Plot: What’s it about?
When it comes to animation, it really does begin and end with Disney. They pioneered the animation field with classics like Snow White, Fantasia and Sleeping Beauty and continued it for several decades. As time passed, a new era of animation began with computers. Certainly I don’t need to mention the influence of Toy Story (and its sequels) which ushered in a new way to watch and experience animated films. Disney hasn’t maintained the stronghold on the animated market like they used to, with franchises coming from other studios like Fox (Madagascar) and Dreamworks (Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon) there’s no shortage of competition. Moving onto Big Hero 6, I’d not heard a lot about it. Certainly I had no idea that it was a Marvel comic book (then again, I’m not surprised) and went into the film knowing it’d won the Oscar the night before for Best Animated Film (and we won’t get into the whole Lego Movie thing)…
Set in the fictional town of San Fransokyo, we meet Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter), a child prodigy who graduated from high school at the age of 13. His older brother, Tadashi (voiced by Daniel Henney), is a student at the local university where his invention is set to revolutionize the medical field. Tadashi manages to talk Hiro into enrolling at the university. Hire manages to win a local science fair with an invention which catches the eye of Prof. Callaghan (voiced by James Cromwell), the mentor of Tadashi. However a tragic accident occurs and leaves young Hiro under the care of his aunt. Taking Tadashi’s invention, Betamax (voiced by Scott Adsit), Hiro befriends a ragtag group of students to combat an evil force that’s using Hiro’s invention in order to get his demands met. Will this spell the end of Hiro and the city of San Fransokyo?
To be honest, there’s actually a lot going on in this movie. Comparing this to a classic like Snow White is certainly apples and oranges. There’s tragedy, terrorism and violence in the film, but it’s done in typical Disney form. I was actually a bit surprised by some of the themes in the film, but looking back – it’s really not all bad. Is the film worthy of the “Best Animated Film” of 2014? That’s difficult to say since animated films really aren’t my thing. I will say that I was intrigued, involved and even emotional (at times) while watching the movie. The characters are a bit more complex than traditional Disney films and with the Marvel influence, there’s plenty of action to go around as well. I personally prefer a film like The Incredibles to this, but I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective. Nevertheless this is highly recommended.
Video: How’s it look?
When live-action films look as good as they do on Blu-ray, it should come as no surprise that Big Hero 6 looks absolutely perfect. I mean in every sense of the word – perfect. Colors are bright, bold, brash, vidid…whatever other adjective you want to use. The city of San Fransokyo simply seems to come alive with the amount of detail and energy that this transfer seems to output. The wide 2.39:1 AVC HD transfer simply leaves nothing to the imagination, from the details in the micro bots to the sparks flying during some of the battle scenes. Suffice it to say that viewers will enjoy this visual feast.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The video set the bar as high as it could go and I’m pleased to report that the audio is its equal in every way. Vocals are rich and crisp, James Cromwell’s voice booms while Baymax’s nuanced whisper still manages to sound soothing and calming (just as a medical robot would be, I’d have to assume). That said, there’s no shortage of action coming from the surrounds, rear-back surrounds, sub – you get the idea. This DTS HD Master Audio mix will make use of each and every speaker that’s hooked up to your home theater system. It’s dynamic and loud when it needs to be, but it has little tidbits here and there that really emphasize the HD aspect of the audio. Again, no complaints here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Theatrical Short: Feast – A short film from Director Patrick Osborne that follows a dog with a hearty appetite.
- The Origin of Big Hero 6: Hiro’s Journey – Jamie Chung (who voiced Go Go in the film) hosts this feature which takes a look at some of the origins of the movie, an interview with the filmmakers as well as some of the visual look and feel of the film.
- Big Animator 6: The Characters Behind the Characters – Essentially a “tech team” and how the movie was influenced, how it was supposed to look and just about everything in between.
- Deleted Scenes with Introductions by Directors Don Hall & Chris Williams – Five in all with, as the title suggests, intros by the filmmakers.
- Theatrical Trailer
- DVD/Digital HD Copy
The Bottom Line
Big Hero 6 lived up to everything it was purported to be. It’s well-made, voiced and as a strong base to begin with in the Marvel comic book. The little ones might be a bit scared at a few times, but it’s really a great film that’s both entertaining and enlightening. The audio and video don’t disappoint and it should make for a reference disc – and it’s a great film to boot.