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Big Hero 6 proves that Disney belongs firmly in the world of animation, the super hero organization origins story has a huge dose of humor and a large spoonful of nerd which combine to entertain thoroughly. In 2013, the studios that Walt built presented Frozen with a Disney princess that bowled every kid over across the world. On a side note, the biggest selling item for little girls to wear for Halloween this year was (drumroll please) Elsa costumes from the animated feature. Not to put too fine a point on it, but a sure sign of success of any film for kids is the successful merchandising afterward.
2014 brought Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie as the misunderstood villainess from Sleeping Beauty, in this version of the tale, it turns out that the King, the drowsy princess’s daddy, was a real stinker apparently, and while the reviews were okay, no one got too overly excited about the film. Muppets Most Wanted was another “live action” film, if one can call muppets and people live per se… The next offering in the live stakes was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day.
If Big Hero 6 was Disney firing on all cylinders and proving that the studios were having a great day, nay, year in the world of animation with a spoonful of nerd, “Alexander” was a film whose biorhythms were completely off. The “Very Bad Day” was not necessarily a very bad film, it was just not very good. The type of film where kids squirm in their seats, throw popcorn, candy and fits of temper. They make repeated toilet trips, not because they have to go, but because they are bored.
While the latter live action film could not figure out who it wanted to appeal to, Big Hero 6 has no such problem. The animated adventures of a 14 year old academic prodigy appealed to everyone in the theatre. There was enough silly humor to please the youngest in the audience and this was applied in such a way that the bigger kids – which does of course include parents – enjoyed the same gags. In one scene, BayMax’s batteries run dangerously low. The chubby and huggable robot acts as though it is either suffering from a sugar overdose or a is very, very tired, from a kids point of view, or (from a parents point of view) drunk. The humor in the situation is funny for both parties watching the film and this is what Disney does so well, when it has everything just right.
Are there a few stereotypes? Of course there are, this is Disney, remember? The studio that brought the world wicked stepmothers, goofy and somewhat ineffectual fathers, and more recently, the “hippy” character; for example the turtle in Finding Nemo…Dude…to good old Fred in Big Hero 6. On a sidenote, yes there are many more stereotypes in the Disney verse, but not wanting to take a lot of time recounting them, these three were chosen.
Big Hero 6 has at least a couple of stereotypical situations, one being the Disney dysfunctional family. In this instance Mom and Dad are gone which leaves Hiro and his older brother having to live with their cool, but bumbling Aunt Cass. Both brothers are mad smart with more than a spoonful of nerd thrown in for good measure. The film may have its origins in the Marvel verse, in their comic incarnation one of the characters was an X-Man who worked for Charles Xavier, but Disney did what they do best, which is reconfigure the characters to make them way more…Disney. The end result is that this film is easily on par with 2013s Frozen and it may well be that the next Halloween costume of choice will be the BayMax. Now in theatres across the country Big Hero 6 is fun enough for the whole family.
By Michael Smith