So how do you follow Disney "Frozen," the top
grossing animated film of all time? That Academy Award-winning motion picture
which then went on became a pop culture phenomenon? The movie that taught people around
the planet to "Let It Go" ?
The quick answer is: You don't. Borrowing a page from Walt himself (i.e. "You can't top pigs with pigs"), Disney decided go in a very different direction with its "Frozen" follow-up.
Which is why -- much in the same way that Walt Disney
Animation Studios followed "Tangled" with "Wreck-It Ralph"
-- the talented team that brought us Anna, Elsa & Olaf would now like you
to meet Hiro and Baymax, the unlikely crime-fighting team at the center of "Big Hero 6."
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
And that's right, I said "crime-fighting team."
Because this time around, the source material for this WDAS production isn't
some bedtime story from the pen of Hans Christian Andersen. But -- rather --
the Marvel comic-book universe.
To be specific, the inspiration for this new full-length
animated feature comes from a super team that Steven T. Seagle & Duncan
Rouleau first introduced on the pages of "Alpha Flight, Vol. 2" back
in the late 1990s. Though to be clear here, Marvel has given the artists & storymen
working at Disney Animation permission to step away from the original source
material and craft their own take on the "Big Hero 6" universe.
"And what exactly is that take?," you ask. Okay.
Here's the official Disney-approved synopsis of this project:
"Big Hero 6" is a heartfelt comedy adventure about robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada,
who learns to harness his genius-thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi and
their like-minded friends: adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago, clean freak Wasabi
No-Ginger, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. When a devastating turn
of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the
streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to his closest companion-a cutting-edge
robot named Baymax-and transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes
determined to solve the mystery. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same
name, and featuring comic-book style action and all the heart and humor
audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, "Big Hero 6" is directed
by Don Hall ("Winnie the Pooh") and Chris Williams ("Bolt"), and produced by
Roy Conli ("Tangled").
Something tells me that the pasty fellow depicted above isn't " ... a tubby little cubby all stuffed withfluff." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.All rights reserved
For those of you who are now having trouble wrapping your
heads around the idea of an animated feature that combines " ... comic-book
style action (with) all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney
Animation Studios," I want to point out that Chris Williams recently came
on board as "Big Hero 6" 's co-director. And for those of you who
recall "Bolt" 's over-the-top opening sequence (where Penny & her
super-powered pooch battle a battalion of bad guys as they race for the
airport) as well as this 2008 film's genuinely scary climax (where Bolt first
races into an soundstage that's engulfed in flames and then has to lead his
young master to safety), Chris is a guy who really know how to stage a great action
And Don Hall is certainly no slouch when it comes to action scenes. If you look
back over the various WDAS productions that Hall had a hand in writing (i.e.,
1999's "Tarzan," 2003's "Brother Bear" and 2007's "Meet
the Robinsons"), Don clearly knows how to ratchet up the tension. Or --
for that matter -- knows how to release tension at just the right moment with a
So to have these two collaborating on Walt Disney Animation
Studios' first-ever foray into the Marvel comic-book universe makes me very
happy. I'm expecting big things from "Big Hero 6."
Which is why -- tomorrow, May 22nd at 9 a.m.
Pacific Time -- I'll be over at Yahoo Movies checking out the teaser trailer for this
new animated feature. And hopefully right afterwards, you folks will join me back
here in JHM's discussion section so that we can then all share our impression
of the film that Disney chose to follow "Frozen."
UPDATE: And the verdict is ... It's cute. The teaser trailer for "Big Hero 6" manages -- with little or no dialogue -- to quickly introduce to Hiro as well as his robot companion, Baymax. It also quickly gets across the idea that this Walt Disney Animation Studios production will be a comic-book movie with plenty of quirk & humor. Which is a great first impression to get across if you're hoping that your motion picture will eventually become a four quadrant success.
In short, I think that the teaser trailer which premiered on Yahoo Movies earlier did a fine job of introducing Don Hall & Chris Williams' film to the world. Now let's see if the really-for-real "Big Hero 6" trailer (which is supposed to bow sometime in late August / early September) also delivers the goods.