With robotics, nerds can do anything

Header image for the article With robotics, nerds can do anything Credit: DISNEY
Hiro and Baymax make a good team - much like Hiccup and Toothless - but Big Hero 6 is still worth checking out.

Welcome to San Fransokyo, a city of the future, where Japan and America have come together to form a great centre of multiculturalism, provided there are only two possible culture options. Reminiscent of the world of Joss Whedon’s Firefly, the city appears to be a perfected blend, and here, kid genius Hiro Hamada lives with his brother Tadashi and Aunt Cass.

This being Disney, naturally, the children are orphans.

Big Hero 6 begins simply enough with the newest version of Wesley Crusher having graduated high school before turning 14 and becoming a useless layabout who participates in illegal robot fighting gambling rings, as one does. It’s not until after Todashi leads Hiro to his grad school, introducing him to some surprisingly happy PhD students and the softest robot Baymax that the plot begins to really take off.

This being a movie created by both Marvel and Disney, Big Hero 6 takes an extremely depressing turn soon after.

For those who are fans of Marvel and may have read the comic books prior to watching the movie, there is some good and some bad. Big Hero 6 is only loosely based on the books, so don’t expect to see every one of your favourite characters or villains, the fact that a couple of the characters are tied up by 20th Century Fox being a big reason for the missing people. However, there are a ton of Easter eggs for the observant fan, so those hoping to see a Marvel influence will be far from disappointed.

Sadly, there are no random song numbers in this film, but the animation is – of course – incredibly well done, and all the voice acting is flawless, as one expects from Disney. The villain Yokai, which translates from Japanese to ghost or phantom, is made especially terrifying with the excellent combination of the Kabuki mask, silence and an endless supply of pointy black objects. This is perfectly juxtaposed with Baymax, the adorable, much-talking, white marshmallow of kindness.

That said, there are some problems with originality, as the relationship between Hiro and Baymax feels very similar to that of Toothless and Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon, and the character designs is similar to the original Power Rangers – complete with Pink and Yellow as designated “girl colours.”

This is far from the first time Disney/Pixar and DreamWorks have released similar films – see Antz and A Bug’s Life for the first of many examples – and the sense of the familiar this creates may actually be to the benefit, as the twists are a bit more shocking and have a greater emotional impact.

With a familiar feeling and so many nods to both Disney and Marvel fans, Big Hero 6 is a real testament to the amazing things the (only slightly terrifying) corporation can bring to the table, as well as to the fact that you really can do anything with a 3D printer. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a TV show of the same quality as Dragons: Riders of Berk come out of the film’s success, along with many straight-to-Netflix sequels.