A new trailer was just released for Big Hero 6, and it takes audiences deeper into the upcoming film’s story than we’ve ever gone before. Everything we’ve seen about the film so far has had us wanting more, and this time around it also packs an emotional wallop. Take a look, and then read on for our interview with the film’s co-directors about the warm, soft center at Big Hero 6’s armor-plated core.
If we had to boil it down to a single sentence, we might say that Big Hero 6 is a comedic action-adventure that follows Hiro Hamada, a young science prodigy who teams up with Baymax, an oversized inflatable robot, to save the futuristic city of San Fransokyo. But of course, with any Walt Disney Animated Classic, there’s much more to the story than what you can fit into a single sentence, clip, or trailer–even a really good one. While it brings the action and excitement, Big Hero 6 is definitely no slouch in the heart department, offering up a story about family, friendship, strength and optimism in a way that helps it stand toe-to-toe with even the best Disney films, including last year’s blockbuster, Frozen.
In a recent chat with co-directors Don Hall and Chris Williams, we focused not on the far-out sci-fi designs of the super heroes and villains who populate the frames of Big Hero 6 (don’t worry, that coverage is coming, too!), but on the very touching story that makes this film stand above other animated fare.
“We always knew that the movie would have a strong action element to it, because it’s based on a comic book,” Don told us. “Really, the core is the emotional story of this fourteen-year-old kid who loses his older brother and gains a surrogate big brother in Baymax; that was always the movie’s real core idea. It evolved from there to be more specifically about how when one loses somebody, the person really isn’t gone; they live on through memories, and the choices you make and the things you do because of them. That idea of living on through somebody became a really prevalent thematic idea.” Previously, Don worked as a part of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ story department since Tarzan, and sat in the director’s chair for 2011’s Winnie the Pooh feature film.
“Part of our responsibility, in bringing the Disney legacy forward, is creating a timeless story,” added Chris, whose roots are also in the story team, which he joined in 1998 for Mulan. “People can put on Dumbo now, or Pinocchio, Bambi, or Snow White, and they’re still great, and they still speak to people. And so we have to make movies that are really entertaining and funny, action-packed–all that stuff–but if there isn’t something more under the hood, something more substantial, then they won’t have that timeless quality and they’ll fade away.”
“It’s funny,” commented Don, “as films have evolved it feels like they’ve gotten more niche-driven. And then I look at what we do [at Walt Disney Animation Studios], and our movies are character-driven, they have a lot of action, they have a lot of comedy, and they have a lot of heart. It feels like so often in modern filmmaking, that you only have one or two of those things, but our job is to have all of those things, because that’s what a really great movie is.”