Prior to Big Hero 6, the only CG superhero movie was Pixar’s The Incredibles, but you have to wonder – given the apparently insatiable global appetite for superhero adventures – if this film could actually pave the way for more such Disney/Marvel mash-ups… and perhaps even a sequel.
“It’s hard to say,” admits co-director Don Hall, speaking exclusively to SciFiNow. “The superhero thing has only been part of this movie to me. It is a superhero origin story, but the emotional centre of the movie is the relationship between Hiro and Baymax and the idea of this kid dealing with his loss.
“So I don’t know if I could even categorise this as a straight superhero movie. It certainly has the DNA of that, but emotionally the threads go even deeper, so it’s hard to imagine if this is the beginning of a new genre. We take stories one at a time here. It’s all based on what they’re passionate about, so we’ll see what happens.”
Adds co-director Chris Williams, “I think one of the things that’s exciting now is animation is being pretty fearless in taking on any genre. I hope there will be more great animated superhero films – and more great animated fantasies and fairy tales, and rom-coms and horror. I think animation can take on anything and do it well.”
That being said, the more successful CG-animated films like Big Hero 6, Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen are, the less likely it is that studios will continue to create 2D (or ‘traditional’) animated films. It’s a theory that Hall and Williams don’t necessarily want to embrace.
“I hope that’s not the case,” says Williams. “They have their own strengths, and we grew up loving the Walt Disney 2D-animated movies. I think they guided our choices and led Donny and I here. When you look at some of those classic movies, they had a huge influence on the audience and popular culture. I do hope we’ll be seeing more of them in the future.”
As to the widespread appeal of CGI, he continues, “It certainly opens up, from a cinematic standpoint, a lot of avenues in terms of what you can do with camerawork and what you can do with lighting. There’s a lot of cinematic potential that comes with CG animation. It seems to have all the strengths of live action, but animation is still an artwork that’s about caricature and simplifying and finding the specific acting choices. To be able to draw from the best of live action and the best from traditional animation, I think that’s why CGI has become so popular.”
States Hall, “I’m happy to say we’re in a place and time when so many studios are doing such great work, and so many great artists are pouring their talent into computer animation and computer-animated films. I think we’re in the middle of a creative zenith right now. Every movie is trying to live up to such a high bar, and I’m really proud to be working in animation now. When I see the list of ‘Best Animated Feature’ nominees, this list consists of just incredible movies.”
Big Hero 6 is in cinemas on 30 January 2015. For more on the comics that have inspired the movie, pick up our 100 All-Time Greatest Comics bookazine now.