After a mysterious villain steals his invention and uses it to take over the city of San Fransokyo, a prodigy named Hiro (voice of Ryan Potter) partners with a robot named Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit) and a group of tech nerds to form a crimefighting team.
Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams
Ever since the release of Toy Story in 1995, it seems no one has been able to capture the Disney spirit better than Pixar, even surpassing many of the Disney animated productions released during that time. Lately, however, the pendulum has swung back in the other direction. With films like Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, and now with Big Hero 6, Disney Animation Studios seems to have taken the creative lead. Of course, the separations between Disney and Pixar seem to have closed, especially since John Lasseter, as Big Hero 6’s executive producer, appears to have brought over some of the Pixar magic.
Based on a little-known Marvel comic, Big Hero 6 isn’t officially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it certainly has a great comic book feel, injecting some originality into what could have been another tedious origin story. The story follows Hiro, a young technical prodigy whose invention is stolen by a masked villain. He then teams up with his brother’s college classmates (all technical wizards) and a robot named Baymax to stop the bad guy’s evil plan of revenge, which threatens the city. Each member of the team creates their own persona (with gadgets), and the setting is the town of San Fransokyo, a fictional mashup of San Francisco and Tokyo, which gives the film a distinctive look.
Big Hero 6 features a nice amount of action befitting a superhero movie, and it is nicely balanced with enough characterization to give it some heart. Like nearly every Disney movie, death and loss are explored, which may make it a bit too dramatic for very young, impressionable kids. For the rest of us, however, it gives the story more depth and a little edge.
There is a lot of superhero animation out there, but Big Hero 6 manages to rise above the crowd by not forgetting that characters are key. As much as I like superhero features (both live-action and animated), very few are distinctive, and too often, the action and tone seemed all too similar. Big Hero 6 excels because it doesn’t look or feel like the stereotypical superhero film. It is hugely entertaining because it has a unique sense of humor that tempers the frenetic pace. It is great fun, and as soon as it ended, I immediately wanted to watch it again. I can’t say that about a lot of superhero films.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
According to the “making of” documentary included on the disc, Big Hero 6 was made with a new software program called Hyperion, which renders more natural sunlight settings and better detail. The quality is obvious in high definition: the Big Hero 6 Blu-ray features a fantastic video image with more detail and bolder colors than I’ve ever seen in a Disney film. The video is nothing short of fantastic, and the animation is about as perfect as you can get. The audio includes a great 7.1 DTS-HDMA soundtrack, which is active throughout the channels and provides both excellent clarity and strong bass.
The Big Hero 6 Blu-ray isn’t packed with extras like other marquee Disney Blu-rays are. There are a handful of featurettes, an animated short, deleted scenes, and a trailer. That’s more than serviceable if you’re into extras, but I would have liked to have seen more on the voice actors involved with the film. The special features on the disc are:
Theatrical Short: Feast. This Oscar-winning animated short ran before showings of Big Hero 6, and won over audiences with its adorable portrayal of a puppy whose world is turned upside down when his owner starts dating. Running time: 6 minutes, 13 seconds.
“The Origin Story of Big Hero 6: Hiro’s Journey” documentary. This 15 minute documentary is hosted by Jamie Chung (voice of Go Go Tomago) and is a nice look behind the scenes of the film’s creation.
“Big Animator 6: The Characters Behind The Characters” featurette. The animators behind each of the major characters discuss their approach to the animation process. You even get short glimpses of each of the voice actors recording their lines. It runs six and a half minutes.
Deleted Scenes. Four deleted scenes are included: “Alternate Opening – Prologue,” “Alternate Opening – Silent Sparrow,” “Yokai’s Crew,” and “Every Great Super Hero Origin Story Starts With A Grappling Hook.” Introductions to the scenes by directors Don Hall and Chris Williams are included. The scenes are shown in storyboard form, with voiceovers and music.
Teaser Trailer. The original theatrical teaser trailer is included.
Easter Egg. Hidden in the Special Features menu is a featurette about the film’s “easter eggs.” This easter egg about easter eggs points out the hidden references to Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, and Mickey Mouse throughout the film. It’s a fun little featurette, although I do find easter eggs in general to be annoying. Just include them with the other features! No need to be overly clever.
Digital copy. A digital copy compatible with Disney Movies Anywhere, iTunes, and Ultraviolet is included.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Big Hero 6 delivers the goods
Big Hero 6 delivers at every level: a great story with a lot of heart is elevated by some fantastic CG animation. The Blu-ray is technically near perfection, although I wish there were more extras. Even so, the Blu-ray is definitely worth a buy.
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Running Time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English for the Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
Special Features: “Feast: animated theatrical short; “The Origin of Big Hero 6: Hiro’s Journey” featurette; “Big Animator 6: The Characters Behind the Characters” featurette; Four deleted scenes; Teaser trailer; Easter Egg featurette; Digital copy.
Label: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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Victor Medina is the editor of RevengeOfThe5th.net and CollectoRamaShow.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News, Yahoo News, Cinelinx.com, and SportsIllustrated.com. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE TO AUTHOR link below.