Big Hero 6 (2014)
November 6, 2014 8:26 PM - Subscribe

From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind "Frozen" and "Wreck-It Ralph," comes "Big Hero 6," an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax, a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada. When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called "Big Hero 6." (From IMDB)
posted by jdherg (42 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Can't believe this isn't out until 30th Jan in the UK. I thought we were past all the massive-lag-between-US-and-UK-movie-release bullshit because it meant everyone just torrented?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:34 AM on November 7, 2014

I watched this last night, and it was the first time in a very, very, very long time I wanted some kind of sequel/TV series to follow so I could stay with this team for a while longer and watch them kick butt and take names in beautiful San Fransokyo.
posted by PearlRose at 7:25 AM on November 7, 2014 [6 favorites]

I just got home from it and I loved it. From the trailers (I didn't know anything about the comic book, so it's a new thing to me), I expected it to be an all-out comedy, but it was a lot more than that. Very heartfelt, with some really good messages about using your brain and teamwork and brothers and family.

*fist bump* Doodly doodly doop!
posted by xingcat at 9:29 PM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]

Holy shit that was fantastic. I had no idea what the movie was going to be about, just heard it was good and I was not at all disappointed. Really good story, good action, made me tear up a few times.

It was as if they made The Incredibles 2: Tokyo Drift. I hope they make many sequels to this film, the setting of San Fransokyo was amazing and I wanted to live in it.
posted by mathowie at 5:22 PM on November 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

I took my nephews to see this, in a very crowded theater, and the entire audience was delighted every time Baymax did his fist bump. I was totally charmed by Baymax -- slightly bored when he becomes Iron Man for the action sequences, but I'm probably not the target audience. I'd happily watch Baymax bouncing through the city in his first armor for 90 minutes.
posted by gladly at 11:12 AM on November 9, 2014

I saw it yesterday and the fact that I was unable to get to a computer to say something until now probably saved everyone multiple paragraphs of exhilarated exaltations. Needless to say, I may actually admit that it was better (I think it was, really) than How to Train Your Dragon 2 (which I loved), and easily the best animated feature of the year. On top of that, while I haven't seen every movie this year, it definitely is one of the best I've seen all year. I think I may have had more fun watching this movie than I did Guardians of the Galaxy, which was paramount in my cinematic heart up until yesterday's matinee.

I knew relatively little going into the film but the basics and while the beats were somewhat predictable, the brother's death to the identity of the villain, it just didn't matter. The characterization of virtually every character was well done to the point that nary a moment of screen time felt wasted on useless dialogue or eye rolling attempts at humor. The movie had focus which permeated every minute of the film. I appreciated how the group, built up with a great origin sequence, totally failed to work together on their first outing, and for a fair amount of the action, there was a genuine sense of danger that I felt for when they were fighting the enemy.

Animation wise, good...LORD. For all that massive mega hit that Frozen is, I see this movie as the icon that Disney Animation is back and at the top of the industry game. The settings felt like real sets with so much attention to detail, be it piles of trash in the alley way, to the walls of the cafe to the garage. Yep, like a proper California start up, Hiro's genius invention came about in a garage. The character animation was fantastic, be it the animation of the faces to the renderings of the hair and the clothing. There's one scene where his aunt bends over and her shoulder blade presses up under her clothing and I wanted to hoot. You just don't usually see that type of interplay between the body of the character and the clothes. The interplay between Baymax's big, inflatable body and the surround environment was well done, as well.

The style of the film, which was reflected by the animation, was quite fun. The soft touches done to transform San Francisco into a city with an overwhelming Japanese design were inventive, albeit, in some examples I had to admit, not everything needs to have pagoda wings flying off it. The mix of English with Kanji jogged memories of Firefly and left me slightly confounded to what the language mix of the universe was, since everyone we met spoke English. As a funny pun, the robot fighter that Hiro beats, who's called Yama (if my memory serves me right), who's giant, big, bulking, has a name that translates to mountain.

