Big Hero 6: A Huge Win for Nerds + Diversity

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Big Hero 6: A Huge Win for Nerds + Diversity
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!

The Red Card: Revisited

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The Red Card: Revisited

A couple years ago I posted my first horror short story, “The Red Card.” To kick start my readings I’m doing for Patreon, I decided to read the story. I’ve re-posted the story below in case you want to read along or read it for yourself again (or for the first time).  If you enjoy the story, consider sponsoring me at Patreon. Happy Halloween everyone!


Download the PDF version of this story here! 

 

Creative Commons License
The Red Card by Sheenah Freitas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


 

The Red Card

 

They say that when the sun disappears, the monster comes out. No one is safe in this little town. On the outside, we appear to be perfect. But if visitors ever knew what we do to keep the monster in check…What we do to keep the monster from escaping…We would be labeled the monsters.

Today is the day of the red card. Whoever receives it has been chosen to be sacrificed. The monster’s hunt is the only time when its hunger is ever sated.

No one has returned from the hunt alive.

The townsfolk are tense. One by one, they sigh with relief when no card is found. But relief changes to worry. Who will they say goodbye to?

You look in your mailbox and spot the red card. Your hand hovers over it. Many have broken down. But not you. You’ll go with dignity. Snatching it, you show everyone the honor that’s been bestowed upon you.

They look at you with pity and relief that they are spared for another month. Tonight before sunset, a supper will be held in your honor. Like Tom Sawyer, you’ll sit in at your own funeral.

The night is perfect for hunting. Everyone hurries home. Nobody wants to get the monster’s attention for next time.

It starts in the middle of the woods behind town. The moon is full. The hair on your arms begins to rise. Everything is silent.

You close your eyes and feel your heartbeat. It could be your last.

A whiff of vanilla and rusty metal is carried in the wind. You look around. A dark shadow moves. You take a step back. The smell is stronger now, and you realize the smell isn’t rusty metal—but blood. The vanilla must have come from the last victim.

Adrenaline flows through you and you flee as far as you can. You dare to look behind you. Nothing. The smell is overpowering. The mass crosses your peripheral. There is only time to run.

The night wears on. The monster is silent except for a hissing sound like air escaping from a tire.

You stop to catch your breath. The night is almost over and the monster is desperate to catch you. You lean against a tree. The silence is overwhelming—too overwhelming.

A hiss emanates from behind you. Perhaps if you stay still, the monster will pass.

A second passes.

Your body craves rest. Did the others feel like this? Were their hearts caught in their throats? Were their deaths quick and painless or slow and painful?

You try to slow your breathing. The last victim made it to town before the monster caught her. Everyone tried to forget the sound of her screams.

A clammy, leathery hand snatches your arm. You see the eyes of the monster—the thing—boring into your own. You punch and claw out of its reach. Surprised, it releases you.

You run.

The town is up ahead and soon, the night will be over. You will become a legend.

Your house is around the corner; your heart swells with hope.

This is it. The end.

It doesn’t follow.

You bolt for your room; wanting, needing sleep. Collapsing onto your bed, you glance at the clock.

Two minutes until sunrise.

The monster would never enter town. There isn’t enough time to return to wherever it comes from.

You close your eyes. The townsfolk will be surprised.

A hiss slithers in your ear.

A dark mass jumps upon you as you open your eyes.

There is no time to scream.

New Release

An Ode to Autumn: A Season of Change

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An Ode to Autumn: A Season of Change

An Ode to Autumn: A Season of ChangeI took part in another anthology published by one of the online writer groups I’m a member of. The leader of the group, Linell Jeppsen, wanted to put together an anthology in celebration of all things autumn! I think autumn is a wonderful season. You get to break out the sweaters, tights, knee socks, and everything is pumpkin flavored! But there’s also a sort of somberness about autumn. Maybe it’s because everyone is starting to stay in after being outside all summer long or maybe there’s something about autumn that makes us reminisce a little bit more.

The stories and poems all range from the spooky (for Halloween) to the fantastic and everything in between.

I wrote a brand new short story (just a couple hundred words over a flash fiction, really) that hits upon the reminiscent aspect of autumn. It’s called “Memories” and you can read it in this anthology first.

