Australian Council on Children and the Media

Big Hero 6

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Not recommended under 8; parental guidance recommended 8-10 (Violence, Scary scenes and disturbing themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Big Hero 6
  • a review of Big Hero 6 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 December 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children 8-10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing themes and scenes
Children aged 10 and over OK for this group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Big Hero 6
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and animated violence
Length 108 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This animated film is set in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo.  The film’s lead character Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter) is a teenage technology genius who has a passion for illegal back alley “Bot” fights in which small robots fight each other until one is destroyed.

In an attempt to turn Hiro’s intellect to more constructive ventures, his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney), takes him to the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology where Tadashi is a student. At the institute Tadashi introduces Hiro to several of his nerd friends including Go Go (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.) Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) and Fred (T.J. Miller) all of whom have created unique and ingenious inventions.  Tadashi also introduces Hiro to his own unique invention, an inflatable robotic medic named Baymax (Scott Adsit). Hiro is so impressed with what he sees at the institute that he decides he must become a student himself, but the only way Hiro can be accepted into the institute is by impressing the head professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell) via the annual robotics exhibition.

Hiro designs and builds thousands of “micro-bots” controlled via a neural transmitter worn as a headband, and able to be transformed into anything that the wearer can imagine. At the exhibition the micro-bots impress Callaghan so much that Hiro is accepted as a student but his happiness is short lived.  A fire breaks out, the exhibition hall erupts in flames, and a massive explosion kills Tadashi and Callaghan.  

While recovering from the trauma of Tadashi’s death, Hiro discovers Baymax stored away in his bedroom and, when the robot is accidentally activated, Hiro learns that Tadashi’s death may not have been accidental after all. With the help of Baymax, Go Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred, Hiro sets out to uncover the truth behind his brother’s death and the quest leads them into a world of danger and unexpected outcomes.  

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Inventions; robots; death of family members; illegal fights and gambling; self-sacrifice and revenge

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains intense animated action violence; self-sacrifice resulting in the deaths of main characters, and destruction of robots. Examples include:                       

  • A number of pit fights between small robots where one robot fights a second until one is destroyed while people bet on which robot will annihilate the other.  In one scene a robot owned by Hiro boy rips the arms and head off a much larger robot. Following the fight several men approach Hiro in a threatening manner but Tadashi rescues him. 
  • A menacing man in a long coat and wearing a mask attacks and chases Hiro, who falls from a second story window but escapes uninjured. In a later scene Hiro and others are chased by the menacing man who throws a shipping container at them. They escape in a speeding car with the menacing man in pursuit. After a dangerous chase they drive the car off of the end of a pier and into the ocean, but are rescued uninjured.        
  • Video footage of a teleportation experiment where a woman riding inside a spacecraft enters a circular portal and disappears, she is meant to reappear via a second portal but when the second portal catches fire the experiment is closed down and the woman is not returned; we hear that she died as a result of the failed experiment.
  • An extended fight scene/battle between a menacing masked man riding a wave of thousands of micro-bots and five teenagers wearing futuristic superhero suits.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The film contains a number of scenes depicting a menacing looking man wearing a long black coat and a Kabuki mask (a scary looking Japanese theatre mask). The man constantly rides upon a wave consisting of thousands of micro-bots which has a threatening and menacing appearance, being able to transform and move at great speed.  
  • The teenagers wear superhero suits with weapons that might be scary for young children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Baymax (a large inflatable robot) walks into oncoming traffic with cars swerving around him. Hiro runs after the robot, dodging traffic and is nearly hit several times.
  • We hear that Hiro and Tadashi were orphaned when Hiro was three.
  • Tadashi runs into a burning building to try to save Callaghan. The building explodes (we see the explosion in slow motion), the force throwing Hiro to the ground. A short time later we see a group of people standing around a grave at Tadashi’s funeral. A couple of scenes depict Hiro in a very depressed state as a result of the death of his brother.
  • In an emotionally intense scene, the robot character Baymax sacrifices his life to save the life of young woman.

 

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the movie, but associated merchandise is likely

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A robot talks about a teenage boy reaching puberty - making reference to changing hormones, pubescent moods swings, and facial and armpit hair.

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • A robot low on power acts in a comical, intoxicated manner - slurring his speech, speaking loudly and falling up a flight of stairs.
  • A speaker at an exhibition holds a glass of champagne.

Coarse language

The film contains some language that might be imitated by children. Examples include:

  • Insults such as knuckle-head, bone-head, big baby, nerd, crazy, nitwit, lunatic, 
  • Shut up, butt fight, what the..., damn, holy mother.
  • Humour involving flatulence, undone flies and recycling underwear

In a nutshell

Big Hero 6 is an animated action adventure targeted at older primary school children and teens. Positive messages relate to siblings supporting and encouraging each other as well as the importance of education and the drive to learn, create and invent. However, the film does contain some intense animated action violence, scary images and themes that are likely to disturb children under eight. It is therefore not recommended for this age group and parental guidance is recommended for the 8-10 age group.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Selflessness/self-sacrifice: Some of the film’s lead characters display selflessness and self-sacrifice for both friends and for people they don’t know.
  • Friendship: the film portrays friendship as having a vital role in relation to support and as a means to help heal psychological injuries. 

Parents may wish to discuss Hiro’s seeking of revenge for the death of his brother at one stage and the consequences of this type of action.

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