Sequences that still stand out to me. First, the flying sequence. Best flying sequence since the first How to Train Your Dragon and which made me wonder if I had made a critical error in not seeing the film in 3D. The gut wrenching climax inside the teleporter universe, right before rocket punch and immediately after. Yes, I ADMIT IT, I got teary eyed. The moment when Baymax refused to allow Hiro to take out his medical chip and of course, the moment immediately after he realized he had violated his programmed duty to help/cure/opposite of hurt. I just wanted to hug Baymax and tell him that it wasn't his fault. And the scene when he follow the order to destroy the villain, the red eyes, which made me think of Short Circuit when Johnny 5 would go into warfare mode.

It was a deft touch by which Baymax transformed for Hiro from just a tool, another robot with which to simply accomplish his desires, to a friend and beloved companion.

I'm a bit scatter brained at the moment, so I'll hold off on further commentary, but will add that the short before the film, Feast, I think it was titled, was also a delightfully well executed piece of animation.

And well, what do we think was Stan Lee's super power in the film? The delicious ode to Spiderman, what with his son discovering his father's secret identity, was a nice stinger at the end of the credits. Was the monitor or whatever that thing was next to his monitor, a big white thing with an oval black screen, a cue to Eve from Wall-E? I'll stop now. Can't wait to own this movie to watch again!
posted by Atreides at 6:57 PM on November 9, 2014

My entire family will be doing the fist bump/"Ba-da-la-da-da!" for weeks.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:06 PM on November 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Baymax was voiced by Scott Adsit. Pete friggin' Hornberger has forever changed Fist Bumping in America.
posted by DigDoug at 6:16 AM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

So you know I usually come on here to complain about movies. Let me state for the record that I loved this movie unreservedly. I thought it would be a sweet, fluffy movie, which I guess I gathered from previews, but it had enough more oomph to it to push it past "it was a cute movie" and into a "you should go see this movie."

We saw it in 3D and I'm glad we did.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:09 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

(and I usually don't like 3-D because I love colors more than 3-D-ness. Also, the glasses try to slide off my nose the whole time because they're on top of my regular glasses.)
posted by small_ruminant at 9:16 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I loved, loved, loved this movie. For all the reasons stated above, but also: It's a movie that likes science and engineering! The first two students Hiro meets at the school are women! One of those women is an engineer and the other is a chemist! (It's a little unclear why both are in the robotics department, but that's okay.) Baymax is a healthcare robot, not a fighting robot! (Though of course, he does learn karate, in an adorable fashion.)

My only complaint is that this is a movie where it seems like it ought to be no problem at all to pass the Bechdel test. There are four named female characters* (Cass, Gogo, Honey Lemon, and Abigail), three of whom interact with each other multiple times. And yet it doesn't. Aunt Cass is pretty much exclusively talking about or to male characters (Hiro and Tadashi). Gogo and Honey Lemon only talk to each other once, and it's about one of the male characters, and at the very end Abigail has a totally Bechdel passing exchange (about herself!) with another female character, but that other character is an unnamed extra.

This is not a high bar to pass! It's so frustrating!

*Compared to the ten named male characters (I'm counting the desk sergeant, since we can see his name on his badge): Hiro, Tadashi, Baymax, Wasabi, Fred, Callaghan, Krei, Heathcliff, Yama, and Sgt. Gerson.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:09 AM on November 14, 2014 [6 favorites]

My six year old daughter turned to me as soon as the credits rolled and told me that she wanted to cosplay as Go-go for the next comic con we go to. The movie was sweet and beautiful and fun and awesome. It had lots of little bits to keep comic book nerds (like me) happy and plenty that my wife and 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son loved. And yes, our fist bumps are forever altered.
posted by sleeping bear at 7:34 PM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

The scene where Hiro teaches Baymax how to fist bump and also where he tells Baymax that certain phrases are "just an expression" reminded me of the scenes in Terminator 2 where John Connor teaches the Terminator how to high five and how to swear.

Also, I wonder why no one commented about the headband that Hiro uses to control the microbots, since it's basically able to interpret human thought into highly precise and sophisticated shapes and motions, which is as equally impressive as the microbots themselves.
posted by FJT at 7:34 PM on November 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh yeah, and is Baymax's first armor a Robocop reference?
posted by FJT at 8:50 AM on November 17, 2014

I just saw it yesterday, and I'm tearfully explaining to my Incredibles DVD that it's no longer the best superhero film.

