The Big Hero 6 film has been bubbling away on fan sites but this week gets a major shot in the arm with more information forthcoming from various sources.
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This is the movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios coming this Winter, inspired by the related Marvel Comics superhero team. It is directed by Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt) and is the 54th Walt Disney animated feature. However it’s the first animation to feature Marvel characters since its acquisition by Disney in 2009.
The story tracks with a budding robotics engineer Hiro Hamada who turns his nurse robot Baymax into a fighting Mech. Together they then tackle a criminal plan along with a recruited team of well equipped (if inexperienced) crime-fighters: Wasabi, Honey Lemon, GoGo Tomago, and Fred.
I was given an exclusive first look of the Bandai toy line that supports the film. Not only that but I was able to let my kids loose on them to see how they stood up to play in a real home environment. Once we got over the slightly odd feeling of playing with the toys before seeing the movie we came away from things pretty impressed.
Most of the toys revolved around Hiro and his inflatable robot Baymax and its changing role from “Personal Healthcare Companion” to armored-up fighting machine. For the toy line this starts with the soft plushie versions of Baymax that come in 5 and 10 inch versions ($7.99 and $19.99 respectively), with the larger ones also offering sound from the movie. There’s also a larger plastic version of the white Baymax ($29.99) with a novel feature that projects a range of images from the film onto his tummy.
From here the toys focus on the combat version of Baymax, wearing his red Mech suit. The Deluxe Flying Baymax costs $39.99 and comes ready assembled with a variety of interactive features. The Armour-Up Baymax costs $19.99 and tasks children with applying the armor themselves.
It was the Deluxe Flying Baymax that really stood out here. Not only does it provide strong articulation for multiple poses but also pop-out wings and a projectile rocket fist but it also houses a range of electronics. His eyes light up at the press of a button along with some mech-like sound effects. Then, place the accompanying Hiro figure on his back and these sounds change into speech. This also triggers a motion sensitive mechanic where he makes flying sounds when tilted.
It’s all pretty impressive and felt a lot like the high-end Buzz Lightyear toys my children have enjoyed over the years. In fact this was their first response, to go and get other toys like Buzz to play alongside Baymax. That’s as close an endorsement to writing their name on the toy as we get in our household.
More toward to collectable pocket money end of the toy-line we have the range of 4 inch action figures ($8.99). Each has eight points of articulation and comes with accessories. They not only give a good idea of the wider range of toys but also flesh out the characters we will see in the movie. Each one has a fascinating robot suit of some sort that seems to have been designed by Hiro.
The real test of all this is whether Disney’s big blockbuster version of Big Hero 6 does justice to the original comic series.I’ll be interested to see if my children only want to play with the commercial toy line or if they are as interested in reading the original comics.
The toys will be available at retail from September and the Big Hero 6 movie is released on November 7 .