Sunday, 15 February 2015

Review: Big Hero 6 (second-pass)

World of Blackout Film Review

Big Hero 6 (2D) Poster

Big Hero 6 (2D / second-pass)
Cert: PG / 114 mins / Dir. Don Hall & Chris Williams / Trailer
WoB Rating: 7/7

What an amazing film. Messrs Hall & Williams' animated buddy/superhero flick goes from strength to strength, and I suspect I left slightly too long a gap between my first viewing when the film was still in its UK preview status, and catching it on general release*1. The memory of how much fun Big Hero 6 is was still prominent in my memory, but I'd somehow forgotten that the film's sentimental core was quite this strong.

What I'm saying is that rather than have my eyes filling up at a couple of points near the end, I spent most of the first half of the film on the verge of blubbing, as emotional bookmarks were placed that would be referred back to later. These call-forwards make re-watching the film massively rewarding, and I confess that I was so wrapped up in the story of Hiro, Tadashi and Baymax that I didn't notice any of the visual Easter-eggs. Even the ones which I knew were there.

Despite by words below*1, there really is no equivalent to watching a film like Big Hero 6 on a massive cinema-screen with full surround sound (yes, I know your television's great, but your living-room wasn't designed for watching movies in the way that a cinema is). Go and see this at the flicks while you've still got the option; you'll thank me for it.

Best bit: after the closing credits - which seem far longer than they are because a) four distinct pieces of music play behind them, and b) animated works always have more names attached by virtue of the film-making process, - the post-credits scene played out in all its glory and Mrs Blackout turned to me and wryly commented "I can't believe you made me sit through all those names for that".

Y'know, as if this isn't the finest cinematic coda that's ever existed :P

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
It is, but see my rant*1, below.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
It does.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
It does.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
*looks over glasses*.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Still didn't hear one, and I was listening out for it this time. Although as I was even more wrapped up in the film than last time, who knows?

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
The voice of Baymax, Scott Adsit, appeared in 2010's Last Night, a film starring Keira Knightley (handmaiden Sabé in The Phantom Menace).

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Seriously Disney, you have to sort your release-schedules out. Big Hero 6 is a great movie, and you want as many people to see it as possible. As a fan of the film and a fan of cinema in general, this is also what I want. When the movie opened in the US on November 7th 2014 to critical and audience acclaim, geeks around the world took notice. This created a bit of buzz. Buzz is good. The general release date for the UK was 30th January, the best part of 3 months later.

The gap between the US and UK releases was enough to get people hyped for the film, but it was also enough for pristine copies to start appearing illegally online. What this means, in actual real financial terms, is that rather than families or groups of viewers spending £10+ each to see the film at their local multiplex, they could watch it in flawless HD at home for free, before it was even showing at the cinema. And I this is the case, because I know three separate groups of people who did just that. And these aren't 'people who never go to the cinema'; they're casual visitors who just didn't want to wait for something that everyone (including Disney) has told them is awesome.

Can I condone it? Of course not.
Can I condemn it, when I've been the one telling them how fantastic the film is after seeing it on its 'preview weekend'? Hardly.

This scenario is the very reason that global-release dates started appearing in the early 2000s. It's especially important now, as the gap between theatrical, VOD and home-releases constantly shrinks. You need to understand Disney, that most of your cinema-going audience has no particular loyalty to either the studio, the film nor the cinema itself. If the audience can save the money on the film and spend it on another outing; they'll do just that.

You know how autocomplete works, don't you Disney? It's basically an input-box's habit of remembering earlier search queries and offering the most frequent ones in response to a partially typed entry. This is the actual Google autocomplete for the UK release date of Big Hero 6:

Your may not think that your staggered release pattern is having an adverse affect on box office returns, Disney, but it's making a joke of your reputation.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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