How Educational is Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6’?
Disney’s new movie, Big Hero 6 is an action-packed comedy-adventure about a gifted robotics prodigy, Hiro Hamada, and his inflatable robot, Baymax. After a terrible turn of events, Hiro is forced out of his room and into the streets of San Fransokyo. Thanks to the help of his like-minded friends, the band of high-tech heroes solve the mystery, and save their city.
Opens: Friday, November 7, 2014
Producer: Roy Conli
Run time: 1 hour 48 minutes
Big Hero 6 is based on characters from Marvel Comics and is brought to us by the team who previously created Frozen and Wreck-it Ralph. Don Hall also directed The Emperor’s New Groove, The Princess and the Frog and Tarzan, and Chris Williams directed Bolt, The Emperor’s New Groove and Mulan. Producer, Roy Conli, is known for Tangled, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Treasure Planet.
Like other Disney movies, Big Hero 6 has a PG rating and is geared toward an older teen/tween audience than most of Disney’s animated films. Critics have called the movie “for boys what Disney’s Frozen is for its young female audience.”
Is Big Hero 6 educational?
Hiro is a 14-year-old genius who has already graduated from high school, and his older brother, Tadashi, encourages him to pursue higher education at the same college he attends to create new technology to better mankind.
Tadashi shows Hiro his project, Baymax, an inflatable health-care robot. After meeting Baymax and Tadashi’s classmates, Hiro decides he wanted to attend the “nerd school,” and creates his own innovative technology, autobots, to gain admission. Shortly thereafter, an unfortunate chain of events occurs, and Hiro is left reclusive and grief-stricken. Luckily, Baymax senses Hiro’s emotional and physical pain, and springs into action.
The key themes deal with grief and loss, and how kids learn to cope in the midst of these emotions. Best of all, the marshmallow-looking robot, Baymax, is huggable and funny. He’s a great role model for kids as he is designed to heal, not harm. The film also celebrates intelligence, creativity, scientific exploration, ingenuity and classroom camaraderie.
The film was also released with an educational press kit with different science experiments for each character.
Will my family like Big Hero 6?
The biggest concern some parents might have is that — spoiler alert — Hiro experiences the death of a loved one, not once but twice, and each loss feels so heavy, it will tug at the heartstrings of anyone with half a soul. There are also early scenes of mischief in the form of gambling, sneaking out, tossing a cat up the stairs and even being thrown in jail. Not to mention, when Hiro pursues revenge, he risks his own life and the lives of his friends. In the end, he learns a valuable lesson about letting go of self-destructive emotions, thanks to Baymax.
Overall, Big Hero 6 won’t cause much concern for parents and offers a clean, fun and emotional outing to the theater that every member of the family will likely enjoy. Not only did the film beat Interstellar in the box office its opening weekend, but it’s also one of the best-for-all-ages movies I’ve seen in a long time.
Images © Disney
Brittany Marklin is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a community manager for K12. She coordinates all K12 student contests and connects with families who pursue online education. She attended George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, with a minor in tourism and events management. Brittany spent her first five years at K12 on the social media team where she aided with content and strategy for multiple channels, and helped construct K12’s user-generated content site, “What’s Your Story?” When she’s not working, Brittany loves spending time with her husband and daughter in North Carolina.