Monday, December 1, 2014

Just Help

I know this blog is technically in retired mode, but I just saw the latest Disney movie last night (actually, it was last Tuesday) and I felt a blog post coming on, so I'm giving it a shot. If I end up not liking it, well, then you won't be reading this. 

You may be wondering, where are the reviews for Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen? Well, they're in my book, which I published a couple of months ago. (Look to the left of this post). You'll have to buy it to read those reviews. :) Today's focus is on the newest addition to the animated Disney collection, Big Hero 6.

First of all, can I just get an AMEN that Disney is featuring an Asian American male as the film's main character? This really warms my heart. As you all know Mulan was one of my favorites, and it's exciting to have another Asian hero (sorry, the pun was too easy not to use) in the ranks. This is additionally awesome because this is Disney's first official mash-up with Marvel after acquiring them in 2009. So we've not only got Asian Americans, but Asian American superheroes!

*POTENTIAL SPOILERS* Do not read further if you don't want to know some key plot lines!

The central relationship we see in this film is between Hiro, a brilliant yet aimless orphan, and a marshmallow-like robot named Baymax. (Now, if you've ever seen Wall-E you know that robots don't mean stiff and heartless. I would recommend bringing some tissue with you to see this film, in fact.) As Hiro develops a bond with the helpful, huggable robot, he learns both of his need for friendship as well as his own true potential as an innovator. Soon the pair finds themselves investigating a mystery, and the truth they uncover is much darker than expected.

Hiro's discovery blinds him with grief and rage. Suddenly, he no longer sees Baymax as his friend and helper, but as his means for revenge. Hiro's story up to this point parallels that of the film's villain, whose own grief and rage leads him to violence and hatred. He resolves that the only way to make up for what he has lost is to make someone else feel that same loss.

As I write this, my heart is heavy for those who have felt deep loss this week. Seeing something terrible take place that you felt powerless to change would undoubtedly infuriate me, and would lead me to seek justice by any means necessary.

And yet, watching Big Hero 6 during this week of tragedy and lament, I find myself learning a different way to be an agent of change in the midst of pain. For Hiro, it is only through the steady love of his friends that his pain is redirected to something more positive. They help him realize that revenge cannot bring true justice. It is only by seeking to help, protect and restore that Hiro finds peace and purpose. And ultimately, he learns from the truest helper, Baymax, that sometimes this means sacrifice.

I know that I need to be a part of a community that does not seek revenge but reconciliation. I know that this will be difficult, costly, maybe even dangerous. But I also know that our Helper, through his own costly sacrifice, gives us the only true power available to bring about His justice.

Today, and in the days to come, I'm praying that we will all look to the Hero, the Helper, the Healer for the justice and peace we long for.