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Big Hero 6 is a Smart, Sweet Family Must-See

bigHero6539609bbe6af9Prepare to fall deeply in love with a balloon. You’ll want to pounce, hug, bounce, and give many, many fist bumps to Baymax (voiced by Scott Adsit). He’s the heavily-featured robot in commercials and trailers for Big Hero 6, which opens everywhere tomorrow. But saying Baymax is the main character is saying that Olaf is the main man in Frozen. Disney’s latest late-fall wonder of a family film keeps many delightful secrets close to the heart.

You might think you know what Big Hero 6 is about. You don’t, especially if you think the white squishy guy is Big Hero 6, like I did. Of course, if you are a long-time fan of Marvel’s comic, you already know the scoop and I’m interested in hearing what you think after you see the film. When I took my teenagers, we had all kinds of notions regarding what we were about to see and we were happily proved wrong. Here’s a quick synopsis with no spoilers:

A 14-year-old genius named Hiro (Ryan Potter) lives with his aunt and brother in bustling SanFransokyo. Hiro is a bit of an underachiever and uses his skills in iffy ways. Cleverly, his genius older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), inspires Hiro to see the possibilities and channel his brainpower in a better way. Along the way, Hiro gets to know Tadashi’s friends in the robotics lab at his university—and Tadashi’s very special pet project, Baymax. A tragedy occurs. Everyone grapples with loss and the startling realization something evil has been unleashed. What to do about it? Joining forces sounds good. In fact, 6 is a perfect number for a team.

My biggest gripe about Big Hero 6 is that it starts slow. It’s charming, with humor, and great imagination but I found the introductions to the other characters to be a bit cliche. There’s the tough girl, the girly girl, the good-natured but dim dude, the burly guy with a soft heart. Each has a special interest in chemistry, physics, magnetics, and one is well-funded. Thankfully, the film fleshes out the characters with revealing moments, but it takes awhile for it to get up to speed.

This is okay, because the Big Hero 6 story can continue for many, many more films. They won’t have to spend time as much time setting up the action and players as this first installment. Obviously, I predict more! How could I not?

It was awesome once it was fully inflated. Big Hero 6 is gloriously brimming with innovative fun and clever twists I didn’t see coming. As we exited the theater, after staying through the credits (you must must must stay through the credits) we breathlessly discussed scenes and our favorite moments. It reminded us of other favorite movies while still remaining wholly fresh.

Big Hero 6 is like a mix between Ironman, How to Train Your Dragon, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Scooby Doo. It has the humor, action, inventiveness, and camaraderie that brings out the best in a story—and an audience. Disney has done it again. It’s simply a good time with a lot of heart.

GO! Free pro tip: Start working on your Baymax Halloween costumes for next year.

Big Hero 6 opens in theaters on November 7, 2014. It’s rated PG for images of cartoon violence. The main bad guy is pretty creepy. It could be scary for small children, but Baymax is the perfect antidote.

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