Film Corner: Disney's Big Hero 6

[Content Note: Fat hatred; racism.]

This is the description of Disney's upcoming animated film Big Hero 6, based on the Marvel comic of the same name: "With all the heart and humour audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Big Hero 6 is an action-packed comedy-adventure about robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who learns to harness his genius—thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi and their like-minded friends: adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—and transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes determined to solve the mystery."

And here is the teaser trailer currently playing in cinemas, which actually seems to be a trailer for a movie called Stupid Fat Robot Is Stupid and Fat:

Video Description: A young boy, who from the description of the film is meant to be Japanese but does not look Japanese in the animation, works intently on a robotics design program on his laptop. Dramatic action music. He designs a big, muscular, red robot. "Yes!" he says excitedly.

He looks up, and into his lab walks a fat white blobby figure, with nondescript and expressionless eyes, very long arms, very short legs, and a long torso with a huge wobbling belly. The dynamic music comes to a screeching halt. The creature squeaks like the rubber sole of a running shoe against a basketball court as it walks. Zie stands and blinks at him. He looks back with a vaguely horrified expression.

He looks down at his laptop screen, on which appears his shiny red strong robot design. He flips down the screen, revealing the creature, then flips it back up and down several more times, to really drive home the disappointment of the juxtaposition between his design and the creature standing in front of him.

The creature spies a soccer ball resting on the floor beside hir. Zie reaches down for it, but hir belly knocks it out of the way. Zie squeals and chases after it, hir belly knocking it ever just out of reach, like a fat version of Buster Keaton kicking and chasing his hat down the street.

The boy scowls and looks back at his laptop screen. He hits a button that puts his robot's metal exterior into production. Dramatic action music. Once the first massive robot hand has been fabricated, he grabs it and tries to put it on the creature's hand. The music ends, as the hand comes to a halt up against the creature's fat wrist.

The boy jams the hand onto the creature by backing the creature up against a wall. Then he jams on the rest of the metal exterior, forcing each piece over the creature's fat, which moves like the air getting redistributed in a balloon.

The creature blinks its emotionless eyes as it's jammed into each piece. The boy is breathless from the effort.

Finally, the creature stands in nearly the entirety of its costume, with just its big exposed belly showing. The boy holds the piece that is meant to cover the belly, takes a breath, then runs at the creature with the piece, forcing it into place with grunting struggle. He falls over, then looks up at his creation with awe. Dramatic action music.

The camera pans back so we can see his creation in all its glory. The boy flexes his arms. The creature mimics him as the music swells, then just at the zenith of his flex, all of his armor pops off.

The boy puts his head in his hands. The creature spies the soccer ball and begins to chase it again.
Two quick thoughts:

1. This shit doesn't exist in a void: It exists in a culture of rank fat hatred, in which fat bodies are considered weak and useless and bad. And it further exists in a specific context of Disney animated films, which have a documented history of using fat as shorthand to convey "evil" or "weak" or "stupid" or otherwise bad.

2. I couldn't give less of a shit what the rest of the film is about, in terms of placing this scene into a particular context, because this clip is what the studio chose as its marketing launch. Even if the rest of the film ends up communicating to us that the creature is really a hero after all, that's just another example of what I call Deathbed Confession Cinema. You don't get points for realizing fat people (or humanoids, or whatever) are not garbage after treating them like garbage for audience laughs.

Anyway. There's a lot to talk about. Have at it in comments.

[H/T to Shaker Hallelujah_Hippo.]

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus