Walt Disney Pictures had an initially rough ride when it came to producing computer-animated feature films of its own. Beaten to the entire concept by Pixar (though they had a distribution deal in place with them), their initial attempts at in-house competitors were not very successful – Dinosaur, Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons were not even in the same league as what Pixar were churning out on a regular basis. Once the deal was signed to have them take over their rivals completely, with the prerequisite that Pixar chief John Lasseter became head of Disney animation, there was a notable upturn in the quality of their product, from the promising likes of Bolt to the more impressive successes of Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph and the juggernaut that was Frozen. Disney have become as much a mark of quality with their computer animation as they had been with their hand-drawn stuff, and the latest example of this is Big Hero 6.

Based on the fairly obscure Marvel superhero comic book, it has a very different tone – skewed for a somewhat younger audience and with some major character liberties that few will be that fussed about. It’s essentially a superhero team origin story from a kids’ perspective, which is obviously something of a saturated market these days, but it has as much visual invention and detailed character work to rise well above its pulpy origins. Most of Disney’s feature films have at least one brilliant piece of design, and the jewel in this film’s crown is Baymax – a robot made out of soft, huggable synthetic who manages to be genuinely original (no mean feat in the crowded world of cinematic automata) and an immediately likeable character. Otherwise, this is loud superhero box-ticking all the way, but with a decent heart and the vivid level of animation we’ve come to expect.

More evidence that Disney are going through another strong creative period8
Pixar's internal influence on Disney's output8
Yet another superhero origin story, in what is now a very crowded field, coupled with a pretty straighforward storyline5
The quality of the animation, especially the character Baymax9
Combining an inventive visual design with an emotive, human heart8
Bechdel Test Passes
  • Features more than one named female character
  • The female characters talk to each other
  • They talk about something other than men
Bechdel Test Failures
  • n/a
8Overall Score

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