Sunday, November 23, 2014

Welcome to Nerd School.

I'm hooked on drugs. All of them.

I got my girlfriend pregnant. It's going to be a boy. And two girls.

Or worse, I'm going to go to a small, liberal arts college. Just like you did. And I'm going to major in Communications.

There are a lot of things I hope my son never says, but possibly even more troubling, is this one phrase he keeps repeating. In his tiny, five year-old voice, my son Matthew (on more than one occasion) has said the following phrase out loud:

Dad. I don't like watching movies. 

Whose kid is this?

Where the Turtles [review] failed miserably, and even Rocket and Groot [review] couldn't swing it, Hiro and Baymax finally triumphed. After months away, I finally, finally!, convinced my son to come to the movies with me. And while just having him next to me was the true victory, Disney's latest just so happens to be an excellent film.

Big Hero 6, from directors Don Hall and Chris Williams, may not sit at the top of the studios all-time list, but leaving the theater that day? Well, I might have had it pretty high up there. A surprisingly touching testament to science and family (not necessarily in that order), it's safe to say that this one has something for everyone. In fact, I would love to see it again. Now.

Set in the breath-taking city of San Fransokyo, Big Hero 6 is the story of Hiro Hamada, an incredibly bright kid who spends his time designing robots to battle in back-alley battles. He's good, and being that he's so young - it's an easy hustle. But after narrowly escaping arrest one night (with the help of his older brother), it's time young Hiro actually applies his skills to something more productive. Tadashi, the aforementioned sibling, takes him to the robotics lab he works in, and after meeting a slew of people just like him, Hiro's hooked.

I wish I could say that it ends there and everyone lives happily ever after, but shocking no one - that's not the case. After a horrible family tragedy, Hiro gives up his short lived dream and resigns himself to staring at the ceiling and not eating. But then one day, something mysterious happens and Hiro is forced into getting out of bed and moving on.

What happens next is very typical of the better animated movies these days, as a valuable message is wrapped up in dazzling images and great characters. For me, Big Hero 6 separates itself with the fact that instead of going for laughs, it stays grounded in a much more personal story. That's not to say it's humorless - far from it, the film simply has smart characters making tough choices which allows it to resonate much more than I expected.

Encapsulating that wonderful mixture of head, heart and laughs would be Baymax, the giant puffy white thing from the previews. He is essentially an automated health-care provider, but instead of being soulless and awful, he's sweet and caring. While Hiro's plight is the heart of the film, Baymax is certainly the soul. I thought Wall-E was the best robot that Disney ever turned out, but the big guy just may have him beat.

Beating no one, ever, are the Yays and Boos. These two haven't been all that busy in the past few months, but with Thanksgiving break around the corner, that may change somewhat.

Seriously. I want that dog for Christmas.
  • Feast. If there has ever been a more adorable short film ever made, I don't think I could handle it. Big Hero 6 hadn't even started and I was already good for the next two hours. Shoot, maybe even two days. Just give it the Oscar now.
  • That initial robot battle was sweet. That little thing was mean, no?
  • The Nerd Lab is incredible. Everyone in it is so cool and inspiring. Even Fred, oddly enough. And I feel like I should hate Fred, too....hmm.
  • The microbot presentation was very well-conceived. I should have known I was being suckered into something, as I was feeling very happy for Hiro and Tadashi for a minute. 
  • I already mentioned it, but I'll happily repeat myself: San Fransokyo is beautifully designed and realized. The scenes soaring above it are incredible, but it's amazing at street-level, too.
  • Baymax's voice! I think I laughed every single time he said Oh no. And his post-fist bump noise? It killed me.
  • That car chase was incredible. Seeing Nightcrawler before this, I'm convinced the epic car chase is now a requirement of all theatrical releases. Please don't tell me otherwise, okay?
  • The other guys! No, not Ferrell and Wahlberg, but the other members of Hiro's squad. Honey Lemon and Wasabi were pretty cool, but I think GoGo was my favorite.  
  • Maybe it's just me, but I will forever love a movie that celebrates being smart. I know, I know. This blog is the dumbest thing ever, but I still value intelligence, oddly enough.
  • And finally, the ending. It was just prefect. Damn Disney trickeration. It had me for a second. A very sad second, at that.
  • Back-alley hustling? C'mon, Disney. What about the children?
  • When it comes to kids' movies, I think I've developed my own arch enemy. It's me versus the dynamic duo of Dead Parents. Can't they just be on vacation or something?
  • Tadashi. Stop helping people, man.
  • My goodness, that goodbye in the portal thing? Damn near broke my heart. I had to keep it together. My son? He was just fine. Jokes on him, though. A little thing called DNA, you know?
  • Kabuki Mask Guy? Um, he's sort of...well...terrifying.
  • Was that Billy Bush? Yes. Yes it was.
  • And finally, my son. Not like, him, but the fact that he kept telling me what was going to happen next. He spends so much time online, I think he pretty much had the whole story mapped out in his head. Wait...this Boo is for me, isn't it? Damn fully-engaging iPads.
So, before the movie started, I took special note of the previews to gauge his interest in you know, ever going again. He was about 50/50, which I'll certainly take. Yesterday, we saw an advertisement for the Penguins of Madagascar and I gave him the what do you think look. His response? I don't think I want to see that. I continue staring at him. Then he says something about the movie, that let's me know he is, despite 'not liking movies', my son:

