Oscar-winning animated feature film “Big Hero 6” will be available on Digital SD, DVD, On-Demand, and Blu-ray Combo Pack beginning tomorrow, February 24, 2015.
I recently sat down with the film’s cast and creators to get their thoughts on its success.
Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams are excited for the connection the film has with an international audience and the sweet satisfaction of reaching a global market. They were in Korea when they heard about the Oscar nomination and celebrated with their Korean colleagues. Williams believes their global success derives from Baymax’s character and how “he now lives outside the film, something about his purity, goodness, and selflessness that translates and people seem to be swept up in it”.
Ryan Potter, the voice of Hiro Hamada, was confident of the Oscar win because of its success in the global market. “Big Hero 6 really is different in the sense that diversity plays such a huge role and when you can relate to a film it is that much more personal and I think diversity makes it that much more relatable”.
While the inspiration for this film came from a comic book, it was never intended to be an adaptation. Hall and Williams wanted to make it an original as much as possible and “make the movie you always wanted to see when you were a kid”, so it was a “Disney film with a little Marvel DNA”. (Hall) The biggest challenge they faced for a long time was the feeling of two different stories, loss and superhero, were trying to somehow fit together. It wasn’t until they realized Baymax could be the bridge between the two and tie them nicely together.
Therefore, when the audience sees the interaction between Baymax and Hiro, the film’s message of how to deal with loss and support from friends and family help with the healing process is prominent. When asked if a sequel was in the works both Hall and Williams said no while Williams continues with, “this was a really challenging movie and story to crack and get together. It’s important to not race into the next thing, we would only do it if we thought there was something really amazing we had to do with those characters, because the last thing you want to do is tarnish the original with a sub-par sequel”.
Talking with Daniel Henney, the voice of Tadashi Hamada, and Potter about their connection with their characters, both connected with them when they saw the character design at their audition. “That’s me, I mean that was me three years ago. I was that kid that didn’t really know how to dress, had the long shaggy hair, and my mouth got me into a lot of trouble. I didn’t have to act, I just got to be myself”, says Potter. Henney adds, “For me there was something about Tadashi’s hat that was very special to me, our styles were very similar, and just some of the lines and how he talks to his brother”.
Scott Adsit, the voice of Baymax, honed in on his character’s adorable, no ego nature and the fact Baymax loves with no expectations. Adsit developed the voice for Baymax by understanding the character was benign, friendly, and huggable. Therefore, he kept it close to his own voice, a little soft, and incorporated an automated phone system rhythmic feel to it. They only variable Adsit had to incorporate involved Baymax’s low battery, “I asked, so you want a robotic sound with a drunk lilt. They said, no just be drunk, so I’m doing my best over the top drunk”.
Some of the difficulties with portraying Baymax was “imparting emotion without showing it, it was like walking a tightrope”. A filter was added to Adsit’s voice but as the film progressed the filter was dialed back until it was just his own. As this is happening, the audience can see the phases Baymax is going through. When you first meet Baymax, he is very much a baby in his mannerisms then becomes a like a brother to Hiro. Ultimately, Baymax takes on the role of a father- like figure when he is helping Hiro heal, which is symbolically shown when Baymax leaves Tadashi’s card in his fist for Hiro to find.
Adsit comments, “I think it is because he understands the process of grief, and he helps Hiro with his brother’s death. He understood how he was feeling as his healthcare provider. While he may not be able to remote, he can understand that. So he didn’t want Hiro to be alone with the loss of another family member, and found a loophole, cause it would make Hiro feel better. Everything he does, and exciting moment he chooses to do is to make Hiro feel better”.
Included in the “Big Hero 6” Blu-ray bonus features are the featurettes: “The Origin Story of Big Hero 6: Hiro’s Journey”, “Big Hero Secrets”, “Big Animator 6: The Characters Behind the Characters”. In addition there are deleted scenes, the Oscar-winning theatrical short “Feast,” and the theatrical trailer.
“Feast” director Patrick Osborne spoke about the process of creating the first of the Disney shorts program by telling a story through different dinners from the prospective of Winston, the dog. Osborne was getting tired of the straight CG animation and wanted to re-explore 2D animation.
He loved the simple, graphic look the animation had and incorporated similar style elements used in Paperman for Feast. The short had the look of illustrations incorporated over CG renderings. Since the film was through the prospective of Winston, food was displayed in the center of the frame because it was the center of the dog’s life, while the humans remained in the periphery. This short has set the tone for future Disney shorts, but it is hard to determine if the style elements will remain the same with this new program, but it looks promising.