Another Duet for you guys today—although I have to admit that I feel kind of guilty about making mini reviews out of the two of these because they’re both great. They deserve solos, not just a duet! So forgive me for cutting corners. There’s just too much stuff out right now…which is basically the best problem ever. 🙂 Anyway, let’s sing a duet!
Big Hero 6
Synopsis: “The special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- The vibrant animation. Filled with inventive superpowers and gadgets, a few epic battles/chases, and some nice views of the Japafornian (or Californese?) city of “San Fransokyo,” Big Hero 6 is every bit as impressive as you’d expect a Disney/Marvel collaboration to be.
- The touching, funny story. Of course, that’s usually to be expected from Disney, but some of the feels in this one are almost UP level (see me gush about that here), and there are undoubtedly some hilarious moments—most of them involving…
- BAYMAX. Oh my gosh. This guy is easily one of the most lovable robots to ever grace the big screen. He’s just this big, squishy, hilarious sweetheart who is there for our hero, Hiro (see what I did there), during a tough time in his angsty teenage life. Voiced perfectly by Scott Adsit, Baymax steals the show with a ridiculous number of endearing moments, including an attempt at a fist bump explosion that you will never, ever forget.
The Low Notes:
- I’m getting a little tired of Disney putting its young heroes through the ringer. I feel like I’m not ruining anything by telling you that Hiro’s (Ryan Potter) parents are dead, and he suffers various other tragedies throughout the film. It adds emotional depth to the film, sure, but I can’t help wondering what the heck Disney has against whole, happy families. Surely every kid’s backstory doesn’t have to be painfully depressing to be interesting…right?
- It follows a pretty familiar plotline. Boy is a nerdy loner. Boy meets adorable life-changing friend. Boy makes more friends. Boy saves the world. Wait, is this Big Hero 6 or How to Train Your Dragon (which I freak out about here)? It’s still a fun story, but there are definitely moments of “been there, done that.”
- If you’re sick of superhero movies, you might not have much fun with this. After all, superheroes have taken over our movie theaters and are well on the way to ruling our televisions, too. Don’t get me wrong—I still love ‘em, but the word “oversaturated” still comes to mind.
The Staccato Version: I wasn’t sure what to think when I started seeing trailers for Big Hero 6, but it’s absolutely everything you could hope for from a feel-good Disney movie. It’s as hilarious and heartfelt for kids as it is for grown-ups. Does it tread familiar territory? Perhaps. But it treads that territory with Baymax the robot, so I’ll give it some leeway.
My Grade: A-
Synopsis: “A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in an attempt to find a potentially habitable planet that will sustain humanity.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- The extremely cool visuals—and I’m not just talking about the space stuff. Yes, the space stuff is crisp and clear and all spacey and awesome (much like last year’s Gravity), but the sights on good ol’ Earth don’t disappoint either. Set in a pretty grim future, Interstellar shows our planet as one giant Dust Bowl (Dust Sphere?) complete with devastating dust storms. The film may be set in the future, but it gives the story a really neat retro vibe.
- You can’t say the Nolan brothers (writer/director Christopher and writer Jonathan, respectively) don’t know how to tell a story. This kind of reminded me of Inception (see my write up here) in that it brings all of these people and pieces together in ways that you don’t expect. It’s an impressive mishmash of space epic and family drama that somehow manages to work—and work well, too.
- The all-star cast. Matthew McConaughey continues his streak of award-worthy performances with a great turn as leading man Cooper, an intelligent ex-engineer forced into farming out of necessity. He’s a relatable guy who understands the importance of his mission, but he’s heartbroken by what he has to leave behind. McConaughey undoubtedly carries the film, but when you’re backed up by a cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, and Michael Caine (plus another heavy hitter who pops up about halfway through), you’re in good hands. Also, shoutout to Bill Irwin, who plays delightfully funny TARS the robot. He’s a highlight of this film. Where did all of these awesome robots come from?!
The Low Notes:
- The length. At a daunting (and sometimes slow-paced) 2 hours and 49 minutes, Interstellar is not for the fidgety movie-goer. It truly is an epic, which also means it’s a commitment. That didn’t bother me so much, but I’d still advise you not to purchase a ticket unless you’re prepared to settle in for awhile.
- The science will probably go way over your head. The Nolans, bless their hearts, try to explain some of the crazy, impossible stuff that happens in this film, but in the end, it was just easier for me to say, “Okay. So worm holes are just like floo powder? Or apparating?” For those in the dark, I just dropped some Harry Potter on you. In other words, the science in this film seems less science and more magic. You won’t understand it, but it sure will look cool.
- The ending. Things get pretty trippy, and then the very end just seems to happen too quickly and too easily. For fear of spoilers, that’s all I shall say.
The Staccato Version: Interstellar may not be Nolan’s best effort, but, honestly, that speaks volumes about Nolan as a director because this is still a dazzling effort. The film could, perhaps, be accused of overreaching intellectually, but its creative story, stunning visuals, and strong cast all make for a gripping epic. Oh, and TARS. We mustn’t forget TARS. Seriously, this post is all about the awesome robots.
My Grade: A-