BIG HERO 6

Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams

Cast: Ryan Potter, Scott Adist

Running Time: 102 minutes

Certificate: PG

Synopsis: The special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.

Kids’ films are curiously difficult to get right. The best examples take their audience seriously, and often offer rounded appeal – meaning parents can enjoy the experience too. Take, for instance, THE LEGO MOVIE: fun for all the family, exploring deeper themes while providing plenty of laughs and a supremely enjoyable ride. Sadly, BIG HERO 6 isn’t particularly fun even for the kids.

Meshing a predictable underlying narrative with a handful of ridiculous plot twists and set pieces, Disney’s latest Marvel adap ultimately ends up feeling patronising, even toward its youngest demographics. It’s set in the fictional city of San Fransokyo (which feels an awful lot like an excuse to give cool Japanese names to white people), features a bunch of kids mastering superweapons seemingly overnight, and ends with a climactic showdown of such disastrously over-the-top proportions that even MAN OF STEEL fans would find it a stretch.

It’s not all bad: the inflatable android around which the film is anchored is undoubtedly BIG HERO 6’s strongest point, at least for the first two thirds. Baymax (voiced by Scott Adsit) is the creation of inventor Tadashi, older brother of the film’s main character, boy genius Hiro. Inspired by his sibling’s work, Hiro applies to the same university, inventing his own game-changing device to win a scholarship. But on the night of his presentation, tragedy strikes, and he’s left to pick up the pieces with Baymax.

Fans of BIG HERO 6 may attest to its emotional core, but it’s so heavily dealt with that it loses much of its impact. The saving grace is Baymax, who delivers most of the film’s comedic moments as the health specialist that’s only trying to help. (Yes, even Baymax’s character brings very little that’s fresh to the table.)

Alas, even the android succumbs to the constant ‘up-the-ante’ thesis of BIG HERO 6, as Hiro essentially turns him into an armoured fighting robot, in order to combat the film’s mysterious masked villain. I’m sure there’s a message about violence in there somewhere, but it’s lost among a climax involving the potential massacre of hundreds of innocent civilians in what is essentially a weak revenge plot.

Anyway, Hiro is aided in his efforts by a quartet of under-developed and clichéd supporting characters, none of whom are memorable in any way – which just about sums up BIG HERO 6. Still, if you can overlook the predictable narrative, ridiculous plot devices, complete dearth of characterisation, ample amounts of cringe-worthy dialogue and a patronising tone, you may find something to like (even if it’s only Baymax).

BIG HERO 6 offers nothing for older viewers, pitching itself squarely at the youngest of demographics – which would be fine, had it even anything to offer them past bright colours and loud noises. At best, it’s an easy way for inattentive parents to distract their toddlers for 90 minutes. A mighty accolade indeed…

[usr=2] BIG HERO 6 hits cinemas everywhere today.