Seriously, this is an incredibly lean film-not a wasted scene in here. And the detail work is incredible- I could spend hours just watching the city and the background. I'm going to convict a reason to take my friends to see this film next week.
posted by happyroach at 2:52 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I went to see it a week ago, and had fun, and am surprised at the staying power of it in my head - it's a beautiful film, visually, and well done all around. And whenever I see a commercial for it now, I'm excited because I want the DVD to come out so I can sit with it and dissect it more.

Really, one of the best superhero films of the last several years. And I loved the end credits showing the team continuing to work in San Fransokyo and doing some pretty low-key Superhero stuff - it isn't all the world is ending, incredible high stakes stuff.
posted by nubs at 8:50 AM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

The delicious ode to Spiderman, what with his son discovering his father's secret identity, was a nice stinger at the end of the credits.

Ode to Batman, surely? That was one of my favorite jokes in the movie. Why does Fred live in what seems to be Wayne Manor (complete with Alfred, the butler)? Because his dad is Batman!
posted by straight at 10:19 AM on November 24, 2014

I loved this movie a lot, especially the first 75%. But I thought it had a few flaws that keep it from knocking The Incredibles from the top spot.

For a movie about engineering geeks, the movie seems completely uninterested in any kind of rules or consistency in what the geeks can and can't make or do. I can buy that maybe Hiro can't just reproduce his work with the microbots without the resources of the school lab that got burnt down (although that's hard to square with all the stuff he makes to outfit the team as superheroes), but he can't even come up with--doesn't even consider--a way to interfere with Callaghan's control of them?

I liked that each of the super-team members had "powers" based on their own research (including Fred's existing skills at wearing a mascot suit), but I thought it was kind of lame that they seemed to have so little agency compared with Hiro in creating and using their super-suits. (Hiro's inspirational, "Use your brains!" speech seemed particularly condescending). And I don't get why Hiro doesn't have rocket boots or laser swords or any other tools besides hanging on to Baymax.

And that mental-control headset is seriously magic compared with all the other tech in the movie, making the way Baymax interacts with people seem laughably primitive. Also, having the microbots constantly acting as a nanotech blob rather than more defined geometric shapes was both visually dull and unrealistic (it would be a lot harder for a user to imagine a specific irregular blob shape than something more regular).

I also didn't care for the floatiness and lack of physics in some of the action sequences. Honey Lemon in particular seems to have some sort of Spider-Man powers to leap around and survive falling from heights. But I agree that the learning-to-fly sequence with Baymax was fantastic and gave me thrills I wasn't sure I could get anymore from superheroes flying in movies.

I also thought the attempt to make climactic use of "I am satisfied with my care" was clumsy. It was set up as a shut-down command, not a take-decisive-action-to-save-me command. And given that the innovative part of Baymax appears in the movie to be mostly his software, it seemed dumb that Tadashi / Hiro didn't already have some sort of backup protocol.
posted by straight at 10:52 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I kind of loved that Hiro's power was telling Baymax what to do, where to fly, and who to punch while hanging on to his back, because it meant he was a 2014 big-budget CGI Daisaku Kusama/Johnny Sokko. All he needed was to replace "Ba-da-la-da-da!" with Robo's distinctive groan.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:06 AM on November 24, 2014

I thought the best parts were in the first half of the movie. Hiro and Tadashi's relationship was really well-done. I loved the way Callaghan challenged Hiro to do more than botfighting. The physical comedy with Baymax and how it fit with his personality was utterly delightful: "I am not fast." The change in pitch of his leaks as he covered the holes. His origin as a medical robot is a great idea that is thoroughly realized in his characterization, even in the way he moves. And the part where Baymax is changed from doctor to murderbot is every bit as horrific as it should be (and I'm glad Tadashi installed some red LED's in his eyes as little "lethal violence enabled" warning indicators -- sort of like the red ring of death on an Xbox 360).

The artwork, design, and cinematography are fantastic. There's a shot when the team is exploring the ruins of the teleport test chamber where Baymax is standing behind the team but reaching over to hold the door open for them that was composed like a perfect comic book cover or splash page.
posted by straight at 11:11 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, when they were flying among the wind turbine kites, my first thought was, "In a society that has those things, what they're doing is SO illegal."
posted by straight at 11:12 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

because it meant he was a 2014 big-budget CGI Daisaku Kusama/Johnny Sokko. All he needed was to replace "Ba-da-la-da-da!" with Robo's distinctive groan.

