Almost exactly a year ago, the Star Wars saga was triumphantly rejuvenated by the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, a film that I really enjoyed and was happy to call “almost certainly the best Star Wars film that anyone could possibly have made in 2015,” despite being somewhat frustrated by the sheer metric tonnage of nostalgia and fan service it contained and just how far it was content to ride on the coattails of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The film’s best assets were its new cast and characters which offered an injection of new life and new hope to the franchise, but The Force Awakens itself was too busy revisiting the past and reheating the same themes and plots of the original trilogy to really get the best out of them. Still, it set things up nicely for Episode VIII assuming that the filmmakers can take advantage of what they now have in their arsenal.
Before that film, however, comes a cinematic intermission in the form of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which clearly positions itself as being a tale from and about the Star Wars universe while not being a part of the main saga itself. Such anthology tales could prove to be the future of the franchise as a whole, with new films headlining Han Solo and Boba Fett already in production, so the importance of Rogue One to the health and wealth of Star Wars can hardly be understated. Read the rest of this entry »
Big Hero 6 is as big-hearted and as irresistibly adorable as its chief character Baymax, a huge inflatable robot whose only goal in life is to provide satisfactory medical healthcare to its owner, teenage genius Hiro Hamada. More used to creating fighting robots to compete in ferocious backstreet battles, Hiro is initially deeply ambivalent about the softly spoken white vinyl marshmallow, which might be able to sooth a bump on the head or a stubbed toe but who can do little to help heal or even understand Hiro’s deeper emotional wounds that stem from having been orphaned at a young age and raised by his older brother Tadashi and his aunt Cass.
Hiro starts as as a typical resentful, moody teen. Just when it appears that his life is about to turn around as a result of being inspired by meeting Tadashi’s fellow university students and their tutor, the legendary robotics professor Robert Callaghan (voiced by the unmistakeable James Cromwell, almost the only big name member of the cost), further tragedy strikes and sends Hiro spiralling into deep depression which is only worsened by Baymax’s well-meaning but facile attempts to help. Read the rest of this entry »