Big Hero 6 opened this weekend to big numbers and critical acclaim. I watched it yesterday with my sisters, and I just can't stress enough why it was such a great film and worth the money to go see. These are just a couple of reasons that come to mind that I thought I would share.
Despite its reputation, Disney has faced stiffed competition in recent years from other animation studios in terms of CGI quality. Unlike their last animated film Frozen which stuck to more uniform color palettes, BH6 explodes with color in every frame. The film also takes what could be a cheesy idea (combining Tokyo and San Francisco into one city?) and executes it beautifully. By taking traditional Japanese style architecture and combining it with all the best idiosyncracies that San Francisco is famous for (At one point Hiro's aunt complains about closing her cafe on "Beat poetry" night), they create a new world that is both excitingly different and altogether familiar. As someone from the Bay Area, I couldn't help but grin with delight when during one of the many chase scenes I could see the San Fransokyo version of the TransAmerica building standing in the cityscape.
2. SUPER HEROES BASED ON SCIENCE!
As some reviews have already highlighted, one of the great things about this film is not only do the characters gain their powers through their own scientific creativity and ingenuity, but the focus STAYS there. Rather than being born with mutant powers or gaining them through a freak accident, Hiro and the other characters use their intelligence and passion for academia to save the day. Now I know what you're thinking, technically Iron Man and Batman both use technology as their super power as well -- but Tony Stark is more of a narcissist megalomaniac (or maybe I'm just thinking of RDJ lol) and Batman is a lot more like billion-dollar military research than innovative science. It might sound very "Parent TV Council" of me to say this but I think it's great that kids can watch a movie that encourages them to do well in school in order to be heroes.
3. POC DIVERSITY/REPRESENTATION
Now I know this issue has been talked about before, and you may choose to disagree with me on this, but I still find the diversity in the characters AND casting very refreshing. Just to address some things: I get that we still have bones to chew over changing the original cast from ALL Asian to some Asians, and no, adding a black character doesn't make up for that because those are two separate types of representations. Despite those two things, the cast is still much more diverse than typical mainstream fare, while also being set in a modern backdrop where race does not play a part in shaping any of the characters' personality traits (as is common in a lot of movies, even if they're trying to be harmless... Though I do wish Gogo had gotten away from the "Asian girl with dyed hair trope")
But more so than the actual characters, I also think it's awesome that they also chose POC to voice POC.
Hapa Hiro is also played by irl Hapa Ryan Potter. (Is it just me, or is there something weird about this kid's face? Like it's made of plastic or something!)
Older brother Tadashi is played by perfect human Daniel Henney.
I'm going to add this one in, too for good measure.
Gogo is voiced by Jamie Chung.
Wasabi is played by everyone's favorite New Girl actor Daman Wayans.
Honey Lemon is voiced by American-Venezuelan-Cuban actress Genesis Rodriguez. (There's ongoing debate as to whether Honey Lemon's character is supposed to be Latina. I honestly didn't think of it when I watched the film, but her character is supposed to be fluent in English, Japanese, and Spanish.)
3. AWESOME FEMALE HEROES
Maybe it's sad that this makes me so happy -- but I thought it was great that not only do we have TWO girl superheroes, but one of them is POC, and neither of them have any romantic subplot associated with their characters (though I doubt that will stay the same in subsequent sequels). Also both girls are hardcore science nerds, and never at any point is there a comment made about them being girls who do science. Honey Lemon is especially great for being unabashedly feminine (the girl eats, sleeps, and breathes PINK!) while still pursuing her nerd tendencies, say compared to normalized attitudes about "smart" women that we see in TV shows like Big Bang Theory (barf) and Bones. Also, I'm still not over Gogo's character telling Wasabi to "Woman up!" when he complains about being scared.
5. HEROES THAT PROMOTE PACIFISM
Though I've talked about him the least so far, there is something incredibly lovable and awesome about Baymax in the same way I loved Wall-E when that film came out 6 years ago. Baymax is a "healthcare provider" before he is an action hero, and I loved that the writers made efforts to emphasize this throughout the film. Being mindful of peoples' well-beings expands to more than just their physical states as well, and I think (at least for people like me who read waaaaaay too much into films) it was a nice way to shed light on the importance of mental health, because how we feel on the inside matters just as much as the outside. Baymax teaches a really important lesson that I hope kids will take away with them when they watch this movie. And considering the number of kids I saw in the theatre last night crying along with me, it seems like they are.
Source: Google Images and all commentary by me
Overall, I kind of feel like Disney is hitting its stride again with animated films in the same vein of the Disney Renaissance back in the 90s. And if you can't tell, I'm pretty obsessed with this movie right now! Thoughts, ontd? Have I convinced you to go see it?!