Over the weekend in the United States, animation Big Hero 6 beat out sci-fi drama Interstellar for the top spot at the box office. A huge part of its appeal comes from big and fluffy Baymax, the bot hero of the piece, so here is a look at five reasons why he, and the movie, are ballooning in popularity.
1. Big Hero 6 is inspired by the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. And Marvel, home of Spider-Man, the Avengers and Guardians Of The Galaxy, can do no wrong in the superhero stakes these days.
2. In the comics, Baymax was a science project by brilliant teenage boy Hiro, originally designed to serve as his personal bodyguard, butler and chauffeur. His default form is a humanoid male and he can transform into a green winged monster or even a powerful mechanical robot. He gets the cute and cuddly Disney treatment and is an inflatable robot in the film. This is probably what the Michelin Man looks like when his folds get ironed out.
3. Cute and cuddly is great for merchandising. Also, Baymax can potentially drive a spike in demand for certain items, merely by association. A character says of him: “It’s like spooning a warm marshmallow.” A smart tie-up would have the puffy snack rocketing off shelves. Maybe airbags designed to look like Baymax when inflated could even make collisions less traumatic? Heck, just put two eyes on any white blob and let the movie do the advertising, I mean, story-telling.
4. Baymax is a little awkward. He is not not the smoothest guy around and manoeuvring in tight spaces gets a teensy bit challenging with that pot belly. And when his batteries run low, he behaves like an amusing helium-voiced drunk. This means that he is not at all intimidating and is easy to like. One minute, he is protecting his human Hiro from harm and the next, he could be used as a bouncy castle.
5. The depiction of Baymax is almost ridiculously simple and childlike. And that means that even very young kids can cosy up to him in all his forms – stuffed toy, shimmery balloon, comfy beanbag and easy-to-complete drawing books.