action.

  19. Hi Unshaved Mouse.

    I think there is a secret twist in the ending.

    Earlier in the movie, when Baymax says “Tadashi is here”, he was – his spirit was helping pilot Baymax, had come back to help his little brother, one last time, and was trying to explain what building Baymax meant to him with the video. (This also explains Baymax’s sudden ability to lie, for instance.)

    Then, in Bahia, Tadashi tips his hand by putting the Baymax chip in the rocket fist. He sacrifices his last connection with his brother in order to save him. That is the “real” Disney death.

    Anyway, I’ve read all of your Disney reviews now, and I really appreciate the work you put in to all of them. I hope this message reaches you, and I would love to know what you think.
    B

  20. It seems like you don’t appreciate Honey’s powers enough mouse. The purse is a literal Periodic Table, where she punches in whatever chemical she wants, and the purse will put them into a ball, where it becomes a bomb. SHE LITERALLY PUNCHES PERIODIC TABLES LIKE IT WAS VIDEO GAMES IN LIKE A SECOND TO MAKE BOMBS. If that isn’t pure badassery I dunno what is.

  21. The film could have really benefitted from being longer so the side characters and the villain would have had more to do. Like Mouse you did not realize how Honey Lemon’s bag worked since there was not much focus. Some Disney films that benefit from being short but if you are plot focused with lot of supporting characters you need more time (Atlantis would have benefited form a longer runtime as well). Which is why a sequel could be a good thing. However while I liked the film (a bit mediocre with nice moments) I did not like it enough to want Disney animators spend their time making a sequel instead of doing something new. A CGI-tv series like Dreamworks dragons might be good.

    I assumed that Aunt Cass was the brother’s uncles’s wife instead of blood relative but I do not know.
    And no words about the end credits scene?

  22. I met one of the directors of this movie the other and I must say that after hearing him talk about this project and the studio at Disney made me wish that I didn’t suck at art so I could work there. Absolutely amazing place to work.

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