Tag Archives: Henry Jackman

Big Hero 6

Walt Disney StudiosBig Hero 6

Directed by Don Hall & Chris Williams/Produced by Roy Conli/Screenplay by Jordan Roberts, Dan Gerson, & Robert L. Baird/Music by Henry Jackman/Based on the graphic novel by Steven T. Seagle & Duncan Rouleau

My rating: 5 of 5

Fourteen-year-old Hiro Hamada has a great brain, but he’s not exactly motivated to put it to use . . . until some well-placed encouragement from his brother Tadashi and four of Tadashi’s “nerd friends” inspires him to join them at their college’s robotics program. Hiro seems set on a course for great success when the unthinkable happens: an accidental fire at the school kills his brother Tadashi and destroy’s Hiro’s robotics project as well. Overwhelmed with depression over his brother’s death, Hiro again finds himself completely unmotivated to do anything with his life. That is, until he accidentally activates Baymax, a nurse-robot that his brother had been working on. With Baymax, Hiro discovers that the fire at the school may not have been as accidental as it seemed–and so, Hiro, Baymax, and Tadashi’s four college friends team up to find the truth and bring justice where it’s due. True superhero style.

Big Hero 6 was one movie that I was actually excited to see from the time I first saw the previews, although it didn’t work out for me to see it until it came out on DVD. I wasn’t disappointed when I watched it either. Unlike many of Disney’s movies recently, I felt like this one came together extremely well. The characters were great; you could definitely tell that they were, well, based on stereotypes of sorts (probably because that worked better with their superhero transformations later), but they were also full of personality and individuality. Hiro himself is adorable in a punk sort of way . . . I think the first few minutes of the movie give a very good idea of his general character, but he also is someone who grows a lot during the story. (On that topic, the “hugging and learning” aspect of the story might be a bit much, but I guess we know it’s that kind of story going in to it.) Not that she shows up particularly much, but I really think Hiro and Tadashi’s aunt is an awesome character–I wish we saw more of her. I really appreciated the balance that was found in a lot of areas here: the combination of Japanese and American (especially in the architecture–wow), the meld of science and “superhero” tradition. It’s neat that this is based on an actual comic-book series (one I haven’t read, but it sounds interesting) by the same title . . . it sounds like the movie is almost something of an origin story from what I can tell. In any case, the use of science to explain/create the hero capabilities is fun. Also, bonus points for pretty art–I know CG has come incredibly far in just the past few years, and that’s not really even what I’m talking about–more like, the creators intentionally made pretty stuff (cloud patterns, incredible architecture, cool carp-kite wind machines, etc.) even when it wasn’t necessary. I appreciate that. So yeah, I would definitely recommend Big Hero 6 to anyone, say, elementary school and up who enjoys a solid, fun action movie with, yes, some hugging and learning mixed in.

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Wreck-It Ralph

Walt Disney Studios

Director: Rich Moore/Executive Producer: John Lasseter/Producer: Clark Spencer/Screenplay: Phil Johnston & Jennifer Lee/Story: Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, & Jim Reardon/Music: Henry Jackman

After 30 years of wrecking the same building all day, every day–only to have Fix-It Felix, Jr.,  repair it with his magic hammer and be the hero, Wreck-It Ralph is tired of being the bad guy. In an effort to prove his worth, he sneaks from his own game into the new arcade game, Hero’s Duty, where he manages to grab a hero’s medal–leaving no end of chaos in his wake as he manages to do what he does best: wreck things. Part of that chaos involves rocketing himself in an escape pod right out of Hero’s Duty and into a saccharine sweet racing game, Sugar Rush . . . along with a nasty little hitch-hiking virus insect. While in Sugar Rush, Ralph encounters a rather bratty little girl by the name of Vanellope. Surprisingly, Vanellope can relate to Ralph’s outcast feelings, and the two become friends of an odd sort. But when the candy hits the road, will Ralph be able to put his own interests aside, or will he be willing to sacrifice her dreams in order to be recognized.

I enjoyed Wreck-It Ralph, probably more than most Disney movies I’ve seen recently (Disney usually isn’t my favorite; sorry). It has an almost Pixar flavor, but the feel is just slightly different. In particular, I think the characters have a slightly more . . . maybe gritty. . . feel? I definitely enjoyed the characterizations, and not only of the main characters–there was a lot of personality and individuality in this movie. Another plus for me was that–since this is a video-game movie of sorts–there are a ton of references to games. I probably missed a lot of them, but those I did recognize certainly added to the movie. On the flip side, if you don’t game at all and aren’t familiar with video games, you’re going to miss a lot if you watch this–it’s still a fun movie, but definitely not as fully appreciable. On the complicated side, the plot challenges the traditional oversimplifications of “good” and “bad” as character absolutes, while still providing a clear-cut “bad guy” in the end. I don’t think the story brings in inappropriate moral uncertainties, but it might be a good jumping-off point for a discussion if you’re watching this with younger children. Overall, I’d say that Wreck-It Ralph was a good movie; I definitely enjoyed it, and I think others (particularly gamers) will likely enjoy it as well.

Note: On a musical note, it was fun to hear some of my favorite bands–Owl City and AKB48–playing for the credits!

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