I did not see Big Hero 6 in theaters. I didn’t really have anything against it, as the trailers made it look pretty cool, but I just didn’t feel like going out of my way to see it, is all. But I recently got the chance to see it among a large group of friends and peers. And I loved it!
Or, rather, I loved the experience of watching it with my friends, and really liked the movie itself. 🙂
Fair warning, as this one isn’t “new” like several other movies I’ve managed to review in a “tiptoeing around the spoilers” sort of way, I’m not going to bother treading lightly on this one. 😉
To start with what I didn’t like, or thought could have been done better, the narrative didn’t really “flow” so much as “keep walking, step after step after step.” A story that flows is able to setup the world, spark the inciting incident, and proceed through a rising action that climaxes, then comes down (that’s the first act) then rises again to climax, and fall, and climax (the second act), and fall, and climax one more time, before falling off and wrapping things up (the third act). This didn’t have that structure. They spent the entire first act setting things up, and then they had an inciting incident.
So the narrative structure is slightly botched, and it made the movie feel quite a bit longer than it is. When the main character came face to face with the man whose actions killed his brother, I actually had a moment where I went, “Oh, yeah, he wants revenge… I forgot about that…”
I forgot about it! That’s just not supposed to happen! We never forget about Batman and the tragedy of his parents!
So, narrative structure: needs improvement.
Then there’s how “flat” most of the characters are. The main character, Hiro, has some depth to him, including his genius, his spunk, his wonder at futuristic technologies, the pain he feels at the loss of his big brother, his anger, his sorrow, his healing process… basically, he’s an actual character.
Most of the others are just their quirks and idiosyncrasies. Granted, they’re hilarious anytime they’re interacting with each other, but when they find out their mentor betrayed them and killed their friend, you would think they might react a bit more strongly.
Besides Hiro, the deepest character is the villain, and he 1) spends much of the film in silence and 2) is obsessed with getting revenge for his daughter, making him mostly just a dark reflection of Hiro. He is not only Hiro’s enemy, he’s already given in to the same inner enemy, that endless anger, which threatens to consume Hiro. In the person Hiro wants to defeat, he finds someone not so different from himself.
No, wait, I amend that about the villain being the deepest character… there’s also the inflating medical robot, Baymax. He’s mostly his idiosyncrasies too, but he learns and develops more than a little, and he notices things others don’t. He is the angel Hiro’s brother left behind to help him, the strong support that truly helps Hiro heal. As ironic as it is for the robot to be a more developed character than almost everyone else, Baymax is definitely the dear heart of Big Hero 6.
So the three most developed characters are Hiro the hero, the villain who represents Hiro’s inner demons, and the robotic angel who saves Hiro from said demons. Everyone else is a tweaked cardboard cutout.
In short: flawed narrative structure, and simplistic, under-developed characters.
Yet I still enjoyed this movie! 🙂
Hiro’s journey through hope, pain, and healing was surprisingly compelling. I love, especially, how Hiro was able to heal, through posthumous influence, through crying, and being loved. Then he was ready to face the man who represents revenge, and not win, but, unexpectedly, return the man’s daughter to him. For the villain’s part, in a way, it was all for nothing, and yet if he had not done as he did, his daughter may never have been rescued from her extra-dimensional imprisonment. There’s light and darkness to everything, you see, and the difference often lies in whether we are acting out of our pain, or out of love and decency.
To sum up, Big Hero 6 could have used some streamlining and further development, but all in all, it’s a heartwarming tale of love, loss, and living. I like it.
Rating: 8 stars out of 10, which might be one point generous, but whatever! 😉