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Movie Night – 'Big Hero 6' falls short of earning its super status

By Bradley Griffith
Don’t you hate it when the commercials for the movie are better than the movie itself? The commercials for “Big Hero 6” make it appear to be very funny and good for kids of all ages. The reality of the movie is that the funniest parts of the commercials weren’t even in the movie and the villain is a little too scary for young children.
Set in the fictional city of San Fransokyo (a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo that appears to be in the future), the movie revolves around Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter), a 14-year-old genius. Hiro graduated from high school at age 13 but, rather than enroll at any of a number of prestigious universities, he decided to build robots at home and spend his time hustling at robot fights.
Hiro’s older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), is a student at an unnamed university and encourages Hiro to apply. The only thing Hiro is interested in is the next bot fight. Until, that is, Tadashi took Hiro to his lab at the university and introduced Hiro to his friends and the amazing projects underway at the lab. Tadashi’s project is Baymax (Scott Adsit), an inflatable, soft, huggable, personal healthcare robot. Hiro is in awe of the students and their projects. He recognized that the lab is the perfect place for him. Spots in the lab are by invitation only and he must wow Professor Callaghan (James Cromwell) at a robotics exhibition.
Hiro invents microbots, thousands of small robots that work together. The microbots impress Professor Callaghan to the point that he immediately offers Hiro admission to the university and a spot in the robotics lab. As Hiro and his friends leave the exhibition to celebrate the entire exhibition hall catches fire and Professor Callaghan is trapped inside. Tadashi rushes into the building to save the professor just before the building explodes in a great fireball.
Hiro worshipped Tadashi and is devastated by his death. The movie picks up some speed when Hiro accidentally activates Baymax at his home. The two go on a somewhat misguided quest to unmask the person responsible for the fire that killed Tadashi. Unwilling to allow Hiro to investigate on his own, four of the students from the robotics lab come to Hiro’s aid.
“Big Hero 6,” like virtually all family movies, was supposed to be funny. There were a few funny scenes, mostly involving Baymax, but the movie doesn’t exactly leave you in stitches. Remember the scene from the commercials where Baymax keeps trying to pick up a soccer ball but can’t quite get it because his short legs kick the ball every time before he can grab it? That’s not in the movie. Neither is the scene where Baymax’s armor springs off of his too chubby body one piece at a time.
The mishmash of San Francisco and Toyko, in the future no less, was very strange. There were aspects of both cities in San Fransokyo. The Golden Gate Bridge was there, surrounded by pagodas and temples. There’s no reason why the movie couldn’t have been set in either of the actual cities. The choice of San Fransokyo is not only baffling, it’s distracting during the movie.
The plot is okay. In order to defeat the villain the nerds from the university must become superheroes with the help of their projects from the university. There’s a certain vibe of the weak defeating the strong by using their intellect. Speaking of the villain, he rides around in a sinister kabuki mask. Adults and older kids will have no problem with these scenes, but young children, such as my six-year-old, could easily be scared.
“Big Hero 6” is not a bad movie, it’s better than many family movies. But there’s nothing special about it, nothing that makes it stand out among the multitude of animated movies released each year. “Big Hero 6” is the very definition of a mediocre movie.
Grade: B
Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements.