Monday, February 02, 2015

Nerd School

I watched Big Hero 6 late last night after the Super Bowl, and loved it a lot.  The art and story were great, with some great characters, a lot of humor for all ages, they celebrated being nerds and science, and had a lot of pathos and some emotional depth, like no other animation I've seen of late.  Too say too much about it would be giving away too much joy I feel one might derive from watching and experiencing it on your own, so I'll just highlight the basics.

The story is set in the near future in a place known as San Fransokyo--sort of a mixture of a near future of San Francisco and Tokyo.  We meet one of the main characters, Hiro Hamada, at an illegal robot fighting tournament.  From this scene you get that the kid is smart, crafty, and a yes, a average teenager full of crazy energy.  Soon after we meet his older brother, and his Aunt Cass that is his legal guardian.  Soon we meet his older brother, Tadashi, who is the one who has created Baymax.  Baymax (I never could understand his name that clearly and kept thinking they were saying, Betamax), at any rate, Baymax was created by the older brother as a healthcare helper, and looks like a big squishy marshmallow.  He's also a rather loveable creation.  Tadashi knows his younger brother is sort of a slacker and tries to provide a good influence on his life by directing him  to study harder and invites him to his university, where we meet more characters in the film, or the Nerd Squad.  They are a bunch of loveable brainiac misfits, who love science, and have invented all these cool inventions to help benefit mankind.

On the whole, Big Hero 6 is an adventure and mystery tale.  It is one in which it calls upon, Hiro to become the hero, and rise above his normal existence to overcome the odds and grow up some too.  In some ways, Big Hero 6 did remind me a bit of The Incredibles, in that it's a superhero yarn in the end.  But it does surpass that cliche in a lot of ways, and the characters and art that make up that world were always such a marvel to look at that I didn't mind.  All in all I enjoyed it a lot, and will pick up a copy for my own DVD library.

Also this weekend, I watched a short Youtube video, by a young movie reviewer, Chris Stuckmann, who I've come to respect.  I don't always agree with his taste or assessment on all of the films he reviews, but I can respect what he does, his energy and drive, and yes, a lot of time I do like many of the films he reviews.  So at any rate, this past weekend he put up a different type of video about the influence of anime and Toonami, which had influenced his life growing up as a teenager.   I thought it was well edited and made, although I'm not that well versed in anime, and at times I don't feel like I'm that big an anime fan, however, I do like some of it.  Perhaps I'm just not in the right generation it is geared towards, but I do have enough interest to keep trying a few of them.  That said though, whether you are a big anime fan, or a fan of Toonami, or even just a fringe animation fan, you should give the video a watch.  It's pretty good.


At 11:29 AM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

While aware of Big Hero 6, I hadn’t considered watching it. Perhaps I should give it a try. I did like The Incredibles.

It’s often fun to hear how people were influenced by the pop culture of their youth. Thanks for the link to the Stuckman vid.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

I have to admit from the trailer of Big Hero 6 I wasn't very impressed and wasn't going to watch it either, but I'm glad I did as it was a lot of fun. I saw it's out today on DVD. I like to get a copy.

Yes, Stuckmann has some movie reviews on his YT channel. He's pretty good & dedicated to it.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

I was on the fence about "Big Hero 6" too. But you and a couple other people I trust really liked it. Looks like I'll put it back on my list.

Oh man, "Toonami" was a big deal in the late 90s. I had been into anime seriously for a couple years before it debuted, so it was more of a justification for me to see anime on the air in North America, and some really great shows on there to boot. I'll need to check this video out. Thanks for sharing.

At 9:47 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Roman, you'll probably enjoy Big Hero 6. There's a lot of likeable characters in it, and I can see a sequel easily coming from it.

Yeah, I just miss the whole exposure to Toonami. As Chris states on the video, he first got exposed to anime from the SciFi Channel, which is where I started watching more of it. For me, however, they started out with some high caliber anime like Akira, and a few others, so when it rolled around to Dragon Ball Z, I couldn't understand the draw. It seemed a step backwards to me, but I think for the Toonami generation, it was a gateway or entrance point to making anime accessible.


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