Note: As I've said in my reviews of various comic book films, I'm not much a comic book reader. I have gotten into the stories because of the films themselves, so if my knowledge is a bit rusty on the subject, I apologize. This is from the perspective of an animation fan...
Walt Disney Animation Studios' upcoming adaptation of Marvel's Big Hero 6 is already looking like it's going to be a game changer for the Mouse House and Disney animation. So what's there to look forward to even though it's only in the development stages?
#1. Don Hall is directing the film. His directorial debut, Winnie the Pooh, proves that he knows what he's doing. That film was respectful of the early short subjects and wisely avoided anything that had to do with the franchise post-1983 and successfully delighted adults and children alike. He also worked on the story for The Princess and the Frog and Tarzan. He's been around for a while and with a team of good writers, he can make this film work. It's possible that Joss Whedon might even contribute to the film, since he's signed the exclusivity contract with Disney that ends in 2015. This film is slated for release in 2014, but may not open. Still, Joss could contribute to it. Remember, Walt Disney Animation Studios has been hitting critical home runs since Meet the Robinsons, so we can expect the results to be good.
#2. This will be a big first for the animation wing. All Walt Disney Animation Studios films were in-house productions, but this film will be their first co-production with another studio, Marvel Studios of course. With that, they are branching out and one day, they may just team up with other studios for big projects. Unheard of until now.
#3. Disney animation has never tackled anything that had to do with superheroes before, which makes this project a real risk. Disney animation is often generalized as "fairy tales, musicals and talking animal movies", but this and Wreck-It Ralph are sure to show audiences that Disney can certainly tackle different genres. Walt Disney believed in taking risks and trying new things, and with these two projects, Lasseter-era Disney is willing to follow in his footsteps much like the folks at Pixar do. After all, think of how diverse Pixar's platter is and how all of their films are unique. They can tackle many kinds of stories, Walt Disney Animation Studios should do the same and break new ground.
#4. I mentioned this when the project was first announced, it's possible that this film will be Disney animation's first PG-13 film. While a rating doesn't determine a film's quality (obviously, I'm not that kind of person who assumes that), it can show people that Disney animation is not a kids only thing and never has been. Sure, Disney should not have to go out of their way prove that, but this very film could help shatter that belief once and for all if Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen don't. Just imagine, Disney animation tackling a much more adult-oriented film. I can see that working, it would be an experiment worth trying. More and more people have warmed up to animated films, thanks to Pixar and DreamWorks. Now it's Disney's turn to win that audience.
#5. This could be another successful attempt at a big animated action picture. Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet, despite their shortcomings, displayed how Disney animation can deliver great action. The Rescuers Down Under is another fine example that tends to get overshadowed by the fairy tale adaptations. These films show that Disney animation can certainly bring the thrills. Think about how they can pull off the action with the power of animation, whether it's going to be hand-drawn or computer animated. With that, Disney can give audiences the pure excitement that the summer blockbusters give them, but with better writing.
#6. It's possible that this film will be very stylized. From what I've seen of the comics, it looks very manga-inspired. Imagine Disney animation doing a Japanese anime-style film? That would be another new and interesting style to experiment with. Remember how Walt's men broke new ground with One Hundred and One Dalmatians with its modern look as opposed to the look of the previous films? Remember how films like Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Lilo & Stitch experimented with some very un-Disney-esque qualities? If Big Hero 6 does that, then it'll be great to see something completely new, visually, from Disney.
Are you anticipating this film? Do you like the idea of Disney trying new things and branching out into the superhero genre? What are you looking forward to seeing in this film? Sound off!