Big Hero 6 released about a week and half ago and has earned a global 148 million box office gross. It’s sure to continue its upward trajectory and inspire more than a few kids to pursue science. Being the first Disney superhero film, it was a little rough around the edges but is definitely a continuation of what Frozen began with its positive messages. However, this isn’t the first animated hero film we got from the Disney family. The Incredibles which came out ten years ago on November 4th was our first hero treatment from the House of Mouse. The Pixar film was a story about a superhero family with a particular focus on the mother and father. Robert Parr, the father, was experiencing his mid-life crisis and was eager to take up the mask and tights again. His wife, Helen Parr, was ready to put their past exploits behind them to try and live a “normal” life.
After watching Big Hero 6 I was struck with the similarities while at the same time realizing their stark differences. With The Incredibles, we get a group of heroes that are bound together by family. Coming from a big family myself, their household disputes where pretty accurate, accept for the addition of superpowers of course. It expressed to me what a family should be, they are the people that will always have your back no matter what. Not only that but a family is a team. One person can’t carry the family, no matter how strong or flexible they may be. It requires cooperation and shared responsibilities. You see this in the struggles and conflicts throughout the film.
For Mr. Incredible, trying to go back to his golden days instead of creating new ones with his family works for a time. He eventually loses his control though, putting himself and his family in danger. Taking this to a metaphorical level, Mr. Incredible’s lack of family focus and his attempt to be as incredible as he was causes him to shirk his familial responsibilities. That he can keep his family a float on his own marginalizes not only his wife but his kids as well.
Elasti-girl on the other hand has different set of problems. She is ready to begin a normal life, where super villains and spandex are nowhere to be seen. She wants to hide her family’s gifts so that they can appear normal or to fit in. When it comes time to rely on her families gifts, they fail since they have seen them as something to hide.
The big conclusion of course is the family coming together to defeat Syndrome. We see each character shed their insecurities and failings realizing that their family is their to cover what they can’t. With The Incredibles 2 now coming our way I am extremely excited to see where they go next.
What chiefly sets The Incredibles a part from Big Hero 6 is the perception of powers. With The Incredibles we have a world where super powers are a bad thing. Using one’s individual and sometimes extraordinary talents is seen as a bad thing. Even Syndrome uses this concept as his big evil plan, to make everyone reliant on an external force to make them feel “super” which in turn makes them not. Which coincidentally could be the focus of another article, “Syndrome’s Social Media Plan”. Anyways, the point I am attempting to get at, which at this point feels like I’m stumbling through, is that The Incredibles is all about family and how they help to shape who we are by encouraging us to embrace are individuality.
Big Hero 6 takes a slightly different approach. It shows that sometimes family can let us down. Before you decide to click away just hear me out. Yes, Hiro’s family did not intentionally let him down but they weren’t there when he needed them. Hiro’s aunt was still present sure, but she was still very much a secondary character in the grand scheme of things. Instead, it’s Hiro’s friends that handle the brunt of the emotional support.
The differences don’t stop there. While the world of The Incredibles sought to surpress individuality and talents San Fransokyo encourages individuality. Each character is unashamedly themselves. They follow their passions and use their talents to make their dreams realities. The important bit in this film is that using our gifts selfishly is just as bad as not using them at all, which we see with main villain almost destroying the city by selfishly using his gifts. This message adds responsibility not only to those close to us but the rest of the world.
The best way I can describe my thoughts about these two films is that they are a continuation of each other. The Incredibles teaches us that hiding our gifts and trying to be Superman will only lead us to failure. Big Hero 6 showed us that we need to encourage each others gifts and that friends are family. While these two films are different, the do compliment each other very well and teach us a valuable lesson on respecting our own gifts along with others.