IHAO on ... Big Hero 6

This may just be the hardest review I've ever had to write.  Why?  Because my subjective opinion makes me really really look down on this perfectly fine and fun kids action movie.  Let me make that perfectly clear, because you will see me using more words talking about how much I don't like it: I like this movie, and it is a very fun and good kids movie.  It is not a great movie.  But it is a good movie for kids.

Why am I having such a hard time with this?  Because I love Big Hero 6, the comic book.  And as an adaptation, this movie is utter trash.  The only thing that even remotely resembles the comic book is the characters names and Go Go Tomago.  That's it.  The setup, the setting, the backgrounds of the characters, the characters powers, the character's costumes, the themes, the bad guys, the style of superhero story.  Every single other thing is so utterly different that there is no point in this even being an adaptation.  Any of those things I listed are fine to change in an adaptation - in fact, they should be changed.  Some.  Not completely.  Not to be 100% unrecognizable to the people who you are trying to draw in off the recognition of the name, because that name doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things unless you know the source material, which doesn't factor into the movie at all!!  In fact, if it wasn't called Big Hero 6, if it had different character names, and if Go Go's powers were replaced with some other powers, this movie I would have liked more.

I'm going to explain myself better, jeez.  I told you this one was hard to write!

Ok, the good things: it is beautiful.  This film has some location shots that I cannot fathom were not real locations, they are so beautifully put together.  The camerawork and direction of this film is fantastic.  The acting is ... well, it isn't great, but the more I think about it, the more some characters really stood out: Scott Adsit's Baymax easily, but also Daniel Henney as Tadashi.  Maya Rudolph and T.J. Miller were a little distractingly ad lib sounding, and Genesis Rodriguez and Damon Wayans Jr. were both a little distracting in general, overall the voice cast did a good job.  And to be fair, I am being really nitpicky.

The real problem, for me as a film critic and not just a lover of the source material (as bastardized as this movie is from it), is the script.  Beyond the adaptation, which I could talk about for another couple thousands words I'm sure, this script is very very strangely written.  It is not a team movie like you would think a movie that is titled after the name of the team in the movie should be.  No, it is about Hiro, a genius teenage robotics whiz-kid, and his relationship with his brother, Tadashi, and his brother's robot, Baymax.  That is what the movie is about.  All the other characters probably have ... a fourth the screentime that these three do.  The dialogue is hackneyed, the callbacks are plentiful and lame, and the story is very small feeling, which is unfortunate.  There area total of 6 people who worked on the script, not to mention the original character creators from the comics.  That is a lot of voices to have to juggle in one script, and doesn't even begin to mention all the producers' voices and the directors'.  The product of all these voices is a very marketable, very cliche, very ... watchable film.  The story twists aren't twisty at all, the characters are two-dimensional at best, the pacing is very very segmented, there is even a tie-in Fall Out Boy-sung montage section, the emotional beats are humdrum ...

But then I look back at my wife, who sat next to me at the movies.  And for her, these characters were all real, and enjoyable.  The story, while cliche and been-there-done-that-nothing-new-or-even-different territory, still hit home, and the emotions she felt for these characters, especially Baymax, were very genuine.

Like I said, this isn't a bad movie.  Nowhere near one.  It is a good movie.  It is a good movie, not a great one, that just happens to fail in ways that irk me much MUCH stronger than most viewers, I bet.  This is a film I will own, because I know my kids will enjoy it.  And I will sit down with them, and watch it.  This isn't Guardians of the Galaxy, which was a great superhero team movie that was able to balance humor, action, emotion, character, and be smart and clever in its writing, but it is a good place to start.  This is a hard one to grade.  But I feel good, because I have at least presented an honest critique, and my honest opinion.  And that's what you come here for, at least, every Monday through Friday at 10 AM.  I think.  Ok, now I'm the bad writer.  Let's ... just ... end this ... now.

See ya Monday.


Grade: B+-

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