Over the last several years, animation at Disney has been considerably ramped up. When Toy Story came out in 1995 — which was produced by Pixar, and released by Disney — it was an instant hit. And the gains in digital animation made since then, which can be seen in recent movies like Tangled and Frozen, have been astronomical. Audiences are now accustomed to highly detailed backgrounds and beautifully animated characters in 3D animation. Big Hero 6 is one of Disney’s big new movies appearing on the horizon, and so far, the art promises to be some of the best yet.
Big Hero 6 is set in a future city called San Fransokyo. This summer, journalists were invited to visit the Disney Animation Studios and learn more about the development of the film. Disney writer Mike Rougeau was given a preview of some of the magic, and according to him, the available footage and work-in-progress shown to journalists show great promise. Big Hero 6 has been under development since 2009, when Disney bought Marvel. Big Hero 6 was a somewhat obscure comic that director Don Hall uncovered among Marvel’s properties, and thought would work well to develop into a film franchise. Although Disney executives say that the current movie takes big leaps from the source materials, the comic’s creators have said that the reinterpretation is fine.
While director Don Hall claims that not even a “single fan” has yet emerged to complain about the reinterpretation of the original, internet forums tell a different story, with debate over whether the film will be successful alive and well.
The movie, in itself, will feature a crew of college-aged scientists that have, through one way or another, turned into superheroes. Hiro, the main character of the film, tasks himself with developing armor for all the superheroes.
As with many Disney movies, the animation team has conducted an intense amount of research. In order to effectively design many of the special effects, the team learned about robotics, electro-magnetism, and cutting-edge chemistry — for a final effect that is visually stunning, especially when one realizes all the work that went into the effect. Michael Kaschalk, the head of effects, has explained how they crafted entirely new technologies for work on the movie, in order to ensure that it ends up a unique animation experience. The animation team, for example, invented a new crowd-animation program called “Denizen” that helps them animate large groups of people more realistically.
Will Big Hero 6 live up to the excitement its trailers and released information have generated? There’s no telling for sure. Given the recent success of other Disney animated films like Frozen, Monsters University, and Wreck it Ralph, though, it’s likely that this movie will be a success, and a good move for Disney’s foray into covering Marvel material.