Best of 2014 - "Big Hero 6"
So it's really funny. Last year, around this time, on this blog, I was all about Frozen. Actually, I declared it to be the best movie I saw in 2013. And in a way? I still stand by that statement. It was, in all likelihood, the most well-made, emotionally engaging film I watched in that year. And yes, it's still a very, very good movie. But it's also rife with problems and over-exposed to high hell, and honestly, I'm starting to think of other movies from that year more fondly (Pacific Rim and Evil Dead, anyone?)
And now? Here I am, a year later, and saying the unthinkable. Frozen is a disgrace. Frozen is a disgrace to Disney because we now live in a post-Big Hero 6 world. Because unlike a cosmetic patch on Disney's long-standing problems, Big Hero 6 is an exciting, engaging, exhilarating film with a completely atypical plot that subverts everything we expect from the Big D. It puts every effort after, oh, Tarzan, to shame. And since I saw it after all the other movies I put in my Favorite Movies of 2014 list, consider this an amendment. Because I think this is the best I saw this year.
I went in with a healthy dose of skepticism. I mean, let's face it, Go Go's face sort of looks like Elsa's, Disney has a pretty spotty track record of portraying characters of color (Mulan notwithstanding,) it looked like it could be a cynical excuse to sell robot toys, blah, blah, blah. I honestly didn't think I'd think it was that great. Good? Fun? Entertaining? Yeah, sure, why not? But great? Fantastic even? Worthy of taking Best Animated Picture? Nope, not by a long shot. Not compared to The Book of Life anyway.
Well, I was wrong. Yeah. I never admit that. But I was. Big Hero 6 is a fucking amazing movie for several, several reasons, reasons that I would have detailed more in a "real" review had I had the chance to review this when it came out. Alas, I didn't, and now you're stuck with this ramble. Nice, huh? Anyway. Big Hero 6. It's great. If Frozen was the little, perfect child everyone dotes on, then this is its edgy, cool older brother or sister who collects vinyls and drives a Mustang.
Why? Well. Let's make it simple. There's no stupid unnecessary love story. Not everyone is fucking white. The female characters aren't princesses. The core message is like Frozen's, but a thousand times more concise and less cloying. There are no annoying gospel songs from Jewish stereotype rock people. The art direction is prettier and more original. Oh, and there's the line "woman up," spoken to the main character, Hiro. Yes. "Woman up." Amazing.
Look, I could go on and on, but Big Hero 6 is just one of those rare, one of a kind movies where everything works. It'll make you laugh, cry, get nervous, get excited, and become awestruck, sometimes all at once. Much like my personal favorite Renaissance film, Tarzan, it will probably never be as well known as some of the more "elegant," "prettier," "family-friendly" offerings that the studio has put out. It'll probably be one of those "black sheep" Disney movies, and you know what? I'm okay with that. Those are the best kind, to me. Better than fucking Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast or whatever.
The point is? Big Hero 6 is an amazing movie that deserves all kinds of praise and awards that it might not get. It combines Disney whimsy and Marvel thrills to make for a delicious gumbo of Japanese pop culture references and American superhero sensibilities. Basically, it's the racially diverse Avengers with actual personalities that has more than one female character. And that's pretty great. It's still out, right now, as I write this, you know. So go see it. Doctor's orders.