Big Hero 6: A Huge Win for Nerds + Diversity

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Big Hero 6 film Poster

“Big Hero 6 (film) poster” by Disney Blog. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Big Hero 6 (film) via Wikipedia

I saw Big Hero 6 last weekend and I’m going to just come right out and say it: Best movie since The Lion King. Take that Disney marketing team! Because we all know that Disney adding that tagline to Frozen’s trailers was the sole reason why so many people went out to see it.

ANYWHO. Back to my statement. Best movie since The Lion King. Though there have been a number of movies that Disney has produced that have a likeable cast of characters and interesting stories, Big Hero 6 packs a punch in terms of story and character likeability. Though I liked Frozen, there were some plot and character issues I had with it, though I did appreciate that the bonds of sisterhood were the things that ultimately saved them. As for Big Hero 6, they had everything in a movie that I’ve always wanted to see in a Disney movie since I was a kid.

One huge thing I was surprised to see was a bi-racial character. It’s one thing to see a racially diverse character in a film, it’s another thing entirely to see a bi-racial character in a film. And the thing is, Disney didn’t go out of their way to make it a huge deal. In some books and movies, they’ll flat out say, “OH. THIS CHARACTER IS BI-RACIAL/RACIALLY DIVERSE.” and the proceed to make them as stereotypical as possible. Disney didn’t do that. The only clue that Hiro and Tadashi Hamada were even bi-racial was their Aunt Cass. I’ve seen some people complain that Hiro and Tadashi SHOULD have looked more like a mix, but I think the way they look is fine. I’ve been around a lot of half-Asians (notably half-Koreans) and a lot of them looked 100% Asian. It happens. My brother, who’s bi-racial himself, happens to look like a mix, leaning more toward Caucasian rather than Korean.

Why diversity is important. Snagged from Walt Disney Confessions Tumblr.

Why diversity is important. Snagged from Walt Disney Confessions Tumblr.

Like all of Disney’s racially diverse films, you have characters acting like people. Nobody was stereotypically anything. One might say, “Well, Hiro is a prodigy!” And sure, they had the smart Asians in the film, but it didn’t define them like it defines so many Asian characters in film and books. No one even bats an eye anymore when they see the uber smart, uber nerdy glasses-wearing Asian boy/girl who’s always talking with big words and knows the answer to every. Single. Math. Question. Ever. Because guess what? I really don’t know the answer to every single math question. I don’t even know the answer to every single trivia question one might ask me. Math was never my forte. In fact, math was my WEAKEST subject in school (not that my fellow classmates ever believed me, but whatever).

Not only is Big Hero 6 the most racially diverse animated film since forever in terms of character, but the cast itself was almost spot-on with their characters. One might say Jamie Chung was a bad casting choice for GoGo Tomago because Tomago sounds like a Japanese surname, not a Korean one (which is true). Jamie’s gotten a lot of flack for being cast as Mulan in Once Upon a Time (I’ve heard people complain, “Why not cast a Chinese actress??”) and that this was just an oversight on someone’s part because “All Asians look alike!” But in all fairness, I’ve seen the same casting happen in Asian films. Korea, Japan, and China have all, at some point, cast an actor/actress outside of their nationalities to play their own nationality. It’s just like in America. We cast non-Irish/non-whatever white culture white person to play whatever white culture we want them to play. Besides, Jamie Chung has been slowly growing on me (after I’ve forgotten about her playing in the Dragonball movie) and I thought she was a great choice for GoGo. There’s also been some question into the casting for Honey Lemon who was voiced by Genesis Rodriguez. People have been questioning, “Does that mean Honey Lemon is actually a Latina?” The answer: probably. Should she have been changed to a darker complected character then? Probably, but again, Latinas can be fair complected, too with blonde hair (Cameron Diaz, anyone?). Though I do hope that Disney does at some point present a darker complected Latina princess. I don’t think Disney has outright said what Honey Lemon’s ethnicity is, just like Disney hasn’t outright said what everybody’s ethnicity is. They haven’t made a big deal about it. They’re just looking at them as characters. No biggie.

Big Hero 6 Characters

The characters of Big Hero 6. Snagged from Movie Pilot.

Which brings me to the second major win of this movie: the girls. The girls are both scientists, to some degree. GoGo seems to be an engineer guru. Honey Lemon is some sort of chemist, I think. She knows everything there is to know about chemicals and what mixes with what will create whatever she needs. GoGo is the tough-as-nails female; she doesn’t need a guy to define her and her favorite quote is to “Woman up!” I have to admit, I really really like how she seems so modern thinking in that women are just as capable as men in a lot of aspects. Honey Lemon is pretty girlie, but that doesn’t mean she’s not as strong or capable. Both girls are strong in their own right and just because a girl is girlie doesn’t make her less strong. She just likes feminine things and that’s okay and they both make such great role models for girls who might be interested in pursuing a science/math career.

My favorite thing of the movie though might be Baymax. Just like The Mother in How I Met Your Mother, Baymax is instantly loveable. He has every single aspect of likeability to him. I think the only way a person could NOT like Baymax was if they just hate everything. He, though a robot, springboards Hiro’s character development and plot so much that this movie just would not exist without him.

Also: Just look at the character study in this one small scene!

Have you seen Big Hero 6 yet? What was your favorite part? Sound off in the comments!

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