I’ll tell you this in no uncertain terms: Disney is about to have a major new merchandising giant in Baymax the inflatable robot and his Big Hero 6 team. Baymax (already nick-named “Bay” for short) is lovable, funny, and gets at the heartstrings like only the best Disney characters can – and given that Big Hero 6 was loosely adapted from a Marvel comic book, it means Bay will be doing some high-flying heroism as well.
Well, as the holiday 2014 blockbuster season starts to get underway, first reviews for Big Hero 6 are starting to be released – and they pretty much confirm everything said above, plus the high praise we had from our own experience with the test footage preview.
Read through the review snippets collected below, which collectively praise the film’s meld of old and new East/West styles – as well as its puffed-up protagonist:
Trailer & Reviews
THR – Like Frozen, Big Hero 6, co-directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, handily defies convention in regard to presumably skewing more to one gender demo over the other. Sure, it’s got robotics and superheroes, but it also has plenty of emotional resonance and, of course, merchandising gold in the form of an oversized, huggable vinyl balloon of a Personal Healthcare Companion that bears more than a passing physical resemblance to the star of Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro. The appealing result should cast a very wide net for Disney, with a strong potential for future heroics.
Variety -Still, there’s enough that’s new and different about “Big Hero 6” to get excited about, especially for those still too young for Marvel’s more intense live-action fare. A couple of decades ago, Disney went out of its way to diversify its princess lineup, featuring characters such as Mulan and Pocahontas in culturally specific stories designed to reflect their unique backgrounds. “Big Hero 6” seems wonderfully color-blind by comparison, centering on a Japanese-American lead, 14-year-old Hiro Hamada (voiced with contagious enthusiasm by Ryan Potter), in a role that could have gone to a character of any race or gender.
The Wrap – Complain all you want about the current vogue of superhero movies, but if every so often we get a “Big Hero 6” — a kid-friendly saga that features an Asian protagonist, an ethnically- and gender-diverse group of costumed crusaders, and positive messages about science, education, and compassion — then it justifies the genre’s existence.
Telegraph UK -Big Hero 6…is pitched as a cymbal-clash of eastern and western pop cultures – a rainbow-toned, up-to-the-microsecond story of superheroes and robots, set in a shimmering hybrid city called San Fransokyo – but it’s also a melding of old and new modes of animation, in which the attentive artistry of the past coexists with the hyper-detailed, computer-generated present.
The Playlist – At moments, “Big Hero 6” threatens to vie with “Up” for Most Touching Animated Film About The Grieving Process, but then something new and noisy distracts us. However, the design of the film is pretty much flawless. And along with the the wonderfully detailed rendering of San Fransokyo, with streetcars hung with paper lanterns and its Asian-ified Golden Gate Bridge, it’s the conception of Baymax that is the film’s greatest treat.
So there you have it: Big Hero 6 may not have a perfect narrative arc (too many episodic hijinks seems to be the general consensus), but thanks to the strength of its production design and lovable central character (Baymax), it’s destined to be a hit for Disney.
It’s almost hilarious to think that actor Scott Adsit (Pete Hornberger from 30 Rock!) is about to be catapulted to mega-stardom by having his voice attached to a new smash-hit animated character; then again, that’s pretty much the kind of fate we’d expect for old Pete Hornberger…
For fans of animated and superhero films alike, this will seemingly be one nice surprise that few saw coming early on in the year. Bring on the warm tidings of the holiday season…
NEXT: Big Hero 6 Footage Review
Big Hero 6 will be in theaters on November 7, 2014.