By CORY WOODROOF

In a world of animation where studios are finding a steady balance between selling toys and providing quality entertainment, movies like “Big Hero 6” can flourish.

In a world of animation where studios are finding a steady balance between selling toys and providing quality entertainment, movies like “Big Hero 6” can flourish.

The latest venture from Walt Disney Animation Studios takes these two aims of the craft – to market and to marvel – and twists them into a genuinely moving, gripping movie that’s sure to make its money’s worth.

Not long ago, studios struggled to find this balance. Pixar, Disney’s other, far-more famous animation hub, has always struck this balance with ease, but others have not. Nowadays, high-order storytellers are able to find the right formula that will allow their movies to succeed in selling products and drawing out genuine emotion.

In “Big Hero 6,” the story focuses on a pair of whiz-kid brothers. One of the two is Hiro, a teenage boy wonder who bets on illegal bot fights in the bustling street corners of San Fransokyo (a vibrant rendering of San Francisco with a heavy Tokyo-infusion in the culture and architecture). The other is Tadashi, a well-respected scientist who works for an elite robotics group.

Tadashi plays mentor to his smart-but-scrappy sibling. But, when a series of world-shattering events hit the family at a science expo, Hiro is forced to take the pride of his brother’s work (the robot Baymax, a talking marshmallow-like being that doubles as a health care agent) and get to the bottom of a potentially malevolent plot.

Along the way, Hiro and Baymax encounter a few of Tadashi’s friends (a ragtag team of scientists), who aim to help the duo in their efforts.

“Big Hero 6” lives and breathes on its ability to move the audience. This partly being a superhero movie (inspired by a Marvel comic, nonetheless), there’s plenty of action, suspense and peril to go around. Hiro eventually turns Baymax from a fluffy first aid kit to a flying tank that can punch stuff to help fight a force that threatens the city.

This transformation lends itself to plenty of crime fighting and heroic antics, but it’s nothing overtly new. Baymax’s changes are no different from any other unassuming everyman’s change into a super being. Hiro and Tadashi’s team of scientist buddies also suit up with their own gear, and while it’s refreshing to see characters using their brains to try and save the day, it’s still the same process that Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne undergo in their respective origin movies.

What sets “Big Hero 6” apart from the usual flock of hero movies is the grandeur of its storytelling for a young audience.

Movies like “Spider-Man” and “Batman Begins” deal with some heavy themes, but those movies are not particularly targeted to a 10-and-under audience (at least in the screening room). “Big Hero 6” doesn’t shy away from some gut-wrenching plot advancements just because it’s technically a children’s movie.

There are some heavy thematic moments in the movie that are handled so classily and appropriately for the age group that this movie might be one of Disney animation’s most mature titles since Pixar’s “Up.”

The childlike wonder of Hiro’s relationship with Baymax also evokes thoughts of the effective relationship between Hiccup and Toothless the dragon in the “How to Train Your Dragon” series.

Baymax is a major source of the film’s levity. He’s a riot when in motion – a goofy, lovable bull in a china shop that simply wants to help Hiro with his journey. But, Disney allows this relationship between man and machine to go past laughs and strike at the heart of the film’s purpose.

It was a given that the animation here was going to be gorgeous, and it was a given that the movie was probably going to have a few solid laughs. And, being a Disney title, it was definitely a given that this movie was going to attempt to be more than a product.

But, where “Big Hero 6” diverges from the path is the film’s striking commitment to catharsis. This is a movie that deals with some weighty subject matter in a way that translates to a young audience. Between all the high-flying action, soaring adventure and goofy humor, the movie still has its purpose on the forefront.

“Big Hero 6” has a soul – the one thing that’s keeping animated movies human in a world that wants to sell them as product.