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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Don Hall and Chris Williams
Cast:
Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, James Cromwell, Daniel Henney, TJ Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Alan Tudyk
Writing Credits:
Daniel Gerson and Robert L. Baird

Synopsis:
The special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.

Box Office:
Budget
$165 million.
Domestic Gross
$220,212,093.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Video Service 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 2/24/2015

Bonus:
Feast Animated Short
• “The Origin Story of Big Hero 6: Hiro’s Journey” Featurette
• “Big Animator 6: The Characters Behind the Characters” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Original Teaser Trailer
• Sneak Peeks
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Big Hero 6 [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 26, 2015)

Oscar’s newest winner of the Best Animated Feature, 2014’s Big Hero 6 comes based on a Marvel comic of the same title. Set in “San Fransokyo”, we meet 14-year-old Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter), an orphan who lives with his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) and his aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph). A technical genius, Hiro uses his gift to create devices to win money in back-alley robot battles.

Tadashi goes to school and gets an education at a sophisticated electronics lab. Hiro initially thinks this is nerd territory, but when he visits the facility, he sees the amazing work being done and wants to enroll.

Hiro creates a project that uses “microbots” and showcases them at a science fair. This impresses all involved – including Professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell) – but disaster subsequently ensues, and a fire kills Callaghan and Tadashi.

Sent into a deep depression, Hiro slowly starts to emerge when he discovers a project on which his brother worked: a medical robot called Baymax (Scott Adsit). The rubbery, inflatable Baymax becomes Hiro’s friend and helps deal with a mystery that launches when Hiro finds out someone has been manufacturing his microbots for nefarious purposes. Armed with that knowledge and the assistance of Tadashi’s classmates, Hiro helps form “Big Hero 6”, a group created to deal with the evil force behind the microbots.

Inevitably, Hero will get compared to another computer-animated comic book flick distributed by Disney, Pixar’s 2004 hit The Incredibles. Both won Oscars and both offered unconventional superhero stories.

I also viewed them similarly when I first watched them. My 2004 theatrical screening of Incredibles left me entertained but a bit underwhelmed, and the same happened when I took in Hero in late 2014. However, my subsequent home video session with Incredibles changed my mind, as I liked it a lot more during that second encounter.

Would the same occur with this Blu-ray viewing of Hero? Not really. While I still think it delivers fun, I don’t find anything especially exciting or memorable about it.

Some of the problem stems from the extended “origin story” aspect of Hero. Of course, any film like this needs to spend time with this sort of introduction, but Hero really stretches the limits. It takes up so much screen territory with background/”how they became heroes” that the viewer may lose patience.

It doesn’t help that the action narrative doesn’t seem particularly exciting. The main villain lacks much gusto, so the battles and basic plot don’t threaten to become all that enticing. They give us enough to keep us with the material but don’t manage to thrive in their own right.

More than Incredibles, Hero reminds me of 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, mainly due to my reaction to both. These films came with many potential positives and ended up as enjoyable experiences, but they failed to boast that “something extra” to make them exceptional.

All that said, Hero does entertain. The relationship between Hiro and Baymax may seem semi-trite, but the movie pairs them in a likable manner that adds charm to the experience. Baymax creates an improbable hero, but he turns into a fun one, and his combination of qualities allows him to become one of the movie’s strengths.

That goes for Adsit’s performance as well. I always felt Adsit was a weak link on 30 Rock, but he handles the low-key charms of Baymax well. He gives the character just enough emotion to suit the story but he understands the nature of the part and he doesn’t overdo human tendencies.

Ultimately, Hero delivers a likable adventure but not one that dazzles. Though it does enough right to occupy the viewer across its 102 minutes, it can’t match up with superior efforts like Incredibles. Admittedly, that’s a high bar, so I’ll take Hero as a good but not great effort.

Footnote: hang around until the finish of the end credits for fun tag scene that may or may not lead toward a sequel.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Big Hero 6 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. No issues developed in this satisfying presentation.

