Review: Disney has another animated winner with ‘Big Hero 6’ |

Review: Disney has another animated winner with ‘Big Hero 6’

Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter, left) and Baymax (voiced by Scott Adsit) in a scene from 'Big Hero 6.'
Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter, right) and Baymax (voiced by Scott Adsit) in a scene from 'Big Hero 6.'

“Big Hero 6” is Walt Disney Animation’s lovely and sometimes-touching attempt to do anime with computer-generated animation. Based on Marvel comic book characters, it’s a story-driven, kid-pleasing mashup of plots, situations and ideas from scads of earlier tales of misfits battling a super villain.

It’s lightly amusing, even though it isn’t about the gags. It’s a potential franchise-starter, even though it rarely feels that cynical. And when it hits its sentimental third-act sweet spot, you will be touched. That rampant display of heart makes this the best message-driven cartoon since “Wall-E.”

In the not-distant future, San Francisco has morphed into San Fransokyo, a pan-Asian megalopolis where young genius Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) wastes his talent building robots for “Bot Fighting,” which he then gambles on. He’s just been convinced to go to college with his brilliant brother Tadashi at the “Nerd University” where all the sharpest minds, led by the legendary Professor Callaghan (James Cromwell), are inventing the future.

Hiro’s foot in the door? Microrobots that clump into whatever their controller needs them to be — structures, transportation, “the only limit is your imagination.”

But Tadashi and Callaghan die in a fire, and the only thing that pulls Hiro out of his grief is his brother’s legacy, a prototype semi-inflatable “personal healthcare attendant” robot named Baymax.

Baymax is a great sight gag — a bloated “walking marshmallow” with a kindly, insistent bedside manner. But he has skills that lead Hiro to conclude his brother was murdered, perhaps by a super villain, and that Baymax can help him find the killer.

The “misfits” who help them are his brother’s inventive classmates — nicknamed Go Go (Jamie Chung), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) and Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.) by the goofball Freddy (T.J. Miller doing his best “Shaggy”).

Yes, most every ingredient does seem created by a marketing committee, from the post-racial cast to the merchandise-friendly aggregation of robots and special-skills humans.

But Baymax is more than just a ginger-footed joke who masters the fist-bump in the most adorable way. He responds to cries of pain. He exists to protect, comfort, diagnose and heal.

The messages are overwhelmingly positive, from “I’m not giving up on you” to “Seatbelts save lives.”

It’s manipulative and overlong, too loud and “Incredibles” action-packed for the very young. But the manipulation errs on the side of mercy, compassion, sacrifice and humanity.

And the tone for “Hero” is actually set by a jewel of a Disney short attached to it. “Feast” is an almost-wordless, verge-of-tears comic look at a dog’s life, from starving on the street to wallowing in his new master’s junk food, to the dietary challenges of dating and marriage. It’s just adorable.

Roger Moore reviews movies for McClatchy News Service.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.