Conner’s Critiques: “Big Hero 6” is the best animated movie of 2014 (SPOILERS)


Credit: James Hauke

Conner McBride, Staff Writer

“Hello, I am Baymax, your personal health-care companion.”

Baymax is a robotic health-care assistant built by college student Tadashi Hamada, the older brother to Hiro Hamada, the protagonist of “Big Hero 6.” “Big Hero 6” is a Walt Disney animated film that came out in 2014 following Hiro’s and Baymax’s adventures as they fight crime. It is the best animated Disney movie of 2014.

The animation style is fantastic, despite this movie coming out in 2014 and the leaps of advancement in animation technology since then. Aspects of the characters like their hair or the bags under their eyes look incredibly realistic and very different from the more synthetic versions of earlier movies such as “Wreck-It Ralph” where the hair looks wig-like or the “Ice Age” series where the eyes look flat and barbie-doll like.

In the movie, child prodigy Hiro teams up with some of his friends and a robot made by his recently deceased brother Tadashi to take down an evil villain, Robert Callaghan. Callaghan is set on destroying his rival, Alistair Krei and Krei’s technology company, Krei Tech, after an incident involving his daughter.

Callaghan becomes evil after Krei tech completes their teleportation machine and his daughter volunteers to be the first human test subject in their human trials. The teleportation machine is said to “transport matter instantaneously through time and space,” so when the machine malfunctions, Callaghan’s daughter is stuck inside.

“Big Hero 6” is also part of the Marvel franchise, although set outside of the main timeline as “The Avengers” and other iconic characters like Deadpool, or Daredevil. The change in universe contributes to slight deviations from the normal geographical location in the film. 

In a normal world, the movie would take place in San Francisco. Instead, it is set in San Fransokyo, an alternate timeline version of San Francisco which has to be rebuilt after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The remains from the earthquake are rebuilt with the help of the Japanese immigrants that had migrated there with technology that helps withstand seismic events such as earthquakes. 

The founding of San Fransokyo also has a lot of lore surrounding it. The cause of the 1906 earthquake in this universe is actually because of Lenore Shimamoto, an artist who is secretly a scientist. Shimamoto is trying to build an energy amplifier as a power source, but the power source creates a massive star that causes the event known as the “Great Catastrophe.” 

Also, Baymax is a great animated character. The marshmallow-looking robot possesses a blunt sense of humour and takes everything a bit too literally, much like the Marvel character Drax, who was introduced in the film “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Baymax is also inherently good, even though that is because of his programming. He tries to help as much as possible and causes minimal harm or damage.

When Hiro and his friends get back to Fred’s mansion after being chased by the antagonist in the film, a vengeful Professor Callaghan, Hiro points out that the villain must be controlling the nano-bots through the mask he wears, with the neuro-transmitter that is shown earlier in the film. In order to stop the villain, they must grab his mask which they cannot do without powering up.

A power-up scene is a montage of clips that shows the protagonist or protagonists improving themselves in some way, like exercising or studying to become smarter or stronger. The power-up scene in “Big Hero 6” is no different. The phenomenal scene shows the characters of the movie: Hiro Hamada, Baymax, Go-go Tomago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred building and designing their supersuits which are all equipped with a special ‘ability’ unique to each character. 

For example, Honey-Lemon’s chemical concoctions are now able to be created by a satchel that she keeps attached to her hip with the quick press of a few buttons. Go-go’s magnetic levitation discs, that are featured in the beginning of the movie, have now turned into a form of quick mobile transportation, similar to roller-blades. All of this is done to the song “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy in the background. 

The abstractness of the portrayal of space within this movie is also very neat. Baymax and Hiro are inside one of the ends of the teleportation portal in an attempt to save Callaghan’s daughter, where it shows a kaleidescope void of symmetrical shifting colours. Because this is theoretical space and not being in outer space, the animators had a lot of free rein with the visuals and creation process to make something amazing. 

It would have been nicer to see more of the other characters other than just clips of them fighting against Callaghan or powering up. In the beginning of the movie when the other protagonists are introduced, you see them working on their own individual projects. It would have been interesting to see what new inventions they would have created after they had finished fighting Callaghan, and now, working with Hiro.

Finally, The ending to the film, while sweet, is too blunt. After Hiro brings back Callaghan’s daughter from inside the portal, it cuts to Hiro going off to college with Go-go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred. While unpacking the only piece of Baymax he has left, an armoured glove, Hiro finds the chip that is made with the programming of Baymax. This is what helps remake another Baymax, after which it immediately cuts to Hiro and his friends zooming across San Fransokyo in their super suits with Hiro doing a monologue explaining how they didn’t plan to become heroes, but they are. 

This scene leads to the belief that there will be a sequel, but the closest thing found to that are the two spin-off series, “Big Hero 6: The Series,” and “Big Hero 6: The Series (Shorts).” There is also the trailer for “Baymax!” another spin-off series showcasing the adventures of Baymax that comes out the summer of 2022.