All he needed was that cool watch that flips up to reveal a microphone and other cool hidden techno gadgetry that I wanted so badly when I was 10-years-old.
posted by straight at 11:21 AM on November 24, 2014

"In a society that has those things, what they're doing is SO illegal."

On the other hand, so was bot fighting. (And probably half the other things they were doing.)
posted by small_ruminant at 1:36 PM on November 24, 2014

Ode to Batman, surely? That was one of my favorite jokes in the movie. Why does Fred live in what seems to be Wayne Manor (complete with Alfred, the butler)? Because his dad is Batman!

I went with Spidey since Stan Lee was a co-creator of Spiderman, and today, I was really thinking about how many gosh darn superheroes often have a fortune at their disposal. Geez!
posted by Atreides at 2:26 PM on November 24, 2014

But Peter Parker is notoriously poor, always begging mean J. Jonah Jameson to buy his pictures of Spider-Man so he can afford to buy that medicine for his frail Aunt May.
posted by straight at 7:00 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Spider-Man is poor because he doesn't actually patent and sell some of his inventions.

Anyway, in my headcannon, the island Fed's dad sirens so much time on is the island base Syndrome used 40 years ago...
posted by happyroach at 6:45 AM on November 25, 2014

I adored the movie. The animation was just unbelievably impressive. The smoke bomb at the end completely blew my mind. The story was trying a bit too hard to be Iron Giant at the end, but other than that, it was incredibly involving.

My only complaint is that I didn't think the microbots were particularly interesting as technology or as an super villain power.
posted by empath at 10:04 AM on November 29, 2014

Agreed, empath. It doesn't help that the stuff Hiro does in his 2 min tech demo is more inventive and visually interesting than anything else the microbots do for the entire rest of the movie.
posted by straight at 10:59 AM on November 29, 2014

My only complaint is that I didn't think the microbots were particularly interesting as technology or as an super villain power.

I was thinking the same thing, but I enjoyed the fact that, effectively, someone's powers actually ran out, and it wasn't the hero's powers done just to ratchet up the tension. Callaghan just... sort of forgot that he wasn't infinitely powerful.
posted by Etrigan at 3:11 PM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

To build on what Etrigan said, what was nice about the fight is it wasn't resolved with punching someone out. Our hero realized what the actual problem was, and how to solve it using the local environment. This was a bit of brilliance as good as any story from the silver age of comics- Mr. Fantastic could take notes.
posted by happyroach at 9:39 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the actual finale was great. It struck me as a plot resolution insight for the Google age: "You know, there's actually a finite number of these seemingly-endless microbots. We could just destroy all of them."

I just wish they'd been used more imaginatively before that than mostly-shapeless nanoblobs. I had the same problem with the future Sentinels in the latest X-men movie. The hero tactics were fun and imaginative but while the nanoblob realization of the Sentinel ability to adapt to any foe had a lot of things going for it (implacably creepy, more realistic than constantly sprouting new gadgets from every body part, a clever way of making Jennifer Lawrence's character more central) they had a lot less character and inventiveness than the comic book versions.
posted by straight at 9:34 AM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

We saw it on Christmas and all of us cried; I cried at least 3 times. There was so much cool stuff about it, but I was more excited by the first half than the second. I don't object to action movies for kids, but I'm exhausted by the way ALL kids' movies are now action movies. I guess this one is really made to be an action movie, but I just enjoyed the initial character development, physical humor, and stage-setting much more than the numerous chase scenes or explosions or sucking vortexes.

One thing that really surprised me was that Disney made this movie that implies a near future where California has been successfully colonized by Japan. I am all for it and please bring it on, but I'm surprised this was uncontroversial!

For whatever reasons, I really enjoyed Aunt Tess. And Mochi.
posted by latkes at 4:31 PM on December 26, 2014

I don't think Japan colonized San Francisco. I think San Francisco was always half Japanese or at least half Asian, judging by the wind-catching pagoda tips they put on the Golden Gate Bridge. (I'm not actually sure how those would work in real life, given the gale winds up there.)

