Tired of Frozen yet? It's been over a year and Frozen is still at the forefront of many children's thoughts, much to the chagrin of their parents. Big Hero 6 has been out since the fall, and though it has made quite a bit of money, it's nothing compared to the juggernaut that is Frozen. I don't really hear too much about kids really loving Big Hero 6, just people that are a bit older. It is arguably a movie for an older audience, and it may skew towards the male persuasion just because of the whole superhero thing, but honestly anyone should enjoy this movie, just like anyone should be able to enjoy a princess movie. I also think it's easier for kids to latch onto movies when they have songs. Almost every movie from my childhood was a musical, and I remember those ones way more than the ones without. The best example I can give is Rescuers Down Under. A great film and I remember enjoying it fine when I was a kid, but it wasn't nearly as memorable as Aladdin or The Lion King. Maybe it was the story, or maybe it was the songs. Anyway, Big Hero 6 seems to be a part of Disney's new trend of having a princess movie followed by a non-musical movie aimed more towards a wider audience. Big Hero 6 is also Disney's first use of a Marvel property for their animated films. It was a pretty big gamble to take a non-mainstream comic and adapt it into a kid's film. Luckily for Disney, the gamble paid off.
Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, and it took them very little time to start looking for a Marvel property to adapt. CEO Bob Iger encouraged the Walt Disney company's divisions to look into a more obscure title, so they'd be able to come up with their own story. Don Hall, who at the time was co-directing Winnie the Pooh, looked through a bunch of Marvel titles and came upon Big Hero 6. He liked the name and had never heard of it before, so he pitched it to John Lasseter, who in turn loved the idea. Big Hero 6 started production in 2012 and it was decided that it would be produced solely by Disney. Disney did get some consultation from Marvel, but didn't let them butt in too much. Disney also made it a point that Big Hero 6 would not be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in a universe of its own. Sorry, you won't see Baymax showing up in the next Avengers film. Baymax would differ greatly from his character in the comics, with a much more friendlier exterior than a standard robot. Disney wanted a robot that was unlike anything anyone had seen, so they decided to visit Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute. There they met a group working on a soft robot, one that would use inflatable vinyl. These robots would be used in the healthcare field, which further inspired the Disney team. Baymax would become a huggable robot that was meant to be a nurse more than anything. Baymax's face design was inspired by a copper suzu bell that Don Hall noticed while at a Shinto shrine. The design worked in giving Baymax a more minimalist look.
Big Hero 6 takes place in the fictional mash-up city of San Fransokyo. The design team wanted to give the city an equal parts Eastern world and Western world feel. Parts are unmistakably San Francisco, but with a Japanese touch to it. Some areas of downtown look more Eastern than Western, with a very heavy Blade Runner feel to it all. The explanation of the city was that after the earthquake of 1906, San Francisco was rebuilt by largely Japanese immigrants, who made the city in a way to better withstand earthquakes in the future. With the obvious blending of cultures, the city decided to rename itself in honor of its inhabitants that helped rebuild it. Disney created a whole new program for animating this film. The system, called Hyperion, rendered all the details of the animation and made new illumination possible, such as light shining through translucent objects. Hyperion was a complex program to run, and needed its own super computing cluster just to handle the processing demands.
Big Hero 6 premiered on October 23rd, 2014 at the Tokyo International Film Festival, with its theatrical release in the U.S. on November 7th. The version of the movie we have seen is just a bit different from the version released in South Korea. Since South Korea and Japan aren't exactly friendly right now, all Japanese has been removed from signs in the movie and replaced with English, while names where changed to make them Korean instead of Japanese. Big Hero 6, at the time of this article, has made over $220 million in the U.S., and over $350 million in other territories. Big Hero 6 is the third highest Disney animated film behind Frozen, and The Lion King. Big Hero 6 has been critically lauded, with an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, with many focusing on the beautiful animation and depth of characters. Big Hero 6 has also won Best Animated Picture at The Academy Awards this year, and was nominated for the same honor for the Annie's, Golden Globes, and BAFTA's.
While it may not be as popular as Frozen, Big Hero 6 is, in my opinion, a better film, and just plain fun. Even if you don't like superhero movies, you're sure to enjoy this movie, which deals much more with real themes of life than typical superhero fare.