Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Big Hero 6

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! There must have been a redneck comedian out there who made a bad joke about how his "Big Hero 6" is the six-pack of beer.

Big Hero 6 – 5 out of 5

I love comic books.  This isn’t really a surprise to any loyal readers of mine—with my never ending references to superheroes and the way I pretty give perfect scores to all the comic adaptations that come out (even this one), I’ve made it painfully clear that I’m nuts about those books that old people call cartoons and funny pages.  However, I haven’t read every comic to ever exist and there are tons and tons of stories from various publishers that I haven’t known about, haven’t glanced at, or haven’t got to yet.  When the Big Hero 6 miniseries came out in 1998, I think I read one issue (maybe two) and never bothered to finish it.  I just wasn’t into it…however, when Disney Animation Studios did a very loose adaptation and complete re-imagining of it, I was very sold.

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The adorable-factor with Baymax helped sell me, too.

Set in an alternate future in the new city of San Fransokyo, the brilliant (but unfocused) Hiro (Ryan Potter) ends up seeing his future put into a spiral after his brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) and his brother’s mentor; Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell), die in a fire.  Hiro’s resulting depression becomes the focus of his late brother’s work when his healthcare robot, the loveable and balloon-y Baymax (Scott Adsit), makes it his mission to cure him.  Soon, however, Hiro discovers that his brother’s death came about after a mysterious man stole microbot technology from him and now Hiro wants to get to the bottom of the crime and bring about justice for his brother.  So, he forms the superhero team Big Hero 6 with some of his brother’s friends; Fred (T.J. Miller), GoGo (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), and Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez).  The heroes set out to bring down the villain using the microbots but discover a horrifying secret about him… 

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"Let's seek out Tony Stark...and to make things fair, he can wear his Hulk-Buster armor."

Like I stated in the opening paragraph, I read one issue of Big Hero 6 and didn’t really care for it.  I don’t recall what exactly I wasn’t digging about it but I remember it just not grabbing my attention.  Either way, I was a little surprised when I found out that Disney was going to adapt it to a cartoon (that is not connected to the live-action MCU, by the way…although, it would have been kinda neat if it was).  I knew I wasn’t going to see the team’s big names like Silver Samurai and Sunfire in the film because of the rights to those characters belonging elsewhere but I really had no idea how they were going to adapt it.  The comic didn’t really seem like a Disney affair…so, I guess that’s why so many changes were made.

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Will GoGo share her gum with the rest of the team?

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A misspelling in her invite email made Honey Lemon
show up with balls on.
Pretty much everything about the team, the setting, the story, and the characters were changed for this adaptation and, honestly, that wasn’t a bad thing.  I’ve never been one for strict adherence to source material and the changes made to Big Hero 6 did something the comics didn’t and that was create interest in me (that makes me sound a tad narcissistic).  Baymax is no longer the robot that changes into looking like some kind of reptile beast and is now a lovable and ridiculously adorable balloon robot that gets all kinds of badass when he gets the armor treatment.  Wasabi gets the rest of his name dropped (originally named Wasabi-No-Ginger) and is no longer a trained chef who fights with all kinds of bladed weaponry.  GoGo is given a simpler advance suit to wear into combat and Honey Lemon is almost unrecognizable from her comic counterpart.  Also, the way they handled the change to Fred (called Fredzilla in the comics) was pretty entertaining.  He’s not creating monster auras anymore and, instead, he is simply wearing a suit that breaths fire and gives him super jumping abilities and it made for some very amusing moments.  All the alterations made to the source material were an improvement, in my opinion.  It turned an obscure comic into something that worked for a mass audience and it ended up being one of the examples where adjustments for a wider appeal ended up succeeding and not feeling like the source material was being watered down.

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T.J. Miller as Fred is seconded only to Baymax as the show-stealer!

The story in Big Hero 6 (also greatly different from the comics) is your typical superhero origin affair but it never felt played out or like some sort of rehash.  It hits all the numbers that are synonymous with hero origin stories—like a death of a loved one sparking the need to take justice into one’s own hands, the connection between the first villain and the heroes' story and, of course, a training montage.  However, Big Hero 6 took all these clich├ęs and made them feel less weary and more entertaining.  From watching Hiro design a suit for Baymax to watching the team learn how to use their new supersuits to watching their first, and inevitably losing, battle was filled with heart and humor.  The addition of having characters that were entertaining, interesting, and very diverse made these classic tropes feel refreshing and new.

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Hey...I wanna wowwy-pop.

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And with that, Wasabi started to ask Pizza Hut to
never cut his pizzas again.
The characters, and all their changes, were all fantastic in Big Hero 6.  Everyone from Hiro to Baymax to Honey Lemon and Wasabi to Tadashi and Hiro’s Aunt Cass (voiced by Maya Rudolph) to Robert Callaghan and the industrialist Alistair Krei (voiced by Alan Tudyk and may, or may not, be the one behind the mask of Yokai because of the interest he had in Hiro’s microbots)—they are all very interesting and fun to watch.  While characters like GoGo may not have as much screen time or be as overwhelmingly hilarious as someone like Fred, no one felt unwarranted or complete superfluous in their role.  They are all dynamic, interesting, fun, and even intimidating when it concerns Yokai.

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In all seriousness, Yokai is a pretty badass bad guy!

The voice acting helps greatly in creating the world of Big Hero 6 and is one of the biggest reasons that the characters are so easy to get behind and invest in.  While T.J. Miller is, without a doubt, one of the biggest highlights as Fred because they guy is just ridiculously hilarious, no one in the cast was any real slouch.  Ryan Potter is fantastic as Hiro and nailed the emotion needed for the boy genius, Scott Adsit helps makes Baymax the loveable and sweet character he is, and veteran James Cromwell is incredible as Robert Cromwell.  In fact, everyone in the cast felt right at home in their characters and really brought everyone to life and helped make the story move fluidly.

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Big Hero 6 is what a douche bag version of Hiro would call his six pack...

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Bring on Part 2!
Big Hero 6 holds no surprises with its story of a newly formed superhero team but it never feels tired or dated.  With spectacular animation, a perfect blend of heart and humor (I cried and laughed in this one), and a talented cast, Disney Studios was able to showcase the standard of Marvel-infused action alongside Disney wonder and magic.  The film is heartwarming, hilarious, action-packed, and, most of all, ridiculously fun from beginning to end.  Finally, the film proves that a Disney animated version of a Marvel comic can work and work extremely effectively!

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Maybe the best Stan Lee cameo yet!

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