Guest Post with Andrea Buginsky

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Fate by Andrea Buginsky Blog Tour Banner

I’m a tour host for Andrea Buginsky’s blog tour for Fate, her latest release! Stick around until to the end to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Fate!


Song List
(Guest Post by Andrea Buginsky)

When I read posts by authors, I see a lot of them adding those playlists: a list of songs they listened to while writing their books. I always thought this was a neat idea, and have wanted to do it myself. There’s only one problem: I don’t listen to any particular playlist while I’m writing. I listen to Pandora. Most of the time, I listen to Soft Rock Radio, but lately, I’ve also enjoyed Summer Hits of the ‘80s. And during the holidays I love Christmas Radio.

But there are some songs that I absolutely love more than others. A lot of times, when these songs come on, I have to go over to YouTube to listen to them over and over. So, although I don’t have a “playlist” I can share with you, I do have a “favorites” list.

A Thousand Years by Christina Perry

This is one of my favorite songs. Ever since I saw Breaking Dawn, Part 2. There’s something about the words and the music that just makes my heart soar. I think what really hooked me on it was where it was played in the movie: the end credits. Most people ignore them, but I couldn’t; at least, not the beginning of the credits. I am mesmerized every time I watch them and see the actual pages of the wonderful books the saga is based on, along with the entire cast from all four movies. I get goose bumps!

Ever, Ever After by Carrie Underwood

Another movie I love! Enchanted shows what would happen if the princes and princesses from Disney fairytales came to our world. Only, it not only portrays how strangely they’re looked at, but how strange we are to them. We could certainly learn a lot from them. Ever, Ever After tells us everything we need to know from fairytales: to live our lives chasing our dreams and making them come true. It totally fits my own motto! Reach for the stars, and make your dreams come true.

Yentl Medley by Barbara Streisand

When I first saw this performance, I broke out in goose bumps and tears; and I still do every time I hear it. Barbara Streisand is a beautiful singer, and Yentl is a movie I have loved since I was a kid. The songs tell a wonderful story all on their own. Blending them into one medley allows me to listen to a few of my favorites. But then there’s the icing on the cake: while Streisand sings the song, the movie is playing in the background, with the soundtrack on. You might think that’s strange: why would Streisand sing with herself? Because of how she sings with herself. She harmonizes. Anyone who knows music will understand what I’m saying. If you don’t, listen and you’ll see what I mean. What an incredible performance!

Your Wildest Dreams by the Moody Blues

I’m not sure how to explain this song: I don’t have an old boyfriend I’m pining over, I really don’t. I married my first love :) But growing up, I daydreamed a lot, and created characters via imaginary friends. So, I guess this song brings me back to my imaginary boyfriend *blushes*. Anyone who has a first love to look back on will understand the meaning behind this song. You love the person you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life with more than anything, and wouldn’t trade him or her for the world. But first love; nothing will ever replace that piece of your heart.

So, that’s my song list. I have other favorites I could listen to over and over. I’m sure some of my readers are shocked that (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life is not on the list. That song is in a category all its own :) Now, if you’ll pardon me, I must go back and listen to the songs again (and again, and again…).


Fate by Andrea BuginskyElena Baxter’s second year at New Avalon may be more challenging than her first. The demons she was warned about show up, a visitor who greatly affects her arrives, and her best friend, Izzy, has to deal with her painful past. Can Elena survive everything that’s coming at her at once? Or will the future Lady of the Lake take on more than she can possibly handle?

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Andrea BuginskyAndrea Buginsky is a freelance writer with a BA in Mass Communication-Journalism from the University of South Florida. She has always wanted to be a published writer, and decided to try to write children’s fantasy books. The Chosen is her first book, and was released on December 14, 2010, to her delight.
Andrea has written four more books since:

  • My Open Heart, an autobiography of growing up with heart disease.
  • Nature’s Unbalance: The Chosen, Book 2
  • Destiny: New Avalon, book 1, a YA fantasy
  • Fate: New Avalon, book 2, a YA fantasy

She is currently editing the third book of The Chosen series, and writing the fourth.

Andrea lives in Kansas with her family, which includes her two precious puppies.

