I have the Oscars to thank for seeing Big Hero 6 – if it weren’t nominated for Best Animated Film, I probably would not have rushed to see it. I can’t tell you why, but it didn’t catch my attention when it was being promoted. After seeing it, however, I’m glad it was nominated because it is actually a touching movie.
We start by being introduced to brothers Hiro (Ryan Potter) and Tadashi (Daniel Henney) who are being raised by their aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph). Hiro graduated high school years early but is now using his intelligence to win at bot fighting. He’s good at it, but his brother knows he could do more with his skills. Tadashi takes Hiro to the lab at his school, introduces him to Professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell) and his robot Baymax (Scott Adsit). This convinces Hiro to apply to go to the Institute by making a presentation at the upcoming robotics exhibition. There, Hiro displays his new creation: nanobots. They are controlled by whoever is wearing a corresponding band on their head and can pretty much do anything. They are a hit and he gets into the Institute, but the night ends with the exhibition hall going up in flames, killing Callaghan and Tadashi. Hiro later finds out his nanobots were stolen and creates a band of heroes to fight him: Baymax and Tadashi’s school friends Fred (TJ Miller), Go Go (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr) and Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez).
Baymax is such an endearing character. Disney is good at creating innocent, loveable robots: first WALL-E and now Baymax. He was created to be a health care robot – able to detect and heal any injury when woken by sounds of distress. He looks like a giant marshmallow, as Hiro says, but that is part of what makes him so loveable. His sole purpose is to make people feel better and be a source of comfort.
Hiro himself is relatable: he is a little reckless in his adolescence, but his actions after the death of his brother are understandable, if a bit rash at times. As a team, Hiro and Baymax bring out the best in each other. Hiro, in the wake of his brother’s death, is content to kill the man responsible; however, Baymax is a robot incapable of harming another being. Hiro gives Baymax the ability to fly to increase his fighting skills, but Baymax enjoys it as a way to better help people. In the end, Hiro learns that it does not help to kill those who have wronged you or committed a crime, rather they should be brought to justice properly. It becomes a matter of fighting violence with caring.
With this message, the movie ends with the pair having saved the day and looking towards an optimistic future. In typical fashion, Disney grabs your heart at the beginning of the movie and, by the end, teaches you to look at the world in a positive way despite the earlier hardships. Maybe that’s why, when Disney gets it right, their movies becomes some of my favorites.