Big Hero 6 Review
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Last year, Disney wowed little girls (and their moms, too) with their wintery fairy tale, Frozen. And the frenzy still hasn’t died down, as evidenced by the abundance of Elsas, Annas, and Olafs who knocked on all of our doors this Halloween. With the follow-up, Big Hero 6, Disney shoots for a completely different audience, shifting from pretty princesses to a band of nerds turned superheroes.

Big Hero 6 takes place in the city of San Fransokyo, where teen genius Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) and his older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), live with their aunt (Maya Rudolph). Though Hiro is perfectly happy using his talents to make money through illegal robot fighting, Tadashi wants more for him—and all it takes is one visit to Tadashi’s lab at the institute of technology for Hiro to realize that he’s been wasting his potential.

After Hiro unveils his groundbreaking student showcase project, tragedy strikes and a masked villain steals his invention, forcing Hiro to team up with a group of his friends and a big, inflatable robot named Baymax (Scott Adsit) to battle the growing threat.

Disney continues to take full advantage of its acquisition of Marvel with this family-friendly superhero thriller. Loosely based on a series of Marvel Comics, Big Hero 6 couldn’t be much further from the magical, musical fantasy of Frozen. But while it doesn’t have the same elegance and sophistication, it sure is a whole lot of action-packed fun. Comic book geeks in training (and their parents, too!) will love the action and adventure, the robots and superheroes. The story may be familiar, but it’s also unabashedly nerdy and often amusingly self-aware. And while the creepy-looking villain isn’t especially well-developed, the band of heroes (who often feel like distant cousins of the Scooby-Doo bunch) and their wide variety of super powers more than make up for it.

At the same time, though, there’s more to Big Hero 6 than just brainless animated action. The animation is—of course—absolutely stunning. The characters are drawn with the perfect mix of realism and cartoonish exaggeration, and the setting is bold and creative. San Fransokyo, as you might expect, combines the iconic townhouses and streetcars of San Francisco with the vibrant culture of Tokyo—and the result is a visual, cultural delight.

The characters, too, add to the film’s irresistible charm. Hiro may be super-smart, but he’s still a troubled teen at heart: headstrong and sometimes moody, still suffering from the flood of emotions caused by loss. Fortunately, his teen moodiness is lessened by his lovable band of nerdy, bumbling super-friends—especially big, white, cuddly Baymax. Sweet and naive—designed as a kind of robotic nurse—he has one goal in mind: to safeguard Hiro’s overall health and well-being. If he has to learn karate and battle a supervillain to improve Hiro’s emotional state, so be it. And, in the process, he manages to make this perilous superhero thriller more kid-friendly, balancing out the villain’s menacing appearance with just the right amount of warmth and easy-going humor.

Big Hero 6 is like Avengers lite—an action-packed thriller with comedy and creativity that works for all ages. It may not be entirely original, but it’s fun-filled and clever, with plenty of lovable characters who may just find their way to your door next Halloween.

Blu-ray Review:
Pick up a copy of Disney’s Big Hero 6 on Blu-ray, and you’ll get not one but two Oscar winners. After all, among the special features included with this Oscar-winning animated film, you’ll also find the sweet Oscar-winning animated short, Feast, which played before the film’s theatrical release.

Other extras include an informative making-of feature, The Origin Story of Big Hero 6. Hosted by Jamie Chung, the voice of Go Go, this feature offers an overview of the film and the filmmaking process—from director Don Hall’s excitement to direct an animated superhero movie to the research and relationships that made the film both a Marvel adventure and a Disney drama. For even more behind-the-scenes coverage, there’s also Big Animator 6, which brings some of the animation team together to discuss the film, their role in the process, and their favorite characters. On the special features menu, you’ll also find four deleted scenes (including two alternate openings). And, if you do a little bit of searching, you might also find an Easter egg feature that takes a look at some of the Easter eggs included in the movie—from hidden Mickeys to subtle references to other Disney films.

And, finally, as an added bonus, the Blu-ray release also comes with a digital copy—which comes with its own set of extras (like a quirky Mickey Mouse short, Tokyo Go).

The Blu-ray release may not be loaded with games and songs and other kid-friendly extras, but fans of both Disney animation and Marvel comics will enjoy the behind-the-scenes glimpses that these special features provide. And if you find yourself watching the film over and over again with the kids, be sure to hunt down the Easter egg feature—because it’s guaranteed to inspire you to take a closer look at the film’s stunning artwork.

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