The Downside of Characters Having Personality – Big Hero 6

Review by Sam Doob

run time 108 mins – that’s long

It’s creepy. It’s about an inflatable healthcare robot that, when low on batteries, becomes shrivelled and behaves like a fall down drunk. It speaks with a pre-recorded voice: male, blithe, debatably asexual. (But who wants to debate that?) Also the teenage girl characters have lots of accentuated body parts, which is somewhat new terrain for Disney. I guess they took a tip from Pixar’s Mrs. Incredible. And another tip from Heavy Metal. But at least those were women. Princess Aurora and Cinderella were never so voluptuous. It’s not the best feeling to be attracted to a cartoon. But it’s definitely not a good feeling to be attracted to underage cartoons. Finally, the most creepy thing about Big Hero 6: the co-director’s previous movie was Bolt.

BH6 feels heavily workshopped. Since Disney clearly wanted to create a new string of sequels here, they did not take any chances. Sitting through the movie, one can almost hear the comments elicited from the test audiences. The result is uninteresting characters, about as edgy as the corner of an ipad. The main character’s name is Hiro; Hiro’s family dies all over the place and yet it’s hard to muster up any empathy for him, because Hiro is not an individual at all. Hiro having a personality might alienate some audience members and not result in Big Hero 6 2.

There is one moment at the end of BH6 that rips off everything it can in an attempt to pull at the audience’s heartstrings: music practically out of Platoon, white-light robot eyes glowing onto a young boy’s teary ones, Terminator 2-style “You don’t have to do this!” dialogue from the scene where Arnold self-terminates. But the biggest apparent influence is Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant. There are many similarities throughout, including a scene where the robot (Baymax, or Paypal) gets red eyes and tries to kill everything in sight. But during BH6‘s big finale, its plagiarism of Iron Giant is so blatant that just when the audience is supposed to feel some kind of big emotional climax, the feeling is this: ‘This movie is cheap.’

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