"We didn't set out to be superheroes. But sometimes life doesn't go the way you planned. The good thing is, my brother wanted to help a lot of people and that's what we're going to do. Who are we?" They're none other than Big Hero 6 of course. This computer-animated superhero film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 54th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, and is inspired by the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. The film tells the story of a special bond that develops between a young robotics prodigy named Hiro Hamada and his plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech superheroes to combat a masked villain.
The film features the voices of Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Daniel Henney, T. J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans, Jr., Génesis Rodríguez, and Maya Rudolph. The cast gave amazing performances and were the animated equivalent to The Avengers cast. Each having distinctive personalities and yet having a great team atmosphere. But the one character that stood out was Hiro’s inflatable robot buddy, Baymax. In regards to the design of Baymax, director Don Hall mentioned in an interview, "I wanted a robot that we had never seen before and something to be wholly original. That's a tough thing to do, we've got a lot of robots in pop culture, everything from The Terminator to WALL-E to C-3PO on down the line and not to mention Japanese robots, I won't go into that. So I wanted to do something original." Even if they did not yet know how the robot should look like, artist Lisa Keene came up with the idea that it should be a huggable robot. Early on in the development process, Hall and the design team took a research trip to Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, where they met a team of researchers who were pioneering the new field of 'soft robotics' using inflatable vinyl, which ultimately inspired Baymax's inflatable, vinyl, truly huggable design. Hall stated that "I met a researcher who was working on soft robots. ... It was an inflatable vinyl arm and the practical app would be in the health care industry as a nurse or doctor's assistant. He had me at vinyl. This particular researcher went into this long pitch but the minute he showed me that inflatable arm, I knew we had our huggable robot." Hall stated that the technology "will have potential probably in the medical industry in the future, making robots that are very pliable and gentle and not going to hurt people when they pick them up." Hall mentioned that achieving a unique look for the mechanical armor took some time and "just trying to get something that felt like the personality of the character." Co-director Chris Williams stated, "A big part of the design challenge is when he puts on the armor you want to feel that he's a very powerful intimidating presence...at the same time, design-wise he has to relate to the really adorable simple vinyl robot underneath." Baymax's face design was inspired by a copper suzu bell that Hall noticed while at a Shinto shrine.
A sort of Avengers
for the elementary school set, Big Hero 6 is wonderfully animated, briskly paced, yet derivative in the storytelling department. Simon says Big Hero 6 receives: