MOVIE COMMENTARY: Big Hero 6

Earlier this week I’ve seen the movie Big Hero 6 on Blue Ray DVD rented from Red Box. I’ve heard of the movie way back but didn’t fully catch my attention until last Sunday, when it won the Oscar’s award for Best Animated film of the year. Actually, my sister got really interested about it after last Sunday so she rented the movie and invited me to watch it. After seeing the movie, I must say that it was fitting it won the award. I found the movie really interesting and edifying. There is one thing that stood out to me about it that’s worth reflecting upon.

The story of the film is about this 14 year old prodigy named Hiro Hamada who wants to go to the same school where his older brother, Tadashi, goes for him to use his talent for technological inventions. The two of them have a strong filial bond. In fact, Tadashi surprised Hiro with an inflatable robot named “Baymax” who would look after the younger brother’s well- being. Hiro starts to create his own technology to showcase at the school he wants to attend. Hiro invented microbots controlled by a neurotransmitter; the microbots will form into something in anything whoever wearing the neurotransmitter desires them to. Hiro’s invention captured the eye of Professor Callaghan, the prominent professor at the school. Consequently, Professor Callaghan offered Hiro the opportunity to study under him. However, another man comes to scene, Alistair Krei, who is a technological entrepreneur offering a business partnership with Hiro. Professor Callaghan seconded Hiro’s rejection of Krei’s offer, noting that Krei is a man not worthy to be trusted. Shortly after Hiro left, along with his brother and his brother’s friends, a fire broke out in the school. Tadashi hurried into the burning school to save Professor Callaghan but to no avail. The school eventually exploded in fire by the time Tadashi went in, rendering him dead and Hiro losing someone. After the tragedy, Hiro would lock himself up in his room in grief over his brother and not able to fulfill his dreams of going to school. However, “Baymax” comes into the scene and started comforting Hiro, who would help him discover one piece of the microbots he invented. “Baymax” starts noticing that the piece wants to move to a certain direction. “Baymax” took the piece outside to identify where it wants to move towards and Hiro ends up following him. They end up in a storage place where Hiro discovers the rest of his microbots are. Shortly after, the two of them encountered a man in a black coat with a mask wearing the neurotransmitter, attacking them with the microbots. Hiro and Baymax managed to escape. Hiro starts discerning who the man in the mask may be. With the help of his brother’s friends, however, they come to the conclusion that the man must be Alistair Krei who Hiro thinks stole his microbots after being rejected before the fire broke out. Even more so, Hiro thinks that he is the one responsible for the fire and, therefore, the death of his brother. Out of a desire for vengeance, Hiro starts Baymax into an offensive robot capable of attacking others, contrary to his brother’s intention for the robot. With the support of his brother’s friends, Hiro and Baymax confronted the man in the mask and get hold of him. However, Hiro finds out that the man is actually Professor Callaghan. Nevertheless, Hiro assaulted him using Baymax out of revenge for his brother. Tadashi’s friends choose not to let Hiro kill Professor Callaghan because killing isn’t part of their plan, leaving Hiro furious. “Baymax” tries to comfort Hiro as he is very disappointed, not being able to justify the death of his brother. Baymax insists that Tadashi is still alive. Hiro resists but Baymax continues to insist, until he shows Hiro a video of Tadashi installed in his program. Hiro realizes that he is behaving out of anger and revenge which he eventually deems emotionally unproductive for him. Hiro, Baymax, and the rest of Tadashi’s friends goes to the same place where they last encounters Professor Callaghan. They run into a desk of monitors that has the recorded video after the place has gone into ruins. Retrieving the video, they find out that Professor Callaghan is currently acting the way he is because he loses his daughter from the failed project he coordinated with Alistair Krei. It turns out that Krei isn’t responsible for the fire at the school early in the movie. It’s just purely an accident. They head over to Krei’s corporate building, knowing that Professor Callaghan has prepared the microbots as a tool of revenge against him over his daughter. Hiro, Baymax, and the rest successfully prevents Professor Callaghan from killing Krei. Baymax senses that Professor Callaghan’s daughter isn’t dead yet but rather asleep right in the warp where she is planning to go as part of Krei’s failed project. Hiro and Baymax decide to rescue Professor Callaghan’s daughter and successfully did so. However, Baymax isn’t able to go back with Hiro and her for his battery is running low to go back with them. At the end of the film, they rescued Professor Callaghan’s daughter but the professor was eventually arrested for his attempted murder of Krei.

The story of the movie has a strong pro-life reference to it. And what I mean by “pro-life” is more than just what everyone thinks it means. The term “pro-life”, or being an advocate of life/promoter of life isn’t just limited to advocacy against abortion. The idea of pro-life encapsulates everything contrary to what the “culture of death” promotes. The “culture of death” not only promotes death at its literal meaning but also anything associated to it—individualism, egotism, revenge, anger, wars, and hatred. The current of the movie’s plot begins with Hiro being influenced by the “culture of death”—hatred towards Professor Callaghan and a tremendous sense of revenge for his brother. Hiro seems justified with how he initially felt towards Professor’s Callaghan. Yet, at the end of the movie, it is apparent that Hiro’s vengeful attitude is rooted in his unsupported conclusion that Professor Callaghan is responsible for his brother’s death. Hiro’s scene with Baymax, perhaps, is where a moment of conversion takes place in Hiro’s character. The scene may be sentimentally charged, showing Tadashi’s perseverance in creating a robot that would take care of Hiro, but the movie production crew did an excellent job of inferring from the scene that “pro-life” abounds more than the “culture of death”. And what I mean by “pro-life” is anything that perpetuates life—support, love, forgiveness, peace, joy, and hope. Through that conversion, Hiro is able to see that Professor Callaghan is acting in the same way he was initially acting and he wants to prevent him from materializing the “culture of death” the same way as Tadashi’s friends were doing so for him earlier in the movie. Hiro chooses the better part in the end and rightfully so, gave the movie a happy ending.

The ending sheds a light on the significant difference between being “pro-life” and living under the “culture of death”. Professor Callaghan, not being able to have a moment of conversion just as Hiro did, paid the price for persisting under the “culture of death”. The price of living under the “culture of death” is perpetual misery. It is a misery that slowly ruins the internal and then the external state of the individual. On the other hand, there is a plethora of riches one who chooses “life” receives.

Big Hero 6 is a movie that powerfully delivers the message that we are constantly going through things in life that provoke us to choose between being “pro-life” and living under the “culture of death”. We deal with a lot of things in our day to day living, ranging from relationships, personal goals, career, studies, etc. And how we react is connected with the choices we make. Throughout our lives, we have the power to choose between living in constant misery or peace.

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