Big Hero 6 : Baymax Returns Review
This week saw the return of Hiro, Baymax, Honey Lemon, GoGo Tomago, Wasabi and Fred in a whole new medium : television. Hot off from the successful 2014 Disney animated film of the same name based on a obscure Marvel Comics property, this pilot for the upcoming animated series Big Hero 6 The Series sets stones in place for a big adventure but a few of them get lost along the way unfortunately.
The pilot starts off with Hiro (Ryan Potter) getting used to returning at the San Fransokyo Insitute of Technology, having decided to return to his classes after avenging the death of his brother Tadashi by arresting Professor Callaghan. Hiro decides to spend his free time rebuilding his brother’s greatest creation, the medical robot Baymax (Scott Adsit). But along the way, the exo-skeleton of his friend malfunctions and makes its way throughout town right into the hands of returning villian Yama (Fred Tatasciore) who decides to create his own knock-offs of Baymax to commit various crimes in town, the Institute becomes one of his targets.
The side plot of the pilot is the return of the Big Hero 6 team itself. While most of them do not want to continue fighting crime , the annoyance of rich heir and comic book obsessed slacker Fred (Brooks Wheelan replacing TJ Miller) soon brings them back together. The chemistry whiz Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), the spunky GoGo (Jamie Chung) and the scaredy cat Wasabi (Khary Payton replacing Damon Wayans Jr.) reunite and put on their superhero costumes once more to save Hiro from the clutches of Yama numerous times in the pilot.
Going from CG to traditional animation on a television budget is never an easy task. A good example is this year’s Tangled the Series which had to take full 3D characters and transfer them to a style that captures the charm of the characters ditching realistic visuals for a more storybook feel. Big Hero 6 opts to trade its 3D beauty for a more retro style heavily inspired by the Xerox era of the Disney legacy that lasted from 101 Dalmatians to The Rescuers where thick pencil outlines dominated character designs and backgrounds to lower costs. Some people might not like the overall results as some scenes can be rather choppy as the attention is spent on the visual action of the characters rather than detailed backgrounds and vice versa in some cases.
However, where the pilot fails is in the plot itself, it sets out to uncover how Hiro re-built Baymax, a detail which was ignored by the original feature film. I would have wanted an original plot to open the television series which shows us the heroes fighting various new criminals like at the very end of the film. (A scene which is re-created for the final shot of the pilot).
Another detail is in the characterization, while the characters are on point from the film, some have been more irksome to sit through like Fred’s constant references to comic book plots (which is fine in moderate doses) or how he makes some situations worse just for the sake of having a Ron Stopabble stand in for this series. I also wish Honey and GoGo did a little bit more in the pilot than constantly disagree with the other characters.
While not a prefect start, I see some hope for this series to blossom once it premieres in January where it can step up from under the shadows of the original film and stand on its own by exploring more about the characters and environment from the original film like Tangled has.
RATING 7.5 out of 10