Big Hero 6
by: Anthony Zangrillo
As excited fans rushed to their seats, many were delighted to discover that Disney left a generous amount of “free swag” underneath each empty seat. One of my favorite items was a Big Hero 6 Limited Edition Poster. This collector’s item showcased the immense creative talent possessed by the hardworking Disney Animation team. Additionally, Disney placed a limited edition pin and a book preview of the tie-in-novel from the upcoming Tomorrowland film (More on Tomorrowland in a separate article).
Before the panel started, NYCC treated audiences to a mash up of pop culture, video game, and, of course, Disney music. I thought the DJ was a nice touch to making Comic Con attain a party atmosphere, which was sometimes lacking in the past. Then, the official “pump up” host probed the audience for the “true” Disney fanatics that already have the insider scoop on these two interesting films. While this was entertaining, I was thrilled, when Chris Hardwick (Nerdist) came to the stage to begin the panel. First up was BIG HERO 6:
Producer Roy Conli and the directing duo of Don Hall and Chris Williams come out, and share their passion for the project. They specifically mentioned their reverence for the original comic. In fact, Marvel has been very supportive throughout the entire creative process. The creative team wanted to make their own unique world that combined the East and West cultures. The end product is SAN FRAN SOKYO:
Audience seems to have heard this already, and Hardwick pushes for story content. The protagonist is Hiro Yamada, a boy genius-type character. Unfortunately, Yamada has been following the wrong path by using his talents to make money in back-alley robot fights. In hopes to set him on the right path, Hiro is enrolled in a university, striving towards a better life.
Now, it’s time for some new and exclusive footage! Disney had a strict no photos or videos policy, so I will do my best to explain my impression of the scenes. In the first scene, we are finally introduced to the zany scientists, who study at Hiro’s university. They seem to have formed a strong bond throughout their experiments, as they each have nicknames, which match their distinct personality. Disney really knows how to have fun with a college setting (ie: Monsters University). This scene managed to give us quick, yet memorable character introductions, while at the same time keeping the Disney charm we all love.
After the (future) team member footage, three of the voice actors came out: Génesis Rodríguez (Honey Lemon), Jamie Chung (Gogo Tamago), and T.J. Miller (Fred). Chung described Gogo as the Clint Eastwood of group. Gogo doesn’t have the most to say, but when she speaks, it’s dry and sarcastic. The Directors admit that some of the best lines in the movie came from improvisation. T.J. joked with Hardwick about the previous night’s @Midnight appearance. Not surprisingly, T.J. loved improvising, and began to make fun of the directors’ reactions during a normal take. T.J. attributes Disney’s incredible success to their flexible creative process. Disney gives sufficient time to make large changes to the script and dialogue. In closing, T.J. admits that he always wanted to work with both Disney and Marvel, so this was a surreal experience for him.
The panel introduces another clip. Hiro knows something is amiss in the city, but Bayomax’s battery is running low. This scenario leads to a hilarious scene, where Hiro brings a seemingly drunk Bayomax home, without being detected by Hiro’s loving, but clueless aunt. If this is a snippet of what’s to come, the movie effectively uses situation comedy, and should become one of the funniest Disney animated movies. By the way, T.J. made fun of the aunt calling the family cat, “Hairy baby.” Of course that’s what his fiancé calls him, as well.
Ryan Potter (Hiro) and Scott Adsit (Bayomax) appeared on stage. Hardwick asks Scott about playing a drunk robot. Scott joked about not having a ton of personal experience, so would rely on Génesis to help him out. Scott loves comic con, but he admits that he never had the stamina to wait for a panel (Amen!). Scott found it immensely humbling to play such an iconic character, and he is thrilled to be a part of this exciting experience.
The directors introduce another clip! Hiro has now become aware of the masked villain. In order to combat this great evil, Hiro decides to weaponize Bayomax in what can be described as a miniature Stark Labs style basement (cheap, but effective). This scene effectively balances the two competing tones of comedy and action. While the idea of “downloading” karate moves borrows heavily from the Matrix series, I found this scene to resonate more as the beginnings of an awkward, yet loving bond between a boy and his robot protector (ie: Terminator 2).
Final scene involved a really exciting car chase throughout the city. The details of the city were very impressive, and I am becoming more intrigued by this location, the more I hear about it. The directors did a fantastic job in creating realistic dialogue and actions in such a fantastical situation. The fact that one of the scientists, Wasabi, is stopping at red lights and using his signal during a car chase is hysterical, while making viewers think of the fantastical nature of this action movie staple. I found the action scenes to resemble a cross between hyped up Marvel realism and ultra stylistic Matrix-inspired fights. While the villain remains a complete mystery, fans were treated to a small glimpse of his impressive powers. The Kabuki masked terror tried to engulf our heroes by surfing a giant wave of tiny robots. Overall, the 3D-friendly, visual action scenes will surely impress even the most resolute of skeptics.
In a surprising fashion, Bayomax even made a special appearance at the convention. Hardwick and one of the directors got into a tussle, and Hardwick screamed “Ouch!” Bayomax appeared on screen and scans Hardwick. He then began to scan the audience. Bayomax made a joke about a front row guest with a fake hatchet in his head, yet Bayomax thinks it is a real injury. Bayomax’s dry humor is spot-on! Bayomax makes the whole audience say “I am satisfied with my care!!!”
Hardwick reminds everyone that the poster they received was exclusive to NYCC. In the final twist of surprises, Hardwick reveals that some lucky attendees received a wristband for a special screening of Big Hero 6 that will take place later that night tonight.
While I was excited to see how Disney would approach Big Hero 6, I did not expect to be so enamored with every scene that was shown at the panel. I cannot wait for Big Hero 6 to be released, and luckily for all Motion Picture Club members, we should be receiving a screening for the film, later in October. It really appears to be the perfect blend of comedy and action, utilizing a beautiful style of animation. Tomorrowland coverage will be coming shortly.