On the heels of the phenomenon that is Frozen, Disney brings us Big Hero 6, the latest Marvel-based offering. Judging from the excitement the film is creating amongst Gen X-ers and Millennials (not to mention the people in my house), Disney is set to have another mega-hit.
Billed as a comedy adventure, it tells the story of 14-year-old prodigy Hiro Hamana and the special bond that develops with the robot, Baymax, on their quest to solve an unsettling mystery. When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro, a student at San Fransokyo Tech, into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his brilliant fellow nerds, turning them into superheroes.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Big Hero 6 is its diversity. Hiro is half Japanese, half white. The remaining characters are a cross-section of daily life, resulting in the most diverse cast ever in a Disney film. There has been a dust-up on social media about a couple of characters looking too white, including Hiro. While it might be a typical social media over-reaction, it does introduce an interesting discussion, including whether we have too narrow of a perception of what “Asian-American” should look like.
Since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney has never been content to sit on its successes, but has constantly looked for innovative ways to bring to life the animator’s vision. They’ve done so again in Big Hero 6, for which an entirely new CGI system was developed. And in a nod to Disney’s storied past, the system was named Hyperion, after the land on Hyperion Avenue upon which Walt Disney built his animation studio.
Each of the last few Disney films, especially since the merger with Pixar Studios, has been better than the last. Big Hero 6 may be the best Disney movie yet.