Review of "Big Hero 6 (Blu-ray)"

published 30/06/2017 | Soho_Black
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"Not Big, Not Clever"

Big Hero 6 (Blu-ray)

Big Hero 6 (Blu-ray)

My wife is a huge fan of Disney aminations and has a long list of the ones she doesn’t yet have on Blu-Ray or DVD, from which she selects whenever someone asks her for ideas for birthday or Christmas presents. This collection started long before I met her, but “Big Hero 6” has a special place in our collection as it was one of the first films we saw in the cinema as a married couple.

Hiro Hamada is a teenager living in the city of San Fransokyo with his older brother, a robotics expert, and their aunt as their parents have passed away. Hiro is also a robotics expert, but instead of studying at college like his brother, he makes money by illegally betting on robot fighting. After a show which gives Hiro a place at college, his brother is killed in a fire and Hiro’s mini robots are presumed destroyed. Shortly after, Hiro finds his brother left behind his latest project, Baymax, a personal healthcare robot. Discovering that the fire might not have been an accident and that a mysterious masked figure might be behind it, Hiro upgrades Baymax and enlists him and his brother’s friends to get revenge and reclaim Hiro’s stolen robots.

In terms of the storyline, this is very much a standard superhero film. A main character is driven by a desire for revenge, having to cope when circumstances are against him and makes new friends as well as finding things out about themselves along the way. The outsider is initially unwilling to be a part of a team, preferring not to accept help from any source, much less an unwanted one, but he eventually thaws towards the others. There is also the almost traditional inclusion of a montage when it comes to getting the team together, with their weapons and powers reflecting their previous work, and one of the team has a secret that comes in handy on more than on occasion.

As with most modern superhero films where the basic storyline is similar, it’s the details that make all the difference. Here, the difference is in Baymax, the personal healthcare companion who becomes the hero. Whilst other films may have reluctant heroes, in this case he is programmed not to allow Hiro to come to harm and he ends up being one part bodyguard and one part superhero. As he was not designed for the role, some of the methods used to turn him into one are amusingly different, with the fitting of his first superhero outfit being the one that sticks in my mind the most, although an early sequence where his battery runs down is also quite amusing as, whilst the way he acts isn’t particularly new, it’s unexpected in a Pixar film.

The script is along quite similar lines, often predictable, but with moments of joy. There is a moment where Baymax repeatedly starts a line in a way I recall from the first Austin Powers film, which is amusing enough, but not exactly original. The villain gives his reasons for acting the way he does in a predictable form and Hiro’s reactions to his brother’s death and the rhetoric that goes into changing the mind of characters acting against their natures is along standard lines. However, the way Baymax puts the sound of a fist bump into words as “balalala” is a fantastic moment and is the one line from the film that my wife and I will most frequently quote.

The voice work is pretty good, with Scott Adsit having the perfect voice for Baymax and managing to stay consistently robotic despite everything the character is going through. Damon Wayans as Wasabi wasn’t quite so effective, as the Wayans brothers have a tendency towards overacting that seems present even in the voice work here and the same felt true of T J Miller as Fred, although his character allowed greater lassitude for that kind of behaviour. James Cromwell’s Robert Callaghan was nicely done and the character reminds me a little of the character he played in “Surrogates”, although a little more deliberately nasty. The others tended to blend in without standing out in any major way.

As with any Pixar film, the efforts that have gone into every detail are impressive and come across on screen. They have built a whole city and gone as far as to animate a car chase in it, with the car being chased by an army of miniature robots. Given that animation is now done in much the same way as most special effects, it is no surprise that it should be as free flowing as it is, but the scope of the setting and the action scenes are large by animation standards. Given how ambitious some of the set pieces are, the attention to detail is impressive and everything looks fantastic. To go with the scope of the scenes, Pixar have maintained their love of colour and so this is one of the most colourful superhero films I’ve seen in some time, particularly when you consider how dark some of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and, even more so, the DC Universe have been of late.

As a film, this is largely a cliché, albeit a very slickly animated one. As a Pixar film, it lacks some of the originality of some of their other output and it’s lacking a beautiful human moment such as the opening to “Up”, despite the main character having suffered a bereavement and having his friends rally around. However, the cartoonish aspect works nicely for a superhero film and even if “The Incredibles” was a more enjoyable film, this is still good fun and a little more grown up. It’s not Pixar’s best, but it is still a decent film.

