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Sunday, April 19, 2015

16 Thoughts and Reactions to Big Hero 6

If you're like me, you're probably getting tired of sequels, reboots, live-action versions of animated classics, spinoffs, and so on.  All I want are movies that stand on their own two feet with their own unique premise, unconnected from any other film franchise.  Bonus points for superheroes, awesome character development, and nonstereotypical female characters.  An Oscar win doesn't hurt.

Big Hero 6, guys.  Apparently such a movie exists.

Here are 16 of my thoughts:
  1. Hiro is adorable.  Protect this child at all costs.  He even has the same hair as Hiccup. He reminds me so much of Hiccup, actually.  He's constantly underestimated and can't always keep up with people on their level, so he invents his own and blows everyone away with it.  I have a lot of respect for that.  
  2. What kind of college even is this?  Hiro gets in without even taking the ACT.  He only visits once.  Where are the admissions counselors?  The awkward campus tours?  (Also, he graduated high school at thirteen and then didn't go right to college?  I'll suspend my disbelief about the microbots and superheroes in general, but this one isn't getting past me without comment.)
  3. I'm really liking this cultural fusion.  It's San Francisco, but a whole lot more Japanese.  The kabuki mask thing is a nice touch.  I want to know how this setting came to be.  
  4. SCIENCE.  That's it.  That's all I have for this reaction.
  5. This movie is several different movies rolled into one.  Mismatched team of superheroes?  It's The Avengers.  Baymax's red robot armor suit?  It's Iron Man.  All that hero/villain revenge scheming?  It's Megamind.*  Main character builds robots?  It's, well, Robots and maybe a little Meet the Robinsons.  Scrawny kid doing big things?  How to Train Your Dragon.  Gogo's entire suit/ensemble?  Straight out of Tron.  
    Obligatory group shot courtesy of every superhero movie ever.
  6. Look at this character development GO.  Hiro goes from mopey to excited to mopey to VENGEANCE IS MINE to healthy emotional healing.  Many movies (especially animated ones) pick one trait and develop that.  The character arc goes up and only up.  Hiro's goes up, down, around, and underneath.  It gives the movie so much honesty, since that's exactly how real-life character development happens.  It's messy.  It's not always moving up.  
  7. Me: If the robot dies, I'm gonna--are you kidding me right now?  You have to see it coming.  When does the sidekick/pet/mentor ever survive?  Baymax is a little of all three, so you know something's up as soon as he's introduced.  And then Hiro made the red armor.  Let's think about this.  Robot that looks oddly like Iron Man is flying into an inter-dimensional wormhole in the sky during the movie's climax.  Yeah, that's not going to end well.  
  8. It's actually unpredictable and I appreciate that.  Every Disney movie is going to be at least a little formulaic (as in, they can't pull a Snowpiercer on us and completely destroy all of our hopes with the ending).  You know it's going to have a happy ending, but Disney is free to get there however they want.  The setup makes this seem like it's going to be a little-kid-gets-beat-and-vows-to-take-down-bullies-with-even-cooler-robots story.  And that lasts, oh, 30 seconds and then it's already turning itself on its head.  And then we have villains that aren't the real villains, characters who show completely new sides midway through, and so much more.
  9. Is it just me, or does Alan Tudyk have the same role in every new Pixar movie?  Need someone to play your secondary villain, the one you set up as a villain and hint at his evilness but it turns out the real antagonist is someone else?  Alan Tudyk is apparently your guy.  (He's Alistair Krei in this movie and the Duke of Weselton in Frozen.)  In other news, he is a leaf on the wind.  Watch how he soars.  Here's a completely relevant video clip.
  10. Me: Oh, this is cool, oh this is cute, OHHHHhhhhhh.  Okay, fine.  We'd gone about 20 minutes without a major catalyst, so something was obviously coming, but still.  It's all "Yay, cool robots!  Look at Tadashi being all brotherly and supportive!  Look at this kid Hiro go!  Look at this burning building!  Yeah, we got you.  Sorry, not sorry."
  11. Is that Mako from Pacific Rim or do I just have some weird Freudian attachment to Pacific Rim that I can't get over?  The answer to both of these questions is probably yes.  

  12. I'm discovering my love for colorful movies.  This, How To Train Your Dragon 2... I appreciate movies that, unlike Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, have color to them.  It's not all dark, black, and night.  The setting and general visual aesthetic of Big Hero 6 have color.  It makes everything seem more vibrant and real.  
  13. Fall Out Boy.  In a Disney movie.  Hiro and the team have their little pre-battle montage and suddenly I'm hearing Patrick Stump's voice blasting out of the speakers.  The song itself works well (even if it is edited), but Fall Out Boy is an interesting choice.  Let's introduce children to emo pop punk at a young age!  "Immortals" is a great song, but as much as I unexpectedly and inexplicably love the entire album, maybe small children should stick to Kidz Bop before they go after American Beauty / American Psycho.  
  14. Wait, there's a female character that's both feminine and busting up some bad guys?  I didn't even know that was a thing.  I mean, look at this girl.  She has long, blonde hair.  She likes pink.  She's wearing a dress.  And she's still as effective on the team as everyone else?  Without giving up her femininity?  She's actually using it to her advantage?  Is that even legal?  What is this madness?    

  15. That being said, I still don't think it passes the Bechdel Test.  The Bechdel Test isn't necessarily any indicator of female portrayal in a movie, but it's always a start.  Unless I'm forgetting something, even Big Hero 6 isn't quite there.  (The Bechdel Test website lists this as a pass, but it's a no from me.  That's a brief exchange, only two or three lines, and isn't a full conversation.)
  16. Whatever you do, stay after the credits.  If you felt like this movie was missing something, chances are it's because you just went a whole superhero movie without a Stan Lee cameo.  Just...don't turn off the DVD player quite yet. 

Did you see Big Hero 6?  What did you think?

*Guys, Megamind looks dumb, but it's actually a masterpiece of complex character development.  I swear on Sherlock series 4 that I'm not joking.

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