Disney’s new animated film Big Hero 6 is a box office success, but the kid flick is a winner for 6 important reasons. The story line is simple: a talented boy genius named Hiro (the voice of Ryan Potter) befriends a lovable robot Baymax (the voice of Scott Adsit), created by his older brother Tadashi (the voice of Daniel Henney).
The friendship evolves unexpectedly when Hiro finds himself needing to transform himself, along with Baymax and his five friends, into superheroes to fight an evil masked villain.
Here are a few reasons parents and kids will love Big Hero 6:
1. The movie is geared to younger kids, which is a relief considering how scary many superhero films have become (think the latest Superman and Batman films). Unlike decades past, it’s almost impossible to take a child to a traditional superhero film these days due to subject matter (terrorism, mass destruction, language and sexual situations). While there are some scary situations, there is nothing in Big Hero 6 too intense for kids age six and up.
2. There’s something for every kid. The movie celebrates diversity. Hiro himself had an American father and a Japanese mother (according to a picture on the wall), one of the first biracial children to be featured as a main character in an animated film. The gang of college tech geeks he befriends are of diverse backgrounds as well, and several girls are included (which my daughter really appreciated).
3. Big Hero 6 celebrates science. A film that makes science cool is great in my book, and the setting where Baymax is created is a technical university where the students work in labs on fascinating innovations. Their inventions will help kids appreciate that science makes amazing things possible, even if these inventions are the Hollywood version of reality. What I love the most: the movie shows that science is a field open to both boys AND girls.
4. Baymax: This is a very different kind of robot. In appearance, he’s a cross between the Pillsbury Dough Boy and the Michelin Man: basically a giant marshmallow in humanoid form. In purpose, he’s all heart: his programmed mission as a robot to provide healthcare ensures that he is completely benign, non-violent, concerned for others, and totally lovable.
5. Big Hero 6 strikes an emotional chord. It doesn’t shy away from difficult issues. At least one character meets an untimely end, and it explores the grieving process in a way that resonates. Hiro’s friendship with Baymax and the college tech geeks is touching.
6. The film teaches important lessons. Almost nothing can cause Baymax to stray from his benign purpose. Yet an important lesson in this film is that amazing inventions can be used for bad purposes. The importance of using technology responsibly is one of the best takeaways from this film.
Overall there’s enough action, characterization and dialogue in Big Hero 6 to keep parents entertained as well. The only downside of the film is the obvious way it sets itself up for a sequel, a flaw most movies based on comic books are guilty of these days. Disney is also obviously keen on creating the next generation of Marvel fans and the accompanying marketing bonanza, but these somewhat glaring elements can be forgiven in light of how entertaining Big Hero 6 is.