Big Hero 6 (2014)

I finally watched “Big Hero 6” yesterday; I wanted to watch it in theatres but I never managed to find someone to go with me. All my friends had already gone with other friends. Hmph.

The story of BH6 follows fourteen-year old Hiro Hamada, child robotics genius, as he tries to unravel the mystery of his brother’s fiery death. He is accompanied by Baymax, the healthcare robot that his brother made, as well as four friends – Go-Go, Fred, Wasabi, and Honey Lemon. There is a twist at the climax when you find out just who was responsible for the fire that killed Tadashi that made me widen my eyes in surprise, but I was also expecting Tadashi behind the mask so….

Hiro: Tadashi?

Tadashi: Who the hell is Tadashi?

Yes, I may or may not have been influenced by a Tumblr post when I got to the un-masking scene.

Baymax is ADORABLE and I would love to have my own. He is so cute and clueless, and he looks so big and huggable. He and Hiro are obviously the most developed characters when it comes to the story, as they are the protagonists, but I feel as if the movie is a bit too short. I feel as if we didn’t get enough of the others. Although the four supporting characters aren’t just flat or one-dimensional, they are so …. trope-ish. Go-Go is the daredevil adrenaline junkie cool Asian girl. Honey Lemon is the perky, pink-loving girly-girl who is super smart. Fred is the kind of stoner friend, but hey, he’s rich. Wasabi is the nice black guy. There just. Wasn’t enough on them.

I remember reading on Tumblr complaints that Disney changed the races of the characters, as BH6 was originally a team comprising of all Asian characters. Fred, in particular, is of Ainu descent, which is quite important considering the marginalized status that the Ainu face in Japan. In the film, Fred and Honey Lemon are now white, and Wasabi is black. Why did they do that. Although I like the aesthetic of San Fransokyo, I was a bit annoyed by it considering they changed half the race of BH6. I felt like Disney/Marvel were saying that it would be too Asian if BH6 is fully Asian AND it’s set in Tokyo, and that it wouldn’t do well in box office if it was so Asian. I may be reading too much into it, but that is what it started to come across to me.

Story: 6/10
Music: 7/10
Animation: 9.5/10
Enjoyment: 7.5/10

EDIT: So it has been brought to my attention (read: I read it on a Tumblr post) that Honey Lemon is NOT white but is Latina. Oops.

Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2

httyd2

     “I would ride Hiccup’s dragon any time.” – My words upon leaving the theatre.

     I went to watch HTTYD2 today with my cousins at the local theatre. I never liked watching movies in Taiwan due to the fact that people here can’t seem to stay quiet while watching a movie. They like to talk to their neighbours, exclaim their reactions, and in general, I’ve found that watching a movie in a Taiwanese theatre is akin to watching it on a plane in terms of how much you are able to immerse yourself in the film.

     HTTYD2 is a strong and fantastic sequel to the original HTTYD, building upon the worldview and characters, and giving a fresh look into the world of Vikings and dragons. The story of this film centres around Hiccup and Toothless as they try and stop Drago Bludvist, who is a maniac set to create a dragon army in an attempt to take control of both humans and dragons. Viewers are reunited with our lovable Vikings, as well as introduced to Hiccup’s mother Valka (Cate Blanchett), who had been thought as dead five years ago during the first movie.

     Although toted as a sequel, HTTYD2 is strong enough to stand on its own. The plot builds naturally upon the conclusion of the first film, giving the audience a satisfying and real look at how the Viking world changed since they started living with dragons. Characters are shown to have changed and developed since the events of HTTYD, and they continue to grow still. The battle sequences, and scenes of Toothless flying gracefully through the air, are both so breathtakingly animated I could have cried that I hadn’t thought to watch it in 3D. John Powell, one of the biggest composers of animated films, continues to amaze with the orchestral score that builds upon the original HTTYD leitmotif.

     In particular, I was very fond of Valka’s character. Her somewhat bizarre antics and body language when Hiccup first encounters her really made it clear that she had been living outside of human civilization for the past twenty years. I found her to be a fascinating character and can’t wait to see her development for the third movie.

Story: 9.5/10
Music: 10/10
Animation: 10/10
Enjoyment: 9.5/10