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Blu-ray Review: “Big Hero 6”

Blu-ray Review: "Big Hero 6"

Oscar’s Best Animated Feature, which
marks the successful marriage of Marvel to Disney (and Disney to the tween boy
market), hits store shelves today.

As it
happens, last Sunday’s Oscar race yielded this Blu-ray/DVD package two award
winners, Big Hero 6 and the short
subject Feast, which is included on both the Blu-ray and the DVD.

Big Hero 6’s Oscar win came as a bit of a
surprise. Here was a highly unusual kind of film within the perceived Disney
feature context. Walt Disney Feature Animation has enjoyed unquestioned success
with its Princess brands and the predominately female-driven storylines, but
the lion’s share of its more male-oriented entries—Atlantis and Treasure Planet,
for example—have not taken off. Big Hero 6 was able to soar.

The Marvel
connection is as important to this success as is the benefit of Pixar’s
influence on the latest wave of Disney animated features. Both entities stress
focus, story, character and productions driven by directors and their teams.
Even if Big Hero 6 didn’t blow you
away, or doesn’t appear to have broken any new technical or artistic ground (a
common comment about Frozen), it
cannot be denied that Big Hero 6 is a
landmark in other ways. It struck a chord with the public.

 

Watching
the film again on Blu-ray is almost as visually overwhelming as seeing it on
the big screen, but the effect of the characters and story take on different
dimensions when watch in the comfort of home.

The most
obvious effect of seeing the film again is that the whodunit aspects are no
longer a surprise. Of course, it wasn’t rocket science to anticipate some of
the plot twists, even on the first viewing. When Tadashi lost his hat as he
dashed into the building, it summoned images of Diana Rigg telling George
Lazenby “We have the rest of our lives together”.

Guessing
the identity of the villain wasn’t that much harder than watching a vintage
Scooby-Doo episode to figure out who was scaring people away from the old
amusement park because gold was buried under it (as Velma deduced). But let’s
face, who’s really watching either Scooby-Doo or Big Hero 6 for the mysteries?

Both are
popular, in part, because of the entertaining premise and characters. Forgive
me for belaboring the Scooby stuff, but there is a dash or two of the Mystery
Machine in Big Hero 6, albeit
presented in a much more lavish, meticulous manner. The character of Fred is not
unlike Shaggy, even to his incongruous background of distinction (yes, I follow
the travels of the Mystery Machine more than I probably should).

What Big Hero 6 really gains on Blu-ray and
DVD is the intimacy of home viewing. When it comes to character connection in
an action/fantasy, sometimes the big screen, in its ability to show so much of
the overall image, actually can obscure other things. This film has some
genuinely endearing characters and that quality is accentuated with home
viewing.

Everyone’s
vote for most lovable is Baymax, a character who is just as striking aurally as
he is visually. He makes subtle, gentle noises with his latex body outside and the
air that fills his inside.

Scott
Adsit’s voice work cannot be emphasized enough. He was able to convey the
impression that Baymax speaks his preprogrammed and phrases consistently, yet the
actor varies them just enough to make the character warm and real. It is as if the
fictional Tadashi actually selected the real-life Adsit for Baymax’s voice
files to make him sound as competent and reassuring as possible. The animation
of Baymax is equally remarkable, conveying emotion with a face that seems
expressionless.

Henry
Jackman’s score exudes exuberance and color. Atypical of both Disney and
Marvel, much of the score puts one in the mind of bold, optimistic Epcot
background music—to coin a phrase, a “World’s Fair visionary” style.

The Big Hero 6 Blu-ray
and DVD
share most of the bonus features: “Feast”; the Theatrical Teaser; and
“The Characters Behind the Characters.” Exclusive to the Blu-ray are deleted
scenes, an Easter Egg and “The Origin Story of Big Hero 6”.

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