Disney’s Big Hero 6: Family Friendly Review (Please Take Your Son To See It!)

Disney's Big Hero 6: Family Friendly Review (Please Take Your Son To See It!)

Without making my message seem illegitimate by using too many exclamation points and phrases in italics, I would like to communicate that I feel very passionate about this movie. I very strongly advise you to take your young son to see this movie immediately.

Yes, immediately…

My fear is that this movie will fly under the radar. I’m not hearing enough people talk about it and that bothers me. No pictures of little boys proudly posing with their parents in front of the movie poster. That’s a problem.

Disney's Big Hero 6: Family Friendly Review (Please Take Your Son To See It!)

Therefore, I am eager to do my part to urge parents of young boys to go see Big Hero 6 while it is still in theatres; not wait until it hits Redbox.

It’s absolutely worth paying money to see in a theatre; it’s like watching a mesmerizing video game that was turned into a cartoon movie.

And if you’re not as cheap as I am, I would say the 3D version would also be worth the while.

I especially ask you to take your young son to see this movie if, like mine, he is particularly mechanically-minded. If your son’s favorite Ninja Turtle is Donatello, the one who “does machines” according to the classic theme song, then Big Hero 6 is his movie.

If your son easily spends hours at a time crafting his own impressive Lego creations that  you yourself could not even imitate, then Big Hero 6 is his movie.

If your son can transform his Transformers in less than half the time you could (and that’s with much practice on your end) then then Big Hero 6 is his movie.

This Disney/Marvel sci-fi/action/super hero/comedy film follows a 14 year-old protagonist named Hiro Hamada (a Japanese-American) living in a futuristic, more Japanese version of San Francisco, called San Fransokyo.

Like most Disney movies, Hiro’s parents both die when he is very young. He is left to live with his aunt; as well as his older brother, who creates a health care companion robot named Baymax, designed to restore the health of the human beings it encounters.

Disney's Big Hero 6: Family Friendly Review (Please Take Your Son To See It!)r

When Baymax realizes this his new young friend, the protagonist Hiro, has become withdrawn from society after, in addition to losing his parents, now loses his older brother, he tries to “heal” the boy.

The level of drama is this particularly high in Big Hero 6. However, the writers were able to seamlessly intertwine this intense theme of “love and loss” into a beautiful masterpiece.

In essence, Big Hero 6 is the Disney boys’ equivalent to Frozen. (It’s not a musical; though it does feature a really cool song by Fall Out Boy.)

I’ve mentioned before that I couldn’t get past the fact that the parents were the true villain in Frozen. Had the parents in Frozen, not being insane, essentially locking up their daughters in their bedrooms for all of their childhood, none of that mess would have ever happened.

However, the plotline of Big Hero 6, while a complete fantasy, is much more viable than Frozen was.

Regarding the “family friendliness” of Big Hero 6, it is ultimately rated PG for intense themes and mild violence.

Here are a few examples of what I mean.

As far as language, there are some phrases I wouldn’t want my 4 year-old son to say, like oh my gosh, what the…? (left unfinished, but implying a potential curse word), darn, and 2 uses of the phrase shut up, but in a sense of “I can’t believe that!”, not “be quiet!”.

You might assume this boy-targeted Disney movie relies on fart jokes for laughs, but that is definitely not the case. Much of the humor is based on the fact that Hiro and his self-proclaimed “nerdy” friends awkwardly transition into unlikely superheroes.

Disney's Big Hero 6: Family Friendly Review (Please Take Your Son To See It!)

There are no sexually suggestive characters or costumes, nor sexual innuendos either.

However, there are a few references to Hiro (the 14 year-old boy who serves as the protagonist) going through changes as he begins puberty.

The robot tries to explain where hair will begin growing on this boy’s body, by showing him a diagram, but Hiro cuts him off right before he getsthat particular region.

Yet I have no reservations about my son being exposed to any of this.

I actually felt it added to the “family relevance” of this movie. I laughed more because of this, yet I wasn’t embarrassed to watch in front of my 4 year-old son, nor would it if it were 10 years from now; part of my role as his dad is to help usher him into the confusing world of puberty.

BIG HERO 6

Yes, there is peril (danger and mild violence) but no guns are involved. It’s mainly martial arts.

There is only one human death near the beginning of the film, in which a major character (I won’t ruin it for you) is killed by walking into a building that soon explodes.

