I think I fell in love with this movie the moment I heard about it. The premise intrigued me:a diverse cast of superheroes with their robot go out on a mission to avenge the death of the main character’s brother. But when I read the tagline “the emotional story of a 14-year-old genius named Hiro who loses his big brother and a robot named Baymax that heals his broken heart”, I knew this was going to be a fave. Sure enough, when I got more info and images for it, my excitement would mount. It just looked so amazing and adorable.
It wasn’t always a pleasant journey. After coming off the heels of Frozen, which sparked the ire of a lot of animation fans and social justice bloggers, many people were extremely anal about BH6. They were quick to bash it to no end by claiming that the female characters looked like Rapunzel and/or Anna and Elsa, that the movie was racist and whitewashed, etc., and quick to put the movie down before it even came out and even guilt tripping people into not seeing it and seeing other movies instead. There were also die-hard DreamWorks fans accusing it of ripping off How To Train Your Dragon for some reason (which became a contributor of why I ended up hating HTTYD2). Still, I refused to let the negativity get to me. I was having one of my worst years and I needed something to feel enthusiastic over. I guess ultimately I got the last laugh because the movie ended up raking in over $600 million at the box office and became beloved by fans, but that’s not the point. The point is that, when I saw it (on opening day), it filled me with immense joy, gave me feels over Hiro and Baymax, and made me feel validated as a mentally ill person going through a bad time.
I’ve talked in lengths on how the movie helps me as a neurodivergent, but I think I’ll talk about the other things that make this film so amazing.
The animation and effects are absolutely incredible. It almost feels REAL and ALIVE. I wanted to reach out and touch everything. And the characters are distinct, relatable, and attractive without being too cartoony or too realistic. I think I can safely say this is probably Disney’s most beautiful CGI film (rivaled by Moana), and one of Disney’s greatest set pieces in recent history. I legitimately want San Fransokyo to be real so I can go there.
I really love the characters. The female characters are brilliant: Aunt Cass is a successful businesswoman who legitimately loves and cares about her two nephews that she’s raised on her own. She’s gentle and passionate about her nephews’ accomplishments and lets them grow. She also eats a lot and likes B movies. Honey Lemon is ultrafeminine and uber positive and sweet but can run and heels and likes explosions and is extremely passionate about science. Gogo is very passionate about technology and she can be tough, but also kind, comforting Hiro at his darkest moments. These are the type of feminist characters I love: the ones who have a lot of personality, are passionate in their fields, have hidden depths, and are confident in who they are and what they want to be. Fred loves media and his friends and can be a little weird but he’s very sweet. Wasabi has a lot of anxiety problems, but he can also be very brave. For all the crap that the side characters get for not being developed or having enough screen time, you can’t deny that they’re all VERY distinct and well-defined, and it’s clear that they all love and care for Hiro, each other, and their interests.
Of course Hiro and Baymax are the best characters in the movie. Hiro is a very complex and well-developed character, going through a lot of growth. He’s a genius young teenager who doesn’t have a real direction in life and not a lot of friends (besides his brother), but eventually learns the value of friendship and putting his talents to good use, apologizing for his mistakes and genuinely helping others. He’s a great example of a young, mentally ill, Asian protagonist. And of course Baymax is the heart and soul of the movie (and we all want him admit it). But what makes this film so special is their relationship.
I relate a lot to Hiro for obvious reasons and gravitated towards him very quickly. He’s one of my fave characters ever. So to see this robot love and care for him unconditionally filled me with emotion. Their relationship grows: Baymax sees Hiro as another patient, Hiro sees Baymax as slightly annoying. But soon, the gap closes between them, with Hiro finding a true companion in Baymax and the robot caring for Hiro beyond his programming. It’s a unique, heartwarming type of love, and it moved me a lot.
Beyond that, the movie is just so much fun! Daring chases, funny moments and lines, witty characters, daring action, compelling set pieces…this movie is just a sheer delight. It never fails to make me smile. I get totally invested every time.
This is my favourite movie ever and my go-to film whenever I need cheering up or to celebrate. And luckily, I’m not alone. This movie is getting a TV series (which will hopefully bring in more merchandise) and I’m excited as all hell. Maybe we’ll get a sequel at some point. I love this movie and I hope it receives the status as a Disney Classic it deserves.