(Also, if you want a taste of what that sort of colonization would actually feel like, check out Honolulu, which can get crazy racist in favor of Japanese. I'm not a fan.)
posted by small_ruminant at 5:41 PM on December 26, 2014

I really enjoyed it. Overall I give it an A. However there were a few things that kept it from A+:
- The Bechdel issue mentioned above. I agree, it's such a low bar. All they had to do was make Callahan a woman, and I can't think of any reason they couldn't have. Baby steps, I suppose.
- Speaking of which, how come there always has to be 1 sweet girl and 1 sour girl? With "sassy girl" and "leader girl" expansion packs if required? What about "Restless genius girl"?

- I was a little dissapointed Honey Lemon's cool little 3D printer didn't do the embrittlement thing she demonstrated earlier. That would have come in handy destroying the bots.

- I thought Hiro's presentation seemed like an unbelievably high bar to let a 14 year old into undergrad. I get that it's a difficult, prestigious program but jeez. Is it really necessary for the admission exam to be inventing entire new paradigms of human-computer interaction in your garage? Maybe I'm just bitter because I always wanted to go to film school but didn't understand how it was expected of me to already have the resources and know-how to make films before even starting.

Hubby asked me during the movie why Hiro didn't try to make a new headband. My theory is that the bots didn't yet have an interface for pairing with a different headband once set up. That would be the "more development" they were talking about at the presentation.

I felt conflicted with Fred because while I am always a sucker for meta humor I also wonder if it's possible to do a non-meta yet mainstream superhero movie that doesn't bomb? Could the people tolerate it?

I joked during the movie that in New San Fransokyo the Japanese Tea Garden is now an English Tea Garden. Har-dee-har-har. As someone who's still new to the SF area and just got done touristing around it was great to see my new home in this light.
posted by bleep at 12:25 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I thought Hiro's presentation seemed like an unbelievably high bar to let a 14 year old into undergrad.

Simple explanation: He wasn't an undergrad, he was in a PhD program.
posted by fings at 7:04 AM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yes I suppose that does wrap that up pretty neatly haha.
posted by bleep at 10:24 AM on January 5, 2015

I rewatched this with my family over the holidays, and I am pleased to report that I noticed a single exchange between Gogo and Honey Lemon in the midst of one of the action scenes (Gogo shouts at her teammates to do something, HL replies "on it," or something similar) thereby allowing it to squeak by the Bechdel test.

If Callaghan were a woman, for the plot to remain unchanged, she'd have to have a similar build to Krei, for the group to visually confuse one for the other when masked. This, of course, is not impossible (especially given that all of them are, y'know, animated) but I could see that having been part of the reasoning for having both those characters be male.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:17 PM on January 5, 2015

Then let's make Krei a woman too? Why not?
posted by bleep at 3:58 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Just saw this in a giggling gang of geek people. We were screaming with laughter and delight. After the first ten minutes I realized I couldn't possibly take in all the luxurious details on view: the second time I'm just going to focus on the backgrounds, third on the character's body language.

It was also the first time I saw a first-run movie in a theater with captions, so I got to appreciate the dialog this time around.
posted by Jesse the K at 7:01 PM on January 14, 2015

Knowing people who would watch this movie AND scream in delight is my dream in life.
posted by bleep at 7:22 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Dropping in to note: the Big Hero 6 animated series, also available on Disney+, is ... kind of great? and picks up pretty much directly from the end of the movie. Watching a couple of episodes per night was a bit of a balm during lockdown.

(Season 1 and 2, anyway; in season 3 the format changes from 20m episodes to 2x 10m stories crammed back-to-back and the resulting pace is a lot more frenetic and less relaxing.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:47 PM on May 9, 2021

Rewatch. Still great. This probably deserves to be remembered more, and better, than it is? Although dear God don't give 'em ideas about doing a live-action remake of it.

There's more than a little of The Iron Giant in Baymax, no? They're both horrified by being weaponized ("my healthcare protocol has been violated" / "I am not a gun"); they both sacrifice themselves at the end of their movies; they both ... or do they?

wrt the note above about spinoff series: last year's Baymax! shorts are slight, but cute.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:15 PM on May 20

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