Other than that, hundreds of micro-robots are destroyed amidst the combat of the good guys and the bad guys… The tiny pellet-shaped robots can take on the form of anything to become a weapon.

big-hero-six-nouveaux-hero-poster

My son, who wasn’t trying to be funny at the time when he said this, explained to his Mommy when we got home:

“The bad guy wears a mask and has poop that follows him around.” End quote.

On top of all this, Big Hero 6 contains undeniable Christian themes. I feel that even for me as a grown man, the movie helps answer the question, “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?”

The movie also teaches the importance actively choosing forgiveness over vengeance.

In closing, I strongly endorse Big Hero 6, and if it were up to me, you would take your son to see it this Thanksgiving weekend.

If you have any questions about this movie, I would be more than happy to respond. Thanks for reading my family friendly review of Disney’s Big Hero 6!

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Movie Guy, at Your Service: Inception

A captivating, culture-relevant movie that explores the mysterious capabilities of the human mind and the weirdness of our dreams.

I realized that the movie Inception would be an inescapable movie for me after at least 37% of my facebook friends had a status update praising it the moment they walked out of the theatre.  Then my sister and brother-in-law told me it reminded them a little bit of LOST; at that moment it became official that I would not only see Inception but that it would be a movie worth writing a movie review/recap about it.

In my first official Movie Guy post (click here to read it: Movie Guy, at Your Service: My Top Ten Favorites), under the “Basic Do Not Watch” criteria for movies I listed “simply by watching the trailer for the movie, you fully understand the plot and possibly the resolution”.  That definitely wasn’t the case with Inception.  When I first saw the preview several weeks ago all I knew was that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was having some trouble finding the floor while for Ellen Page accompanied by Leonardo DiCaprio the floor was becoming a wall.  Perfect.  That meant it would be worth seeing.  Though I had no idea what the plot was.  Perfect.

While the movie does have a strong plot, I see Inception as a vehicle for interesting theories which attempt to explain and explore the mysteries of the dream world and the human body (especially the mind) as it is in a dream state.  For example, the facts that often we usually wake up from dream if in the dream we are falling or if we get killed in the dream are vital to the plotline.

Surprisingly, there were two ideas about dreams in particular I have written about before (which I thought were unique) which the movie touches on:

1)     Years after the memories are made, what really is the difference between a good memory from an actual event and a good memory from a dream, as long as in that moment of the actual event or dream you were truly happy and it remains in your mind as a positive place you can return to when you remember it?  Read Adventures in Thailand: Man Cave Time Machine.

2)     A dream only last a fraction of the time that the dream seems to take place (in Inception, five minutes equaled one hour).  Therefore, if a person could be forced to be trapped in a dream, it could be a horrible type of punishment for a person.  Read Lowercase Punishment.

Aside from being a little like The Matrix (which I never really got into, even after seeing it twice) and LOST, it also reminds me of Vanilla Sky, The Butterfly Effect, and even The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  There is nothing not to enjoy about this movie: A+.

Bonus: Ethnic Backgrounds of the International Cast

Leonardo DiCaprio (as Dominic Cobb): American- 1/2 German, 1/4 Italian, 1/4 Russian

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Arthur): Jewish-American

Ellen Page (as Ariadne): Canadian of English descent

Tom Hardy (as Eames): English of English and Irish descent

Marion Cotillard (as Mal Cobb): French

Cillian Murphy (as Robert Fischer): Irish

Ken Watanbe (as Saito): Japanese

Tom Berenger (as Peter Browning): American of Irish descent

Dileep Rao (as Yusuf): American of Indian descent

Pete Postlethwait (as Maurice Fischer): English

Luke Haas (as Nash): American- 1/2 German, 1/2 English

Michael Caine (as Miles): English

The spinning totem started to wobble before the screen cut to black. While there easily could be a sequel, I believe the totem ended up falling over.

Readers’ Expectations 5: Hemp George, Mexican Mollies, and Fat Babies with Mullets

What would provoke anyone to visit Scenic Route Snapshots, out of the millions of websites out there?  I like knowing the answer to the question, just as you do.  Here is the fifth installment of phrases that people typed into Google and other search engines to find this site:

“fat babies eating”- I thought it was safe to assume that most babies are fat anyways.  Is this from a hopeful parent wanting their baby to grow up to be a professional competitive eater?  That Japanese guy wins every year, but 2nd place isn’t a bad goal to aim for.  Good luck on that.  Mazel tov. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takeru_Kobayashi

“van gogh starry night for kids”- Yes, because Van Gogh’s original painting of Starry Night contained a lot of nudity and violence, but the new Disney-endorsed version is safe for the whole family.

