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Big Hero 6 (3D)


Stars: Voices: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Daniel Henney, Alan Tudyk, James Cromwell, Maya Rudolph, Genesis Rodriguez, T J Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr, Katie Lowes

Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams

Probably the ultimate in city-crushing cartoons, this animated feature from the Disney stable could have sprung straight from the pages of a comic-book. Its setting is the city of San Fransokyo in futuristic Japan, where 14-year-old Hero Harada (Potter) invents tiny killer 'bots that win him huge sums of money in backstreets battles.

Assisting him to escape the vengeance of big-time losers and their hoodlums is his older brother Tadashi (Henney). Fired by a desire to join Tadashi at the local scientific college, a nerds' paradise, Hero invents for his entrance test a mini-bot that can cluster in its millions and assemble itself into any shape.

Callaghan (Cromwell), the college chief, offers Hero a place on the spot, although mega-industrialist Krei (Tudyk) also wants the invention. Though Hero chooses Callaghan, the latter is destroyed in a massive explosion, which also claims the life of Tadashi, who makes a futile attempt at rescue.

At home, Hero is consoled by a Mr Blobby-like white plastic robot, Baymax, invented by Tadashi, and by four loyal friends. But, to catch a mysterious man in a mask who now controls the entire minibot population, Hero must transform himself and his friends into super-heroes, with powers to match.

The heart of the film, of course, is Baymax. Kids will laugh at his clumsy efforts to manoeuvre himself through small spaces, and his drunken behaviour when punctures leave him somewhat deflated and giddy. He's less interesting when Hero transforms him into a super-gladiator, although it's hard to see the probable sequel without him, especially as the action is so megascaled and surreal that it fails to engender any genuine excitement; ironically it's the robot who provides the film with what little warmth and humanity it has.

Perhaps in today's action-mad cinema, though, this is the cartoon we deserve.

Showing with Feast (U). A stray dog with an insatiable appetite is adopted by a bearded passer-by, who feeds him everything from egg to pizza...until he gets an eco-conscious girlfriend. A zippy, enjoyable little five-minute trifle.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Technicolor.
102 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 27 Jan 2015