Big Heartwarming 6
By: Meg Humphrey
Big Hero 6 has been overlooked and underhyped. There are no princesses or power ballads, but it’s the best animated movie in several years and let me tell you why.
Big Hero 6 is diverse. The main characters are a mix of ethnicities living in the city of San Fransokyo. In the comic, everyone is Japanese(ish), but Disney made the choice to include Korean, African American, and Hispanic roots in their main characters. Takashi and Hiro (both voiced by Asian American men) are orphans like many Disney heroes, but they have a loving and supportive Aunt who is their parent figure. It also shows Tadashi and Hiro’s friends becoming their family. This spoke to me to me saying that nontraditional families can still be wonderful places to grow up – a message sorely lacking thanks to the evil step parent or animal sidekick tropes. Although 50% of the team being women would have been better, the two women who make up Big Hero 6 are strong characters. They have their own passions and personalities. They’re not love interests of waifs to be saved. They are equal players and hold their own as well as anyone else.
They bring up the importance of health care, including mental health. Baymax isn’t just programmed for physical ills; when Hiro is suffering with the loss of Tadashi, Baymax analyzes his mental state. How you’re feeling emotionally is just as important as a cut or broken bone. Baymax also doesn’t force any kind of treatment on Hiro. He tells him what can help, gives him a hug, and alerts his friends know what’s going on. He’s supportive, but not overbearing. He lets Hiro heal in his own time.
Everything in the movie is possible thanks to SCIENCE. I’m not especially inclined toward STEM topics, but I left the theater wishing I could go back to college and major in biology. There isn’t a gender bias or race bias, it’s just young adults who are passionate and creative. While watching Big Hero 6 I kept thinking “so many kids are going to want to pursue science!” I also enjoyed the inclusion of Fred, who is a science enthusiast but doesn’t do any of the science himself. It’s a good message for people to realise that science and scientists are doing important and groundbreaking work and to support them. Rather than wishing to become royalty or have something magical happen to you, this movie encourages people to learn and build things using their hearts and their brains. One day someone is going to be able to build this sort of technology. Someone is going to want to make the world better because they saw Big Hero 6.
Big Hero 6 has so much heart, it leaves me emotionally compromised every time I think about it. When you watch it, there will be something you can relate to and make it personal for you. I would love to live in San Fransokyo and be part of a future where diversity and science is as celebrated, but as ordinary as it is in this movie. Show this movie to your friends and family or really anyone who’ll listen to you. They’ll be satisfied with their care.