If the is one thing we love in this Geek Family household it is robots and Disney. So the fact that Disney’s new movie has BOTH is enough for all our Geek hearts to soar. But we have actually known about this movie a little longer than others. In October of 2013, my good friend Ryan Hobbiebrunken, Hobbie for short, who is an animator for Disney Animation Studios gave us a behind the scenes tour in a post-Frozen studio. They were in the process of switching focus to their new movie, Big Hero 6.
I asked Hobbie to share his thoughts about the new movie Big Hero 6, which is out in theaters November 7th.
This is your 3rd animated Disney movie, how was working on Big Hero 6 different than Wreck-It-Ralph and Frozen?
Big Hero was something that raised the bar in what was possible in a short amount of production time. I guess I could say that about all three films here. It’s hard to differentiate the amount of achievement on these films. As much as I enjoyed Frozen and Wreck-It-Ralph, in Big Hero 6, the connection Hiro had with Baymax had lots of good subtext which made me fall in love with both characters and not that the two other movies didn’t have that, I just personally felt a deeper connection towards them. Being that I’m a male that grew up with a brother, I was able to relate better as I animated these characters than I was able to relate with the the sister relationship in Frozen (obviously). Of course, I can’t not mention that the story is adapted from a Marvel comic, so it was fun, as an action hero lover, to geek out on some fun action that I anticipated to animate.
What was your favorite scene to work on? Why?
My favorite scenes are usually animation that has deeper subtext; expressing more than just what’s on the surface. So on Big Hero, theres a moment where the main character comes to a pivotable emotional arc in the story, of which I dare not talk about, as it is a spoiler. Leading up to my favorite scene of mine, there was a lot going on in his head that needed to be expressed in a little amount of time and it was a bigger challenge than an action shot I did later with Fred that didn’t have as much depth.
Who is your favorite character? Why?
My favorite character is Hiro, the main character of the story. I’m telling you, this story has you falling for this guy and since I am a younger brother that looked up to an older brother, I really connected with him. Aside from my personal experience as a brother, Hiro was treated like a kid that was super smart, yet still had some maturing to do. The maturing Hiro had to go through, created a big character arc to take place, which added to his appeal. He’s endearing.
What fun things did you do to help get into character when animating?
To get into character on Big Hero, as I stated above, I related to Hiro as a younger brother so I was able to draw in some real life experience. I also needed to be aware of the collective studio-wide understanding of who Hiro was in order to remain consistent. Disney does it well when creating a character with depth. To add depth to these characters, they exist in our imagination beyond the first and last frame of animation. We also have been inviting real stage actors come in to help dig inside the minds of these characters, digging deeper than what we may only come to know just from start to end of the movie. We imagine a history of life-forming events to help better understand the characters motives and why is it the way they are at the start of the movie, which also helps our animation get to a place where it feels more believable.
If you were a tourist visiting San Fransokyo, where would you want to go most?
I believe I would try to hit up a view of the town from up high and if that means getting a nice view from the highest elevation in town or riding on the back of Baymax. I’m not picky. Perhaps after taking in a nice view, I’d hop on down to Cass’s cafe for some delicious pastries and wings. She seems like such a fun character to hang out with.
What can you tell us about Moana, Disney’s next animated movie?
Nothing else than what has already been announced in public. I certainly am excited for it! I believe we will be pushing achievements even higher. What’s in the story has me excited for the visuals.
“Moana, a spirited teenager on an impossible mission to fulfill her ancestors’ quest. It’s set in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, and Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore.”
Get ready for a visually stunning ride with endearing lovable characters that will have you laughing, tearing up a bit and rooting them on. You will care about the characters and that’s very important in keeping the audience engaged in the movie. Even though I animated on the film and saw most of the scenes multiple times so that jokes lost their laugh-out-loud effect, as it was all completed, I was loving it! I found myself still genuinely effected by the story. Go see it!