Welcome to CGI animated Fransokyo, an invented hybrid city merging iconic San Francisco settings with the neon high rises of Tokyo.
We meet “Hiro” (Ryan Potter – Voice), the younger brother of “Tadashi” (Daniel Henny – Voice). Hiro is more interested in hustling people out of money in robot wars than any serious study. Tadashi meanwhile works at the coolest workplace ever, under the tutelage of robotic legend “Robert Callaghan”(James Cromwell – Voice)
Following an unexpected event, which for this type of film is very well handled, Hiro will need assistance against a colourful villain who uses his own invention against him. He is destined to find help and friendship in the most unlikely of places.
Instead of the usual Marvel “Ironman” lookalike, we meet “Baymax” (Scott Adsit – Voice), a “Nurse Bot” designed to scan humans for medical issues, prescribe remedies and complete care. To make him as non threatening as possible, he looks like a smaller version of Marshmallow man from “Ghostbusters”, minus the sailor suit.
He is uncoordinated, slow and totters around like a baby with a full nappy but is loyal to a fault and is highly receptive to suit and tool upgrades, provided they fit to his somewhat fuller figure.
Of course a team is needed to justify the film’s title. Hiro joins up with his friends to form an eclectic team. “Fred”, “Go-Go”, “Honey lemon” and “Wasabi”, all bringing differing skills and great voice acting to the party.
The story is strong for this type of film, the dialogue remains witty and sharp but not laden with cultural references that date quickly. The animation is state of the art, the faces and characterisations are influenced by Manga style animation, whilst the film is loosely based on an obscure Marvel comic.
Joint directors Williams and Hall have created a film that can be enjoyed on several levels, the kids will love the colours, chases and flying sequences, now de riguer in these films. The after affects of the early sequences are handled sensitively and with due regard to the younger audience.
Meanwhile adults can enjoy the humour aimed over the ankle biters heads. The barely disguised coming home worse for wear sequence and initial report to the police are stand-outs.
What everyone can enjoy is the pay-off in the final act. Rarely has the phrase “I am satisfied with my care” carried such emotional heft.
An excellent movie to be enjoyed by children and those adults with their inner child very much alive.
If you thought Pixar is the only team that can wring a tear by manipulating a few pixels around, you would be wrong