Once you get to the end of the film, all Pixar DVDs contain a short film as part of the DVD extras, often one that was shown in cinemas ahead of the feature and they frequently contain more laughs per minute than the actual feature, in an attempt to put the audience in a good mood before the film. Here, the features start with “Theatrical Short: Feast”, which is the story of a puppy, saved from hunger on the streets and telling the story of his new owner’s relationship with both the puppy and his family though the dog’s relationship with food. This time around, the 6 minutes the feature lasts offers more of an emotional story than an amusing one, although there are some funny touches, but it’s a decent story and the perspective it is told from makes it more interesting than it might otherwise have been. It’s not my favourite Disney Pixar short by any means, but it is one of the sweetest and it may well have won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2014 for this reason as much as anything else.

Next up is “The Origin Story of Big Hero 6: Hiro’s Journey”. This is the story of how the Marvel comic book came into being as a film, talking to the people behind the scenes of this film, from writers and directors to writers and some people at Marvel. As usual, they talk up the film and how much they both enjoyed and had always wanted to work on such a film. Whilst everything was rose-tinted, there were some interesting moments, such as the real-life inspiration behind Baymax and the moment that his fist bump routine came into being. It all ends on a bit of an emotional moment and there wasn’t enough revelation or information in this 15-minute feature to make it entirely worthwhile.

The following feature is “Big Animator 6: The Characters Behind the Characters”, which is a round-table discussion with some of the people responsible for animating “Big Hero 6”. As we don’t often get to hear from the animators behind films, I was looking forward to this feature, but it proved to be a disappointment. They just talked through how the characters came into being and whilst the parts about how they were sometimes inspired by family members and how they set about determining how they moved, particularly Baymax, who required different animation to everyone else because of his movements, there wasn’t enough here to satisfy my curiosity into what these “hidden” people do. This is just a 6-minute discussion with a few shots from early animation and voice recording, but nothing particularly technical or detailed, which would have made this feature much better. It felt like a missed opportunity to find out more about the people behind the scenes of a film like this and their reasons for doing the job and their inspiration behind it, as well as how they do what they do.

The “Deleted Scenes with Introductions by Directors Don Hall & Chris Williams” are four deleted scenes with come with on screen introductions from the directors, rather than an audio commentary as would be more usual. These scenes were scrapped at different parts of the process, so some were closer to completion in terms of animation than others – three of the four are still in very rough, almost storyboard standard animation, whereas one has colour and more detailed artwork. The scenes have all been deleted due to not fitting for various reasons, but there is only a brief reason as to why this is from the directors, which doesn’t add much insight and it’s a tough watch for the most part, largely because some of the scenes are so roughly done and because a couple of the scenes were much longer than the others, so there was little consistency.

The “’Big Hero 6’ Theatrical Teaser” is simply the trailer for the film as seen in cinemas prior to release and is just a 1 minute long advert for the film. It’s got a funny moment, but no real action and doesn’t do a particularly good job of enticing you to see the film, although if you’re watching it as a DVD extra, it doesn’t need to.

The “Mickey Mouse Short – Tokyo Go” feature is as the title suggests, a four-minute cartoon featuring Mickey Mouse. Compared to current Disney Pixar cartoons, both animation and storyline seem amateurish. Mickey ends up on the wrong train in Tokyo and must battle his way onto the right train. There’s plenty of slapstick style action, with a surprising graphics change in the middle which was quite amusing.

As enjoyable as the film is, the Blu-Ray doesn’t add anything of value and the film doesn’t need to be seen in the format to enjoy it to the full. This means the premium you pay for a Blu-Ray version of £10 against a DVD version of £6.74 isn’t worth the extra and if a free version can be found, it’s not essential enough viewing to be worth watching over and over, so a purchase isn’t essential for either version, although the film does come recommended should you happen across a showing.

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Comments on this review

  • jo-1976 published 26/11/2017
    One I've never seen
  • jb0077 published 26/11/2017
    E.
  • siberian-queen published 22/11/2017
    fab review
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Product Information : Big Hero 6 (Blu-ray)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

DVD Region: Blu-ray

Classification: Parental Guidance

Director(s): Don Hall, Chris Williams

Studio: Walt Disney

Production Year: 2014

EAN: 8717418451097

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