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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Graduate P Shaylee Ackerman (10) pitches during Texas A&Ms game against Valpo on Feb. 10, 2024 at Davis Diamond.
Holding down the house
February 22, 2024
Graduate P Shaylee Ackerman (10) pitches during Texas A&Ms game against Valpo on Feb. 10, 2024 at Davis Diamond.
Holding down the house
February 22, 2024

New kind of Disney hero

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As an Aggie, Big Hero 6 is a must see. Not just for the well-developed plot and enjoyable characters, but for the support of something A&M is so well-known for — engineering.
The film, which opened in theaters Friday, tells the story of Hiro Hamada, a 14-year-old orphan (no surprises there Disney) with an affinity for “bot fighting.” His brother Tadashi is also into technology, although he studies at the prestigious science institute, something he encourages his genius brother to apply for. Hiro is convinced until his brother is killed in an accident, sending him into a sadness that keeps him in his room alone.
But in the movie, there is a diverse cast of characters to keep Hiro company. The first is Baymax, a health robot designed to assist patients. This loveable character had members of the audience laughing, kids and adults alike. Then there’s Hiro’s four new friends, two girls and two boys, all of whom are interested in science, specifically engineering and chemistry. The cast is multicultural, another refreshing attribute and the one that the movie is getting the most positive reviews about.
This movie made STEM look cool, period. And with the entire nation working to increase children’s interest in STEM careers, this movie couldn’t have come at a better time. While there have been hints about promoting scientific fields in Disney, Vanellope in Wreck-it Ralph, Big Hero 6 takes it to whole new level. The inventions the kids make keep the movie’s action moving and the creators took full advantage of the animated world to make the creations as eye catching as possible. The film shows the audience that STEM is so much more than long mathematical equations and professionals in lab coats. In a society that is struggling to show diverse STEM role models for the next generation, perhaps kids movies aren’t such a bad place to start.
The movie dubs the university “nerd school,” and at one point during the movie, a kid asked his parent why that was. Big Hero 6 represented a much more realistic view of what a “nerd” really is, a person who has a talent in a scientific field which can in fact be amazingly cool.
The film falls short when it comes to representations of women. While the two main female characters are written well and do show off the fact that women can be just as talented as men, they cover only two extremes. One is very tough all the time while the other is easily excitable. While the characters are highly loveable, their personalities are static, which makes their actions more predictable than the others.
For now, audiences will have to wait for Disney to put a multi-faceted female into a hero costume.
One thing that Disney does with this movie is display characters who are not perfect. Each character has their quirks, those small traits that suddenly make them much more human. The teenagers are people that could exist in real life, something that hopefully the kids in the theater recognize.
Culturally, the animation blends together two very different societies in a way that that is not seen in the segregated reality of America. San Fransokoyo blends together Japanese and Western culture in ways both subtle and obvious. The Golden Gate stands proudly with a distinct Japanese flair to it. For dinner one night, the family eats chicken wings with a side of Japanese rice ball. There are references that show the two cultures have melded together perfectly and it’s not weird.
Unlike America’s current trend of pushing different cultural groups into their own neighborhoods, Big Hero 6 throws it all together into a true melting pot. It blends so well that you don’t even catch it all unless someone is paying attention.
Emotionally, the movie challenges itself in a way Disney hasn’t in previous films. When a loved one dies, children’s movies are quick to move on to the story so that the young audience forgets watching a parent die. But in Big Hero 6, the writers don’t let the audience forget. They bring it up over and over again. In fact, emotions of grief are what drive Hiro in the movie to the point that he makes rash decisions that a 14-year-old boy should never have to make.
Overall, the movie is successful in bringing a breath of fresh air for Disney, setting it on par with DreamWorks and Pixar thematically, perhaps for the first time in a while.
Graphic by Frederica Shih

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