Find more about her at the following places: Official website/blog | Facebook | Google+ | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

The Giveaway

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Once is Frozen

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Once is Frozen

Once Upon a Time is Frozen TeaserOnce upon a time ago, I wrote a blog post about Frozen (okay, it wasn’t so that long, but bear with me). I mentioned that the movie was better than I thought. Which is true. What I didn’t mention was I am not in love with the movie like the rest of the world. Yeah, the songs are catchy. Yeah, the animation is pretty. Yeah, the sisters save themselves. But if you stop and really think of it, the story is just okay; I felt like the script could’ve been tighter. I’m not here to go into all the things I have a problem with in regards to the movie. I’m here to write about the season premiere of Once Upon a Time.

I think I’ve mentioned in one blog that I watch the series and I think it’s all kinds of magical. Which is true. I love how they take fairy tales, sometimes even obscure ones, and twist them into something completely refreshing. Because Disney owns ABC, it seems logical that most of the fairy tale characters they tackle are going to be darker, more complex versions of Disney’s take on them. Case in point: Snow White and The Evil Queen. That’s totally fine because I think Disney is our new benchmark for what those characters should look like and how they should act like.

I think it’s fair to say that season 1 was stellar. Season 2 was just as magical and omg-worthy. And then we hit a sort of a bump in season 3. I felt like it was implied that Marian died from some sort of an illness. Maybe she didn’t. Maybe the writers have some grand scheme in store for Marian being in the way of Regina’s happiness. Who knows? And then there’s Mulan, Aurora, and Prince Phillip. It’s also implied that Mulan is bisexual (exciting!) but then their story just drops off a cliff. Will we ever know what happened? How did Phillip come back to life? Didn’t he die or something from a wraith or whatever it was? And what happened to Mulan? THESE ARE QUESTIONS I NEED ANSWERED.

Once is FrozenSo. Season 4. I thought it was a cute episode (OMG RUMPEL AND BELLE.) but the one major thing I had with the episode was the one thing they were banking on for an entire year: Frozen. And here’s why. Ana and Elsa are exactly like the characters they were in the movie. They even made it a point to make the actresses look like the characters and threw in every single Frozen thing possible sans Olaf, for whatever reason. Maybe because they could only create one bad CGI snowman per episode? I was really hoping they were going to take elements of the original fairy tale and use it to make Ana and Elsa darker or just something a little different. Maybe they will. It would appear that the writers took the liberty of skewing some of the things that happened in the movie, like Ana didn’t seem to get hit as a child by Elsa and Elsa didn’t have to be all “conceal, don’t feel” and it would also appear that everyone has always been well aware of her powers. I don’t know how OUaT Ana and Kristoff met if they didn’t go on a harrowing mission to retrieve an Elsa who ran away from home, so maybe they’ll explain that. And the important thing is the whole dead parents thing. For whatever reason Ana and Elsa’s parents had to travel to the Enchanted Forest for reasons that involved Elsa, but in the beginning, they wrote a letter as the ship was about to capsize and placed it in a bottle in the hopes that the letter would make it Arendelle (spoiler alert: it didn’t). Maybe this means we’ll see Ariel again because anything sea related means mermaids! And is it sad that I was secretly hoping the OUaT writers would at least acknowledge the Disney theory that Ana and Elsa’s parents are actually Tarzan’s parents? I’m going to hold out hope that the letter the queen wrote is something like, “You have to know: I’m pregnant with your brother.” Just a reason to bring Tarzan into the mix. But I digress.

I’m really hoping OUaT is going to really utilize the Frozen-universe and really, really go into depth with the characters. Explore all the things that weren’t said in the movie! Don’t just use this show to be a sequel to the movie. I don’t want them to say, “Well, this is okay because this is popular right now.” I want them to really put in their best effort with this. Don’t just go for okay. Anyone can do okay. I could do okay. The guy across the street can do okay. But these writers were the people in charge of Lost and they’ve done some fantastic writing with OUaT  so far. I know what they’re capable of. Writers should never settle for okay. They should always strive for great. Don’t do what you did in Lost  and just drop some story lines because you didn’t even know where you were going with it. Explore every possible character arc to see where it could take you. And seriously: Give me my lost storyline with Mulan and Aurora and Phillip!

And one more thing: If you’re going to start incorporating Disney stuff and not change them, can we get some Marvel heroes thrown in the mix? Because Groot would be fabulous talking to the Giant (I forget his name, but he’s played by the same guy who played Hurley in Lost). Maybe they can grow some magic beans together! Think of the possibilities!