Sunday, November 16, 2014

Big Hero 6 (USA, 2014)

Nine Things About the Movie Big Hero 6

1. This is the most pleasant surprise I've seen at the movies in 2014. From the cutesy trailer and the stupid title, it's like Disney doesn't want anybody to know what the movie really is.

2. It's about a 14-year-old genius named Hiro Hamada who lives in the city of San Fransokyo. He's out of high school, bored, and thinks college is for nerds. He spends his time in the city's battle robot underground. Hiro's older brother, Tadashi, is a robotics engineering student who has invented a new kind of robot named Baymax that specializes in health care.

3. After some bad things happen, Hiro reluctantly teams up with Baymax and Tadashi's friends to stop someone from stealing Hiro's own invention of swarming microbots. But that quest opens up bigger problems.

4. There are themes of death and loneliness in the film that aren't obvious from the way the movie is marketed. I was more emotionally invested in the movie than I expected to be.

5. The filmmakers consulted about six universities and robotics research labs for help on this movie. I'm pretty sure this is the only animated film I've ever seen that uses the term "tungsten carbide".

6. The character of Baymax was inspired by actual research in a new field called "soft robotics". And the swarming microbots in the film are also based on real research and inventions. Of course, the movie takes those ideas and then leaves reality behind.

7. The animation in this film is so incredibly detailed that some scenes look almost like real life. The 3D is also worth the extra price, if you like that sort of thing.

8.  The movie unabashedly promotes science, technology, engineering, and education. It makes the point that some problems are too tough to solve through brute force; sometimes you have to think your way to a solution.

9. If you are expecting an "aww, that's cute and funny" superhero movie, then you will be disappointed. Don't get me wrong, this is a fun movie for the family, but it's also a real movie with real issues, emotions, and problems. It's the most thoughtfully fun animated film I've seen in a long time.