How long is it?


  1. My son is not particularly into movies. Or books. I don't think he is really my child. He was dropped off by aliens who implanted memories of pregnancy and childbirth in my vulnerable brain.

    1. Not gonna lie...that made me laugh out loud. My son is definitely mine...but I'm still not ruling out alien involvement.

  2. Ironically I just saw a trailer for this movie, and all I could think of was how much the CGI looked like it was made by a five year old, its nice to know there's a decent story to it though, thought about giving it a shot when it comes to the second-run theater but my nine year old has zero interest in seeing it, actually her exact response was "That looks stupid, Dad" and I'd feel a little uncomfortable going to see a Disney movie alone.

    1. I'm not sure what preview you saw (I really can't remember any of them other than the one were Baymax is holding a cat), but trust me, this movie is really good. I'd be shocked if any kid under the age of 13 wouldn't leave the theater psyched about it.

      And as for seeing it alone...c'mon, Mike. I saw Toy Story 3 alone, and almost cried like a small girl. You've got nothing to worry about.

  3. The trailer has attracted me with some, seriously, fresh moments. When it came to the full movie, it turned out that Big Hero 6 still saves more of the moments. Seriously, it's bashing out!

    1. It was soooooo good. I feel like it's not getting enough credit, you know?

  4. This was my son's first superhero movie (hehe, he's 16 months) so I was THRILLED to take him to the theater...and he was mesmerized by this. My favorite (outside of Baymax, obviously) was Go Go too! LOL at the dead parents seriously...and I had a hard time with the whole "Tadashi is here" scene...I tried really hard not to cry in that packed theater filled with father's and sons.

    Feast was amazing!!!

    This will win the Oscar in a walk, I'm pretty confident.

    1. That's awesome that you brought the little guy. I would have loved to bring my daughter (almost 16 mos, oddly enough), but I would have had to taped a picture of Curious George to the theater screen in order to hold her attention. But...soon enough.

      As for the flick, I'm glad you liked it. It seems like it's going to be one of those movies that just happens, as friggin' FROZEN seems to still be the only thing anyone want to talk about. Grrr.

      I can't recall specifically...but there was more than one moment where I had to keep it together. Good thing theaters are dark, you know?


  5. Your son sounds adorable!

    This movie was so much fun, that my sister and I watched it twice (first time she ever wanted to see a movie twice; she usually doesn't care about movies). I loved Baymax's fist bump sound, it still makes me laugh whenever I think about it. Awesome review!

    1. Thank you very much!

      I'm totally with you, it really was sooo much fun. I'm trying to coax my son into The Penguin movie now, but he's so stubborn. Hmm. No idea where he gets that from, and I refuse to even think about it anymore.

      I wish I knew how to type that sound!