There are a vast many out there who would vehemently claim that Pixar can do no wrong. From a strictly financial perspective, it’s hard to argue their logic. The studio produces fiscally successful hits like Canada produces hockey players. Their track record is undeniable and it’s one of the main reasons Disney added the company to their purchased trophy collection. (It should be noted that the focus of this review, Big Hero 6, was mined from its acquisition of Marvel – another trophy in their ever-growing display case.)
Pixar’s continued dominance explains why Walt Disney Animation Studios is continually taking cues from its CGI animated step-sibling with each new release under the chief Disney banner. It’s also no surprise that John Lasseter, long-time Disney alumni and Pixar’s creative superstar, was promoted several years ago to chief creative officer on the Disney side of the aisle.
Again, financially the move has proved to be a wise one. Disney’s Frozen has literally grown to be the largest grossing Disney animated film of all time, all while under Lasseter’s watch. How did this happen, you may ask – well let’s just say I’m still scratching my thinning head of hair. As a life-long fan of Disney’s animated offerings, Frozen left me a little chilly – pun intended – when compared to the mouse-eared corporation’s previous slate of films. Again, based on my recent review of Frozen, it wasn’t that I despised the film; it just did nothing for me… at all.
With Big Hero 6, Disney decided to play on the current popularity of comic book ensemble tag teams such as The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy by delivering a Pixar-esque CGI superhero film. It’s a great idea, minus the fact Pixar already did that and they did it better back in 2004 with The Incredibles.
Not to sound like a broken MP3 track, but it’s not that Big Hero 6 was horrible or devoid of some special moments, but I for one felt it was missing the magic of Disney’s past creations and the overflowing charm that has made Pixar’s computer generated fare a premium experience.
Here are just a few reasons the latest Disney adventure had the Outlaw saying “Meh”:
– Annoying much?
- At this point it should go without saying that the bread and butter of any excellent film, live-action or not, are its characters. So why did I feel like the whole lot of the performances in Big Hero 6 were, for lack of a better word, annoying. Granted, I’ve never read the source material, but outside of the balloon-like Baymax, the likeability factor for the other characters was fairly non-existent. This seemed especially noteworthy with regards to the movie’s other main protagonist, Hiro (Ryan Potter), who came across as downright annoying for most of the film’s runtime. For a studio that has given personality to lobsters, lions and a genie, this cast of characters seemed like a major step in the wrong direction. When a non-speaking reindeer (from the other recent Disney animated film I wasn’t so hot on) has a more likeable personality then the five human protagonists in this film, I’m not sure there is anything more to say. I either have horrible taste or I’m just not hip to what the kids dig these days, Daddy-o.
– I’m all growns up!
- “Paging adult writers… paging all adult writers over the age of 12.” Yes, I realize that this is a Disney film, and based on a comic book no less, so this isn’t going to be Masterpiece Theater. Nevertheless, at least throw us adults (who think we are mature) a bone and incorporate some grown-up humor every now and again to better balance out the silly kiddie tomfooleries. I hate to keep going back to Pixar – honestly I don’t mind – but they are living proof that an animated film can hold the attention of both demographics of targeted movie goers: the restless parents and their even more restless offspring. With the exception of a clever line or two from Baymax, the humor was even too juvenile for the Outlaw, which if you know my humor-based tendencies, is saying quite a bit.
– Anime Shmanime
- This is more of a subjective viewpoint (although I guess most of my opinions are just that), however the anime/Japanime style of animation has never tickled this Outlaw’s fancy. To be fair, Big Hero 6 is no anime film. I only mention anime because the all CGI-film definitely borrows heavily from design elements one might normally associate with the traditional Asian-based animation from which the comic is based upon. There is nothing wrong with that of course, nonetheless, that being said I reiterate it’s just not my thing. On a minor but related note, the whole San Fransokyo naming convention of the city felt like a bit of a rip-off of the Firefly universe, but as per most complaints I have in life, I’m probably just reaching at this point.
As I hinted prior to my rant, the film wasn’t a total loss for me. Here are some of the gems which left some positive memories floating around in my cavernous noggin.
– Baymax to the max!
- There is no doubt this film revolves around the puffy Marshmallow Man-like inflatable healthcare droid that is Baymax. He’s sweet, loveable, funny and provides for the film’s only heartfelt moment. It’s unfortunate the filmmalers put all their creative juice into the big lug because he just couldn’t heal the rest of the movie.
– A Sight for sore eyes.
- Even though the anime stylings of the film aren’t up my alley personally, there is no doubt this is one beautiful film to watch. The colors and detail of Big Hero 6 are engrossing from the very first scenes. It never ceases to amaze me how much the CGI technology evolves on a yearly, if not monthly basis.
– Guess who Makes a Cameo! ~SPOLER ALERT~
- Being this is a Marvel Comics property, then your options on who the guest cameo is are somewhat limited… to one! I was shocked, but pleasantly surprised to see Stan Lee’s likeness pop up on a painted picture within the film, but even happier to hear his voice make itself heard as his character appears after the closing credits. Make sure you watch for the final scene, as I almost left mid-credits. It might be the best thirty seconds of the entire movie!
At the end of the day, I’d be lying if I said Big Hero 6 disappointed me if only because I truly had no expectations going in. Despite the glowing reviews, the trailers never got my Pixar panties in such a bunch I felt I needed to see it in theaters.
Ironically, if you were to ask me the one thing I enjoyed most about Big Hero 6, it would hands-down be Disney’s lead-in animated short, Feast. The 3D hand drawn/computer animated short tells the story about a relationship between a dog, his owner and their food. In ‘short,’ Feast is funny, endearing and touching: everything Big Hero 6 is not.
Sadly, when the six-minute cartoon before the main animated feature is more memorable than the main event itself, it might be time to head back to the drawing board… literally.