This time last year, Walt Disney Animation Studios was gearing up to release the film that would send kids and families all over the world into what can only be described as a Frozen frenzy. As the must-see family film of the decade, Frozen was a hard act to top … but Disney has done it, and this time, with a robot.
Big Hero 6 is based loosely on the Marvel comic of the same name. I say “loosely” because the only traces of the original comic books are in the main characters’ names. Everything else is a touch of pixie dust magic and some awesome storytelling from directors Don Hall and Chris Williams. Take it from me, Big Hero 6 isn’t just another animated movie, it’s all your kids will be talking about for the next several months.
Here’s a little overview for parents — and why it’s a must-see.
1. Baymax the Lovable Bot.
Sure we’ve seen robots before, but we’ve never met one quite like Baymax. The giant white bot is a Healthcare Companion designed to care about your well-being. He is huggable, intelligent, funny, and an unlikely hero. He bears enough emotion to make you fall in love with him, but without losing his robotic manner or believability throughout the film. Warning to parents everywhere – Baymax will be at the top of all your kid’s holiday lists (but I call dibs on the real one).
2. Diversity, and It’s a Non-Issue
As a Latina mom of a 7-year-old girl, I am constantly looking for entertainment my daughter can watch that doesn’t stereotype other cultures or how girls should look and act. Big Hero 6 does neither. Not only are the characters ethnically and gender-diverse, but the film doesn’t make it a big deal. Even though it has brag-worthy credentials with Asian, African-American and Latin protagonists, and a voice cast as diverse as the animation itself, starring the likes of Scott Adsit (Baymax), Ryan Potter (Hiro), Daman Wayans, Jr. (Wasabi), Jamie Chung (Go Go), Génesis Rodríguez (Honey Lemon), and T.J. Miller (Fred) — there’s no pointing out “HEY, WE’RE DIVERSE” in an over-the-top accent or stereotype. Diversity without being diverse, that’s sort of like, oh, being normal.
3. Honest Depiction of Grief (in a Way Kids Can Understand)
A common theme in animated films is the main character losing or having lost someone close to them such as in Bambi, The Lion King, How to Train Your Dragon 2, etc. But these films neglect to deal with how the protagonist works through tough emotions related to loss and grief. In Big Hero 6, Hiro and his brother lost their parents 10 years prior, but it’s not until Tadashi’s untimely passing that Hiro’s emotional journey truly begins. While the content may be sensitive for younger children, it doesn’t shock you and leave you to pick up the pieces. Many of the film’s most exciting and humorous scenes (not to mention tear-jerking moments) are with Hiro’s personal journey and the steps that Baymax takes to help him process his loss. It’s a tough subject to discuss in general, but the filmmakers did it a beautiful service without washing over the harshness.
4. Big Hero 6 Makes STEM Cool
Too often in movies, whoever makes the most things go KA-BOOM wins the race. While Big Hero 6 has some pretty packed action scenes, it also has science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to back up each explosion. The team of self-described “nerds” that attend the leading “nerd school” are the superheroes who protect the visually stunning city of San Fransokyo. Each team member uses their own strength of engineering, chemistry, robotics, and their “big brains” to face off against the masked villain Yokai. These characters prove that being smart and being a good friend are the keys to being a hero.
5. Girls Are Scientists AND Superheroes
This is not a princess movie, but that doesn’t mean that girls of all ages won’t be drawn to these amazing female characters. Honey Lemon and Go Go Tomago are smart, funny, stylish and just plain awesome. Honey Lemon is an enthusiastic chemist with a sweet demeanor and Go Go is the sassy, strong-willed adrenaline junkie with a brain for speed. They may not wear crowns, but these girls definitely rule. My daughter has trouble deciding which of the two she wants to be, so she told me she’s going to study science and be a superhero because Go Go and Honey need another girl on their team. Hey, who am I to stop her?
and last but not least…
6. This isn’t another Frozen soundtrack situation
You’ll be able to enjoy the music without worrying that you’re going to hear the same song on repeat for the next year. Not that we don’t love “Do You Want To Build a Snowman,” but it’s probably time to let it go (ha) already.
Full of action, heart, comedy, and the depth that parents have been begging for – Big Hero 6 is the kind of film that will revolutionize animated storytelling for years to come. Trust me, this is not one to miss.
Big Hero 6 opens in theaters everywhere on November 7th.