Disney invited me over to their animation studios not too long ago to get an early look at their upcoming animated feature Big Hero 6. While I was there I got to watch about 20 minutes of footage from the film, and I had the opportunity to speak with the directors Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt), along with several other members of the crew bringing this story to life to the big screen.
The footage I got to see was straight up awesome. This is truly going to be Disney's biggest, most action-packed animated movie to date. I saw a great scene in which the main characters — Hiro and Baymax — aree led to a factory where they find an invention that Hiro developed, called microbots, being mass produced. They're confused about what's going on, and it's in this scene that the villain revealed himself. The villain attacks the two heroes with the microbots, and they end up escaping from the factory. It's a really fun scene, and you get a glimpse of it in the full trailer.
Not only is the movie going to be action-packed, but it has a heartfelt emotional side as well. One scene that they showed us was actually pretty heavy. I really don't want to get into it at this point because it was a pretty big spoiler they showed. It's kind of alluded to in the international trailer, but that trailer doesn't really go into any details of what happened. It happens early on in the film, though, and it kind of throws the whole story into action. It packed quite an emotional punch for everyone that saw it.
I loved everything that they showed us, and it got me even more pumped up for the movie. The stuff they revealed in the trailers has been great, but there's so much to the story. I think Big Hero 6 has the makings of a classic. I even learned a lot more about the movie by talking to the crew of people who are in the process of making it. I've included five things that I learned while talking to these talented individuals that I thought you might find interesting. I also included two new photos from the film for you to check out. The one above features Hiro and Baymax, and the one below features the villain Yokai. I've also included some photos of the press day event.
- Big Hero 6 is inspired by the Marvel comic, but it has completely been changed. The only things they really took from the comic are the names of the characters, and then they basically built everything else from the ground up. So if you're a fan of the comic and you're looking for a direct adaptation of it, that's not going to happen. In all honesty, the movie looks like it going to be more entertaining than the comic, but each is its own thing. Marvel also recently distanced themselves from the comic, and they have no plans to feature the characters of the film in any upcoming comics projects. None of the characters will be featured as guest stars in the comic universe, and there are no plans to reprint any of the earlier stories that inspired the movie.
- This is the largest cast of characters in any Disney animated film. The average Disney animated film has two to three main characters, and three to four secondary characters. Big Hero 6 has 15 main characters. They have six team characters, each one with their own unique style of motion. There is also the super form of each characters as well, again with their own layer of specificity. They have to maintain that all of the time. This is one of the main challenges that they had deal with when developing this movie. In the process they developed 701 background characters for the movie, and they had to provide all the animation for those characters.
- The movie is also the biggest action movie they've ever done, with seven big action sequences throughout the film. They usually only have two or three action scenes. These are also the biggest scale action scenes they've ever done.
- Baymax is a very simple character, and they came up with him when they came across a medical robot during their research trips. The medical robot was made out of vinyl cloth, which is how they came up the the design. Because the design was so simple they wanted to keep the animation style simple as well. As you've seen in the trailer, all he really has is the two eyes. So they had to figure out various ways to portray his emotions, and thoughts with just those eyes, and also by using his body language. For example, a blink from Baymax could mean a million different things depending on the context that you give the audience. This allows for the audience to engage with Baymax unlike any other character. They are allowed to project onto him what they think he's thinking. The movement pattern that they came up with for Baymax was based on penguins. Their faces are very blank, but they get a lot of character out of their essential movements. It has the simplicity for the robotics, but it also has the cuteness factor going for it. It makes the audience more active participants.
- There was almost a rocket cat included in the film, but it didn't end up in the final product. Even though it would have been a great character, and everyone loved it, the cat just didn't really fit in with the story.
Here's the synopsis:
With all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Big Hero 6 is an action-packed 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, neatnik Wasabi, 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 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.
The movie will be released in theaters in 3D on November 7th, 2014.