A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Big Hero 6 is an action-packed animated adaptation of the same-titled superhero comic that's likely to attract younger kids as well as tweens/teens who are already fans of the Marvel universe. The movie is an unconventional origin story that focuses on the power of brotherhood, friendship, and using your gifts to help others. The main group of kids includes strong, smart female contributors. One of the film's main themes is about coping with grief, as the main character's beloved older brother (his only immediate family) tragically dies early in the film; Hiro's sadness may be hard for sensitive kids. Another near death is very upsetting, and there are sometimes-intense confrontations between the movie's scary supervillain and the protagonists that injure but don't kill people. On the other hand, the central robot, Baymax, was designed to heal not hurt, and his moral code influences other characters in positive ways. With its refreshingly diverse cast and uplifting message, Big Hero 6 is a captivating adventure story for the entire family.
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What's the story?
BIG HERO 6 is Disney's adaptation of the same-named Marvel comic. Set in the fictional futuristic city of San Fransokyo, the story follows 14-year-old genius Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter), who would rather spend his time fighting robots than going to school -- until his older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Tenney), shows him the marvels of his university's robotics lab, where he and his friends work on amazing projects under the tutelage of department chair Professor Callaghan (James Cromwell). Desperate to get into the program, Hiro invents microbots that can be controlled telepathically -- an invention so impressive that he's immediately accepted into the university. But just as Hiro and Tadashi are about to celebrate, a fire breaks out in the exhibit hall, killing Tadashi. All that's left of him is his inflatable robot Baymax (Scott Adsit), a cuddly "personal health companion" designed to help heal people. When Hiro discovers that his microbots weren't destroyed in the fire but are instead being controlled by a masked villain, he enlists Baymax and Tadashi's best friends -- Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), GoGo (Jamie Chung), and Fred (T.J. Miller) -- to find the masked man, who must be responsible for the fire that took his beloved brother's life.
Is it any good?
This is precisely the kind of family film that will charm little kids, teens, and even child-free adults. What Frozen was to sisterhood, Big Hero 6 is to brotherhood. Even though Hiro and Tadashi don't get the happily ever after that Anna and Elsa enjoy, this is still a story about the power of brotherly love, encouragement, and support. As the adorably wise Baymax explains to Hiro, Tadashi is still with him, even if not physically. Baymax is the movie's most unique character; he's part Mary Poppins, part Groot, all huggable marshmallowy goodness and love -- the perfect companion to broody young Hiro's jaded sense of doom about a world in which someone you love can be gone in a flash.
It's no surprise that with Marvel and Disney teaming up for this adventure, the result is a bit of Avengers-lite. The proudly nerdy ensemble includes GoGo, a feisty feminist who says "Woman up!" instead of "Man up"; gentle foodie Wasabi; perky-in-pink Honey Lemon; and comics-loving Fred, who's not a scientist himself but loves to hang out with the gang. They're all memorable supporting characters, but in the end the strength of this movie is the Hamada brothers and Baymax, who's impossible not to love. Whether he's diagnosing Hiro's problem as "puberty" or risking his life for Hiro, Baymax (and Tadashi, who created him) is the undeniable hero of Big Hero 6. You'll definitely want to see the Big Hero 6 save the day again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Big Hero 6 portrays grieving. Does Hiro's experience seem realistic? Why do we get sad when we see movie characters experiencing painful things?
Why do you think so many young movie characters are orphans? What makes Hiro different than the typical pop-culture orphan?
Did the movie make you interested in checking out the comics? For those who've already read the comics, how is the movie different? Did you like the changes the filmmakers made? Which changes were good? Which ones surprised you?
Talk about the popularity of superhero ensemble stories. Do you enjoy superhero groups like this one or Guardians of the Galaxy or The Avengers, or do you prefer solo superhero films? How is this story different from live-action superhero tales? Are they intended for the same audience?
- In theaters: November 7, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: February 24, 2015
- Cast: Jamie Chung, Genesis Rodriguez, Damon Wayans Jr.
- Directors: Don Hall, Chris Williams
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship, Robots
- Character Strengths: Courage, Curiosity, Empathy, Teamwork
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements
- Awards/Honors: Academy Award, Common Sense Seal
- Last updated: November 01, 2019
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