This is a big weekend for nerds. Not only is Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated, IMAX-sized space adventure Interstellar opening on theater screens of all sizes, Disney is also releasing Big Hero 6, its very first animated film based on a Marvel property since the House of Mouse acquired the House of Ideas in 2009. When the deal went down, I know a lot of fanboys salivated over the prospect of a Pixar-produced Marvel movie, and while this isn’t that, it looks pretty close.
We at the NOC have been stoked for Big Hero 6 for a while now. Not only is it the first animated Disney flick with an Asian American male lead, it’s got one of the most diverse cast of characters (and voice talents) of any Disney movie. It’s also Disney’s first post-Frozen vehicle, and just from looking at the merchandising already available, BH6 looks to be just as big, but more on that later.
While Big Hero 6 is based on a Marvel comic series, the film in question looks to have little in common with its source material. While the names of the characters are the same (mostly), the original comic is steeped in X-Men lore (what with the inclusion of Sunfire and Silver Samuari) and the movie replaces the book’s Japanese setting with a fictional setting that amalgamates San Francisco and Tokyo. The other big change for the film is the racebending of the characters who are all Japanese in the comic.
To be honest, I’m actually okay with making Wasabi African American (voiced by Damon Wayans Jr.) and Honey Lemon Latina (voiced by Génesis Rodríguez). If you’re going to take ostensibly Japanese characters and make them American, at least make them diverse. Besides, it isn’t like they race bent the whole cast and eliminated all the Asians Last Airbender-style because they’ve also made Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter) and Go Go (voiced by Jamie Chung) Asian American, and that’s important to me as well. Mainly because I get to add Hiro and Go Go to my list of Awesome Asian American Action Figures!
I couldn’t help myself. As soon as I saw these in the toy aisle, I had to snatch up 3 3/4-inch Hiro and Go Go (and Baymax, of course). Produced by Bandai, these figures are pretty neat interpretations of their animated counterpart, and they’re surprisingly articulated. both Hiro and Go Go have neck, shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee articulation. Baymax looks like he has bends at the knees, but I haven’t been able to move them.
They’re each a little light in the accessories department, however. Hiro comes with what looks like a mini-Baymax, while Go Go has removable discs for her arms and legs, and Baymax’s wings are removable. It would have been cool to have removable armor as well, but Bandai saved that for a larger 6-inch figure:
Fast-forward to May 2013 when Disney Animation released a surprise teaser trailer for Big Hero 6 featuring the setting of San Fransokyo, a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo. Up to that point, the project had been kept under wraps. What little we heard about Big Hero 6 since then has been limited to scant information released at D23 and rumors.
My daughter has been psyched for this movie ever since the first trailer dropped (plus, she’s totally over Frozen). It’s exciting that it’s finally here. We’ll let you know what we thought of the movie on the other side of the weekend. In the meantime, if you want to check out Big Hero 6 at a theater near you, just get your tickets to Big Hero 6 now on Fandango!