The first animated film to come out of Disney and Marvel's collaboration, Big Hero 6
centers on boy genius Hiro Hamada, who at 14 already possesses the engineering know-how to build incredible robots. When confronted with a terrible tragedy, Hiro uses these skills to turn his friends into a band of hi-teched out superheroes.
Our theatrical review
will weigh in on whether or not this new release is worth your time, while this column will focus solely on the film's use of 3D. Considering seven separate categories, To 3D Or Not To 3D evaluates the full scope of the 3D viewing experience. Think of it as a consumer's guide for your movie-going, complete with a viewers poll where you can weigh in on how you plan to see Big Hero 6
A CGI-animated superhero movie from a studio known for creating dedicatedly detailed film worlds? Yep, Big Hero 6
scores high here. Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams created a gorgeous setting in San Fransokyo, which combines the signature hills, bay and Golden Gate bridge of San Francisco with the Japanese architecture and colors of Toyko. This gives a great ground for 3D setups, and adding to this promise is a barrage of action scenes with plenty of explosions.
Planning & Effort Score
You can bet your rocket boots that Disney and Marvel were planning Big Hero 6
for 3D from its earliest stages. The added bonus of CG animation is that it makes it easy to pick apart the different layers to allow for a 3D feel. Plus, co-director Williams has previous experience with 3D, thanks to his helming of the 2008 animated adventure Bolt
Before the Window Score
I'm a bit notorious for being tough on this category, which is the element of 3D where bits of the movie seem to be reaching out into the theater. Though there hints of explosion debris and superhero accessories that seem to poke out a bit, Big Hero 6
offered no moments in the 3D that had me lunging back into my seat or anything.
Beyond the Window Score
Alternately, this element of 3D makes the film world seem to stretch deep beyond the theater's screen. This is where Big Hero 6
's 3D is at its best. Thoughtful shot choices introduce us to San Fransokyo as a marvel, looking deep into its rising streets, down from its heights, and up to its skyscrapers. As the movie goes on, this added depth enhances tension when Hiro creeps into a foreboding factory; and a sense of awe when the titular team wanders into a sprawling and posh mansion. Beyond that, the movie offers some exhilarating moments where the 3D enhances POV shots in car chases and flying sequences, similar to How to Train Your Dragon
. But the most engaging use of this 3D comes in the finale. To spare spoilers, I'll leave it there.
3D glasses guarantee the intended picture will be tainted with a tint of grey. So, it's up to distributors to be sure the color correct for 3D releases compensate accordingly. Big Hero 6
is a vibrant action movie full of life and color, and even that dreaded dimness of 3D glasses can't hold it down.
This is an extremely rudimentary test to show in the basest terms how much 3D you're getting on screen. Take the glasses off, and observe the blur, which will reveal the different perspective being manipulated to create the 3D effect. Big Hero 6
doesn't always make dramatic use of its 3D. For instance, some scenes offered out of focus backgrounds to pull your eye to the action in the foreground. But when tested, it didn't disappoint. Even in scenes like these, there's noticeable 3D present.
Audience Health Score
Bad 3D can be bad for you, causing headaches, eyestrain or nausea. This is typically caused by filmmakers failing to establish clear focal points, which leads to eyes drifting and bad physical side effects (some are affected more than others). Big Hero 6
is full of fast-paced action and rolling locations, but it'll never make you feel ill, as the filmmakers knew precisely what they were doing..