Big Hero 6 review

Superhero cartoon is more successful at tackling matters of the heart than battling supervillains

Boy genius Hiro Hamada is content to while away his talents building robots to compete in illegal brawls until his older brother Tadashi invites him along to see the work he's been doing at the 'Nerd Lab' at San Fransokyo Tech. There he introduces Hiro to fellow students Go-Go, Honey Lemon and Wasabi, as well as Baymax, a cuddly nursing robot he has been working on.

Inspired to join his sibling, Hiro lands a place at San Fransokyo Tech, but his joy is short-lived when Tadashi is killed in an explosion on campus. So, when a grieving Hiro accidentally activates Baymax, and the pair discover that a kabuki-masked mystery man was responsible for the blast, Hiro sets about bringing him to justice by giving Baymax and Tadashi's student friends some superhero upgrades.

Big Hero 6 is at its best when it focuses on the unlikely friendship that develops between Hiro and Michelin Man-styled inflatable robot Baymax. The mishaps and scrapes they endure together in the first half of the film provide its funniest moments, and Baymax's attempts to nurse Hiro through his grief give the film a surprisingly touching emotional core.

Ironically, for a film based on a Marvel comic book, it's when the story shifts its focus from this to super-heroics that it falters a tad. Suddenly it becomes much more formulaic – culminating in a climax that feels pieced together from those of other, recent Marvel live-action movies. Yet even when the action is at its most generic, the witty script will keep you chuckling along with the on-screen action. And if a sequel does come about, the filmmakers will hopefully find a way of creating action that is as imaginative and entertaining as these enjoyable characters deserve.

Picture: Big Hero 6 looks absolutely superb on Blu-ray, with the disc's 2.39:1-framed 1080p encode showcasing flawless digital artistry in every single shot. No matter what the film throws at it, from night-time car chases (Chapter 8) to flights through bright blue skies (Chapter 10), the encode never falters when it comes to colour fidelity or intricate detailing. In other words, as with the likes of Frozen and Tangled before it, Big Hero 6 is yet another reference-quality visual experience from Disney.

The film is also being released on 3D Blu-ray in the UK, but Disney was unable to provide us with a copy of that release for review.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: Despite being released in cinemas in Dolby Atmos, Big Hero 6 arrives on Blu-ray with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack. It's a shame that AV-holics don't get the chance to experience the 'full-fat' version, but we can't imagine too many other complaints given that the Blu-ray audio delivers a cavalcade of impactful surround effects and taut, punchy bass.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Disappointing. All that's on offer are two behind-the-scenes featurettes, four deleted scenes, a trailer, a music video and the animated short Feast, which accompanied Big Hero 6 in cinemas.
Extra rating: 2/5

We say: Another enjoyable Disney cartoon, another reference-quality BD. But Atmos audio would have been nice

Big Hero 6, Walt Disney, All-region BD, £25 Approx