So I finally got around to watching Disney’s latest Oscar-winning effort Big Hero 6. I’ll warn you now, this may contain some spoilers, but I’ll do my best not to give much away about the plot. We don’t do things like that around here.
First and foremost, the film is good. Phew, thank fuck for that! I’m as big a Disney fan as anyone and it’s good to know that after barren years with the likes of Chicken Little (2005) being labelled a “Classic”, and unfortunately it still is, the studio has returned to making innovative, heart-warming, edge-of-the-seat animated movies.
This time around the story is based around a young boy named Hiro in the futuristic made-up city of San Fransokyo. As with most of our Disney heroes, Hiro has endured a difficult life with no parents (it’s a Disney trait) and influenced by his super smart older brother, this clever kid uses his brains to build robots and joins forces with his friends to fight crime! Sort of.
Now the reason I have taken to here to write about it is that I couldn’t help but notice a lot of the ideas in this film are conveniently borrowed from many of the films that I grew up watching! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I can’t stop myself from pointing them out to you. So if you’ve seen it, who else noticed these? Was it just me? Is this a sign that I’ve seen too many films? Or that I’m now just too old to enjoy Disney? Don’t answer that, I’ll just be content being the miserable fucker at the back tutting and rolling my eyes but loving every minute of it:
- Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991): You can’t help but notice that young Hiro’s relationship with Baymax is a cut-out copy of young John Connor’s relationship with the Terminator. A very powerful machine lacking common sense but there’s time to teach him some cool moves and street lingo à la Hasta La Vista, Baby
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): Baymax turns evil with his robot eye’s turning red almost like a red mist coming down to cloud his judgement. We’ve seen this before…
- Up (2009): Further to the dumb thing that talks, Dug the dog is hilarious when distracted by squirrels. This idea lends itself to a few funny moments in this picture too but I’ll let you spot them for yourself
- Blade Runner (1982): The big bright lights of the futuristic city, the nights lit by huge advertisements, with robots part of our everyday life. I nearly selected iRobot as the reference but just kicked myself in the shin and rightly wrote Blade Runner in its place. There’s no shame in Disney taking its inspiration from Philip K. Dick
- Mission: Impossible (1996): Again, I could have picked a few different blockbuster movies for this one, but the shocked (delete where applicable) [train/tram/tube/bus] [driver/conductor/attendant] to our hero’s surprising but impressive entrance onto their vessel has been done many times before. It’s at this moment you always hear the Mums chuckling in the cinema
- Futurama (1999): Generally in that the robot has heart but isn’t human. He does funny things when dealing with human emotions based on ones and zeroes. But I pick this because of the robot battles that get out of hand. In the Season 2 episode “Raging Bender”, we see just how dangerous these can get in an animated world
- The Avengers (2012): And so we are in the era dominated by the Superhero Movie. There is no hiding this is the start of a series of films and they openly discuss how this is the origin story without breaking the fourth wall, but I’m starting to tire of watching people with powers coming together to save the world. Can’t they already be in the midst of doing this when we join their story?
The list could go on, but I’ll finish by elaborating about my concern that this will be a series of films. This is based on the Marvel comic book series of the same name and comes as a result of Disney’s recent takeover, and yet as mentioned above this is being counted as the 54th film from Walt Disney Animation Studios. It’s not a huge concern, the film is enjoyable and I’ll look forward to a sequel, but previously these were based on classic fairy tales from the likes of Hans Christian Anderson, and although these are original stories too, will this be a sign of things to come? There’s an argument that comic books are the classic fairy tales of our time but the fact that this is the result of a commercial agreement makes it feel a little contrived, as opposed to inspired.
Only time will tell.