Sharpness looked solid. From start to finish, the movie demonstrated positive delineation, with a tight image on display. No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. Of course, the image lacked any print flaws; it remained clean at all times.

Colors became a strong element. The movie went with a fairly broad palette that displayed consistently vivid hues. Blacks were dense and tight, and shadows were smooth, with nice clarity. The transfer brought out the movie well.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack, it opened up the film in a satisfying manner. Though the mix didn’t give us wall-to-wall theatrics, it managed to use the spectrum well.

As expected, the film’s occasional action sequences boasted nice breadth and activity. Big fights didn’t create terrific usage, but they spread out the material in a useful manner. While the soundscape didn’t stun us on a constant basis, it provided enough to succeed.

Audio quality seemed consistently solid. Speech appeared natural and distinctive; no edginess or other issues marred the dialogue. Music sounded warm and full, while effects showed good clarity and accuracy. When necessary, bass response came across as deep and tight. All of this led the track to “B” status.

Only a handful of extras round out the set. Shown theatrically before Hero, a short called Feast goes for six minutes, 13 seconds and shows a stray dog who finds himself a happy home. Longtime readers will know I’m a major dog-lover and a sucker for movies about canines. Feast does nothing remarkable but it presents an enjoyable, charming effort.

Four Deleted Scenes fill a total of 13 minutes, 10 seconds. We find “Alternate Opening – Prologue” (4:05), “Alternate Opening – Silent Sparrow” (4:53), “Yokai’s Crew” (2:42) and “’Every Great Super Hero Origin Story Starts With a Grappling Hook’” (1:12). All four prove to be interesting. “Prologue” lets us learn more about Hiro’s childhood, and “Crew” brings us a clever band of baddies. Those become the best of the bunch, but I like all of them.

Note that the running times include introductions from directors Don Hall and Chris Williams. They tell us a little about the sequences as well as why the pieces failed to make the film. Their comments add value.

Two featurettes ensue. The Origin Story of Big Hero 6: Hiro’s Journey occupies 15 minutes, 10 seconds. Hosted by actor Jamie Chung, we find notes from Hall, Williams, producer Roy Conli, heads of story Joe Mateo and Paul Briggs, writers Robert L. Baird and Daniel Gerson, Marvel Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, executive VP/head of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb, head of effects animation Michael Kaschalk, lead character designer Shiyoon Kim, production designer Paul Felix, and director of cinematography and lighting Adolph Lusinsky.

We learn about the project’s path to the screen, story/character areas, research and robot design, and the creation of “San Fransokyo”. I feel disappointed the Blu-ray lacks an audio commentary, but “Story” delivers a pretty good overview. It touches on useful topics and becomes a worthwhile piece.

Big Animator 6: The Characters Behind the Characters lasts six minutes, 39 seconds and features head of animation Zach Parrish as well as animation supervisors Nathan Engelhardt, Jason Figliozzi, Michael Franceschi, Brent Homman and Doug Bennett. They cover character design and animation. Despite the show’s brevity, it boasts a lot of insights.

If you look for it, you’ll find an Easter Egg. This two-minute, 46-second clip concentrates on hidden images found in Hero. ut delivers a fun view of these buried elements.

To fund the egg, highlight “Info” from the “Bonus Features” menu. This shows an image of Baymax – press “enter” and the featurette will run.

The disc opens with ads for Inside Out, Aladdin, and Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast. Sneak Peeks adds promos for Disney Infinity, Star Wars: Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Lost Missions. We also find the teaser trailer for Hero.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Hero. It includes Feast, the “Characters” featurette, the teaser and the “Sneak Peeks” but loses the other elements.

As a comic book adventure, Big Hero 6 provides reasonable fun. It could be tighter, better paced and more inventive, but it delivers enough entertainment to make it worthwhile. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals as well as good audio and a small but interesting set of supplements. While Hero never becomes a great animated experience, it offers reasonable fun.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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