So, not wanting to miss out on the whole Let’s Make Movies Out Of Obscure Comics scheme going on in Hollywood, Disney found a group from a 1998 Marvel comic called Big Hero 6, and, instead of closely following the canon and subtext of some potentially deep characters and storylines, took the character names and said, heck with you, we’re writing our own story. So, if you’re a fan of the original comic and are looking forward to a movie about potential superhumans being drafted into a new superhero group with a shape-shifting robot that turns into a dragon, well …. prepare to be disappointed. On the other hand, if you have no knowledge of the original comic, and want to watch a fairly funny and rather sweet Disney movie about 4 extra-intelligent and talented robotics students, 1 goofy hanger-on, and a concept health-care robot who looks like Strong Sad and who takes the Three Laws of Robotics to an extreme that would make Asimov weep, then this flick is for you.
The story itself is simple. Hiro, a talented teenager who enjoys playing illegal robot wars, attempts to get into his older brother’s robotics university. Unfortunately, Hiro’s brother is killed in a deadly fire — which is possibly arson — but Hiro ends up with his brother’s prototype robot, Baymax, which is an inflatable IA nurse and diagnostician. Through a series of events, Hiro and his new friends — his brother’s former classmates — have to re-create themselves into superheroes using their robotic talents to the extreme:
There’s a lot of explosions, anime-style fighting, a plot twist, and the ubiquitous sad/happy ending that I think Disney has a patent on. That’s not to say I didn’t cry at the end, because I love that stuff. It’s a good movie, the kids will like it, and I have to say that even the engineer Hubster enjoyed it, even though he’s no a fan of the sappy stuff. (He prefers the explosions. And zombies. And boobies.)
However, after the movie, the disc suddenly began showing the pre-movie cartoon (yes, after the main feature), which was a darling little short called Feast. It features a little Boston-terrier-type dog named Winston, who is adopted by a single guy, so you know this stuff happens in Winston’s house:
I tell you, this dog has the life: eggs and bacon for breakfast, bowls of popcorn for movie watching, and there’s a great image of the guy and his friends watching a sporting event — they get excited and knock over the food table, and Winston stands at the ready for all those cheese curls and tiny weenies to fly right into his mouth.
Guy gets a girlfriend.
And instead of pizza under the table, Winston is given …. brussels sprouts.
Because girlfriends are like that, yo. But then, girlfriend breaks up with guy. Guy is miserable, and goes back to his food pyramid of nachos, cheese doodles, french fries, and burgers. Winston is of course, ecstatic that his kibble no longer features parsley garnish, but his human is miserable. So what’s a dog to do?
Okay, I’m not going to give it away, but the cartoon has a happy ending. Because it’s Disney. Disney has been making these very sweet and thoughtful shorts lately, like Paperman and Feast that toe the line between cute and sappy and throw in enough silliness to make it fun. They’ve certainly grown since the Eisner years … and I think even Walt’s cryogenically frozen head would be smiling.