Granger on Movies: 'Big Hero 6'
In recent years, Walt Disney Animation Studios has been revitalized, with "Frozen," "Tangled" and "Wreck-It Ralph." That trend continues with this action-packed, Marvel comic book collaboration.
The story revolves around Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), who lives in the futuristic East/West multicultural hybrid called San Fransokyo in northern California. A cocky 14-year-old tech geek who already graduated from high school, he spends his time with back-alley robot-battles, much to the dismay of his Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph) and older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney), who want him to go to college.
Hiro becomes enthusiastic about the endeavor, impressing stern Professor Callaghan (James Cromwell) with his knowledge of "microbots," nano technology that can form anything. Then tragedy strikes. And heartbroken Hiro bonds with gentle Baymax (Scott Adsit), an inflatable, translucent vinyl robotic Healthcare Companion designed to ease pain of all sorts. Their friends include adrenaline junkie GoGo Tamago (Jamie Chung), laser-blade innovator/neat frek Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), chemistry specialist Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) and the Godzilla-obsessed fanboy Fred (T.J. Miller). Together, they utilize their creativity to morph into high-tech avengers, battling a kabuki-masked villain.
Under the supervision of Pixar's executive producer John Lasseter, directors Don Hall ("Winnie the Pooh") and Chris Williams ("Bolt") have created a charming, if bland origin story, scripted by Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson and Jordan Roberts, inspired by the titular comic book heroes, borrowing from Japanese anime. But it's the gentle, waddling giant Baymax that delivers the warmly puffy emotional resonance. Every kid will want one.
FYI: Before the film starts, there's a new short "Feast," presenting life, love and, especially, food, as seen through the eyes of Winston, a Boston terrier. And stay through the end credits for a surprise about Fred's parentage.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Big Hero 6" is a bouncy, beguiling 7. It's family fare that values brains over brawn.
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