In San Fransokyo, Hiro Hamada, a young genius tearaway, is pulled onto the right track by his older brother, Tadashi, and his friends at a prestigious school for highly intelligent youngsters. When tragedy strikes, Hiro finds solace in a huge medical robot that his brother created called Baymax. When he discovers that one of his own inventions has been stolen and is being used for evil, Hiro repurposes Baymax to be able to fight and recruits his new friends to help him.

Big Hero 6 (2014) – Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams

Is Big Hero 6 appropriate for kids

“Big Hero 6 (film) poster” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Big_Hero_6_(film)_poster.jpg#/media/File:Big_Hero_6_(film)_poster.jpg

Rating: PG

Running Length: 102 mins

Starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Daniel Henney

Genre: Animated, Comedy

REVIEW

Based upon the Marvel creation of the same name, ‘Big Hero 6’ follows the exploits of Hiro, a young man living in the futuristic San Fransokyo, a city which is part American and part Japanese. This merging of cultures makes for some breathtaking animation and beautifully imaginative technology. Hiro’s rebellious nature, brought on by the death of his parents (which happened before the movie’s plot begins) is believable, especially as his good nature shines through and his decisions are based on both of these aspects of his personality.

What makes ‘Big Hero 6’ stand out against the plethora of other animated movies is its plot rarely follows a standard children’s story. It never patronises and the tone is often dark as Hiro’s anger threatens to overwhelm his judgement; this gloomy side of the plot is countered by the sweet-natured innocence of Baymax, the medical robot that wants to make Hiro’s life better. The friendship group which becomes the superhero team are a little cliché and can be seen in various guises in any other ‘teamwork’ orientated kids’ film but does not detract from the main double act of Hiro and Baymax.

While ‘Big Hiro 6’ may not appeal to some due to the relatively unexpected stronger content, it’s messages of battling inner demons and coping with loss are ones that will resonate with a lot of young people, especially those struggling with similar issues to Hiro.

IS ‘BIG HERO 6’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The movie opens with a ‘Robot Wars’ style fight between two robots which are heavily armed with sharp blades. More than one of these robots is destroyed by being cut up and sliced into. These robots are not sentient and their owners are disappointed when their robots are damaged but there is no emotional distress.

The robot fights are revealed to be illegal and Hiro is caught by police and arrested. He is seen sitting in a prison cell by himself but the adjacent cell is full of tough-looking criminals who glare at him. When he is released he shows no remorse at what he had done and tries to go back to another fight as soon as possible. While his brother reminds him that the fights are wrong, there is little to suggest that Hiro’s actions are particularly bad. Parents may be uncomfortable with their children seeing the protagonist of a movie engaged in illegal activity without any real punishment or shame for what they have done.

A fire breaks out in a building and a major character runs in to save someone who is trapped inside. The building then explodes and the character who has entered the building is killed. Afterwards, their friends and family mourn them. Their wake is quite emotional as there is no dialogue, just simple, poignant music while the people there are shown comforting each other. One character is very upset by the death and still struggles several weeks later; they stop eating and do not attend classes at school.

One character describes puberty for a boy in a matter of fact way; they talk about growing hair in various new places but are interrupted before any private areas are mentioned and ‘strange urges’ are referred to but no further detail is given.

One character runs onto a busy road while trying to follow someone and pays no attention to the traffic that almost hits them. This scene lasts for a couple of minutes and as there are no repercussions to this, some kids may copy what they are seeing on-screen.

The villain of the movie is revealed to be a man using powerful technology to his advantage. He wears a long black coat and a scary red and black kabuki mask which gives him a blank expression. Their seeming invincibility and lack of compassion towards Hiro and his friends could make him very scary for kids.

A female pilot travels into another dimension but, after something goes wrong with the machine, she is lost inside and presumed dead. Although this isn’t an established character and they go into the danger willingly, this is likely to be unexpected for kids and could therefore be quite upsetting, especially as the pilot’s fate is unknown for a long time.

For a short while, the previously sweet and innocent Baymax is turned into a murderous machine and, under orders, chases a character through a building with the intent to kill them. The ‘good’ characters attempt to stop him but are unsuccessful and some are thrown to the floor or into walls. Baymax is eventually stopped before anything extreme happens but this scene is unexpected and lasts a few minutes; while on his rampage, Baymax is seen with bright red glowing eyes and often in shadow so this could be frightening for a lot of younger kids.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘Big Hero 6’ is an unusually grown up kids’ movie which explores the realistic emotions of young adolescents, especially when put into situations that they may not know how to cope with them. Although it is mostly suitable for kids, the slightly older themes may make this movie unsuitable for some younger children, we therefore recommend ‘Big Hero 6’ for ages 6 and over.

  • Violence: 3/5 (one character deliberately puts duct tape on another’s arm and rips it off. The ‘victim’ briefly cries out in pain and there is a red mark on their arm for a while. This doesn’t cause much distress and the action is quickly forgiven for a good reason. Baymax’s rampage becomes quite violent, especially as it is made clear that he intends to kill the person he is chasing)
  • Emotional Distress: 3/5 (the character who dies is remembered at various points throughout the movie in scenes which are sometimes very emotional, especially when the character who is closest to them struggles to come to terms with their loss. A character sacrifices themselves in order to save the lives of others)
  • Fear Factor: 3/5
  • Sexual Content: 0/5       
  • Bad Language: 0/5
  • Dialogue: 1/5 (one character hugs Baymax and says ‘it’s like spooning a huge marshmallow. One character who has a weapon that uses lasers to cut through objects, jokingly tells their friend that they will ‘laser hand (you) in the face’.)
  • A cat is thrown up some stairs and yelps but it is seen shortly afterwards unharmed.
  • A character who has similar traits to a hippy sees something that seems unbelievable and says ‘is anyone else seeing that?’ As what they see is quite ‘trippy’, this line of dialogue, spoken by this character, implies drug use albeit in a relatively oblique way.
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of grief, revenge, teenage emotions, puberty, realising your potential, using your intelligence to prevent evil and trusting friends to help with your troubles.

Words by Laura Record

Big Hero 6 [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray]


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