If you have not realized by now, news flash: I AM COMPLETELY OBSESSED WITH DISNEY. The feels I feel when watching Tink fly over the castle before every movie are indescribable.
So tonight, when Le Boyfriend and I sat in a dark theatre for one of the first showings of Big Hero 6, Disney’s latest animated feature, I was beyond excited. Over the last few years I’ve become more and more interested in super heroes and heroic story arcs, so this movie definitely fit the bill when I was reading about it online.
Now before we get too far into this, let me start off by saying that this will be MILDLY spoiler-ish. So, if you don’t like the plotline being spoiled, obviously, don’t read.
Big Hero 6 centers around a protagonist unsurprisingly named Hiro, a 14-year-old who graduated high school the year before, and lives in the fictitious and futuristic San Fransokyo with his Aunt Cass (voiced by the fab Maya Rudolph) and older brother, Tadashi. Tadashi goes to a “nerd school” where he builds robots, namely our other protagonist, the health bot named Baymax (pictured above). I won’t get into super detailed plot summary because I don’t want to give away too much, but the plotline quickly digresses from Hiro attempting to get into said “nerd school” to creating a team of superheroes out of his brother’s best friends and Baymax, who basically spends the entire movie trying to rationalize armor and karate into being a health care provider.
One of the reasons this movie gave me the feels is it showed just how many genres Disney could reach with a single movie.
Gone are the days of adaptations of classic fairy tales based on gruesome moralistic stories meant to frighten kids, and here to stay are films that are clearly for the entire family.
Case and point: while I can see young boys, and girls who did not grow up like me, as part of an all girl family, enjoying this movie due to the action filled plot and hero-centric story, there were MANY jokes for the parents (and weird people like me who see children’s movies on date night) as well. For example, when Hiro is down in the dumps, Baymax diagnoses his illness as “puberty” and begins to list all the places Hiro is supposed to grow hair. Baymax is cut off by Hiro before he can say anything too explicit, but the implications for the adults in the room are obvious and hilarious.
Hiro himself is also one of the reasons I love this film. At 14, he’s already graduated high school, but is at first shown to be using his immense knowledge to battle robots instead of more productive things. When he channels the gift he’s been given, he’s able to create something MARVELOUS (you will find out what when you see it!).
As someone who took Gifted & Talented classes all through high school and was one of the youngest people in her grade, I can definitely appreciate a story centered around someone who doesn’t have a supernatural gift (AHEM FROZEN), but instead an intellectual one. Hiro is someone that kids are obviously going to look up to as a hero (pun intended), and it’s much more realistic for them to aspire to graduate early than to sprout snowflakes out of their hands or turn their mothers/siblings into bears.
Along the same lines, the female characters in BH6 are quite fantastic. Hiro’s Aunt Cass doesn’t play a huge role, but her doting personality is similar to that of Elastigirl in The Incredibles. She’s obviously trying very hard to raise two children who were placed in her care after their parents died (the cause is not revealed in the course of the movie), and it made me happy to see an extended family situation that didn’t involve one or more children stuck in a cupboard under the stairs or being left to clean while the rest of the family hightailed it to a formal.
The two primary female characters, Honey Lemon and Go Go, were rocking some serious girl power throughout the film.
Honey Lemon, while stereotypically awkward for a nerdy girl, was adorable and very hipster, with lots of Peter Pan collars and platform heels. But you see that purse? Yeah, she uses it to combine elements of the periodic table into little bubbles that create miniature chemical reactions, which she literally THROWS at villans. I mean, how cool is that? She’s a nerd, she’s a super hero, and she’s a great dresser.
Go Go grated on me a little bit at first, because she seemed, again, mildly stereotypical and very much fitting the mold of the “tough smart girl.” But she had a lot of funny lines, and one in particular that caught my attention. Whenever someone is seen whining or complaining, she tells them to “woman up” instead of “man up.” This made me giggle a little bit, partially because of a certain Betty White meme that went around a few years ago, but I liked the idea that in this futuristic world, this is a phrase used a lot. Maybe it’s projecting, but I think Disney was attempting here to create a sort of level gender situation, which they haven’t touched on much before (because typically, it’s either “OMG GIRL POWER” or “OMG SAVE ME I’M STUCK IN A TOWER AND CAN’T GET OUT).
The cultural integration of San Fransokyo was really cool to see as well, because the city blended traditional Japanese architecture, which I learned a TON about in both my Art History and World Civilizations classes this year, with the winding streets and classic style of San Francisco.
There was one scene where Hiro and Baymax are flying through the city, and I URGE you to just look at all the detail that went in to creating this beautiful work of art. I know Le Boyfriend was right there with me on being completely captivated by the beauty of it.
The city here definitely implied that in the future, cultures will be blended enough to create mash ups like San Fransokyo, which I thought was a neat idea for them to tackle.
Overall, Big Hero 6 was, in my opinion, one of the best movies Disney’s put out, as far as reaching mass audiences and managing to create yet another captivating world through animation, while portraying modern ideas and messages in a fun way.
On another, slightly unrelated note, this particular movie had the CUTEST short in front of it that left me grinning like an idiot. Here’s the trailer for the short, which you’ll only be able to see if you go out and watch Big Hero 6!