“What does being a Rubik’s Cube in a dream mean?”- One of two things.  A) You are feeling manipulated by the people in your life- like they are trying to “figure you out”.  2) It’s not a dream at all.  You’re currently on an LSD trip.

“hemp George”- Yes, President George Washington was indeed a hemp farmer.  But “Hemp George” sounds like a totally different guy altogether.  But hey, when you can’t track down Hemp George, there’s the next best thing- Sativa Steve.

“mullet baby ugly”- I thought all babies are beautiful.  And besides, a mullet doesn’t automatically make someone ugly.  Flashback to the ‘80’s, prime examples: MacGyver and Bono.

“singleness a gift I do not want”- This one is funny not because the searcher typed in something weird to find me, but because I happened to title that post exactly in the terminology he or she was thinking.  Takes one to know one: Singleness; The Gift No One Really Wants

“male mexican mollies mustache”– Definitely one of the most random searches ever to get to my website.  Mollies are a type of fish that unlike Catfish, do not have any physical features that resemble a mustache.  The four words “male”, “Mexican”, “mollies”, and “mustache” have nothing to do with each other.  And strangest of all, whoever searched that did so 7 times that day.

So that means 7 hits on my counter happened because someone searched something extremely random, not once, twice, or even thrice, but 7 times.  I am picturing a mustachioed Mexican man eating fish, and he’s very, very happy about it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mollies

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 1- “LA X”


“When I die, what do you think will happen to me?” -Sayid


The anticipation… Such a big deal! Like being a kid… So exciting!

Yet now that the 23 millions of us have seen the first two hours of the final season of our favorite show ever, we’ve got our homework cut out for us. Watching LOST is a serious event. The whole time I’m taking notes, scene by scene.

Our predictions about the two different Last Supper promotional photos featuring the LOST cast were accurate: There are two main different timelines going on. No more flash forwards or flashbacks. It’s like those Choose Your Own Adventure books.  We are now dealing with the narrative device referred to as “flash-sideways”.

But by the finale, does only one of these destinies become the real one?  The writers of the show aren’t saying.  They don’t want to acknowlege either of the realities as the alternate one.  Until the finale episode, all we can do is just enjoy seeing what would have happened had the plane never crashed.  Because we’ve always been curious anyway about that.

There are two main parts from the episode that keep bouncing around in my mind.

The first: Who is in Sayid’s body now? Jacob. He told Hurley (in the new unknown year with the temple and the new Asian dude with long hair) to take Sayid to the temple (even though Jacob died an hour before in 1977). Sayid died at the temple (or was murdered by the men that were supposed to save him), then soon after comes back to life. That’s no coincidence.

In one of The Lord’s Supper parodies, Sayid assumes the role of Judas and John Locke represents Christ. Prediction: The new Sayid will betray the new Locke. In other words, Jacob will deceive Esau by making him think Sayid is still alive.

There is much irony in Sayid’s asking of what will happen to him when he dies. He was assuming and referring to his soul’s judgment to hell. But for us viewers, we now see this was a foreshadowing that the thing that would happen to him when he died is that Jacob would take over his body.

Going back to the fact that Jacob told Hurley to take Sayid to the temple in 1977, this solidifies a theory and anwers a mystery that we’ve been wondering since the 2nd season.  After a person has died on the island, and after Esau (or Jacob) takes the form of their body, they can appear as that person at any point in the past, but not in the future. Dying as that person prevents them from living on in present day.

When Jacob appears to Hurley and he had already been dead for an hour, remember that he was killed by Ben in the future.  Therefore he was able to go back in time and instruct Hurley to set up the takeover of Sayid’s body.

Pretty clever, yes?

The second thing bouncing around in my head is this: What year are Jack and Co. stuck in on the island? Based on the temple’s structure and the clothing, I assume sometime in the 1500’s, at the latest. I call this timeline “The Turban Times” because of the burgundy turbans worn by some of the temple mongers.

We’ve been introduced to two new bad guys. I think they’re bad guys. The Japanese dude with long hair. Until I learn his name and until I learn his actual ethnic background, I will call name him Emperor Miyagi. And his weird looking scientist friend, Dr. Hooknose. Both of them appear to be up to no good. But right now we’re still trying to sort out who’s good and who’s bad.

I hold true to my predictions that somehow in the end Ben Linus will end up being a good guy. Based on the fact that Benjamin in the Bible was righteous. Even the good guys are at least a little bad on LOST.

In closing, I have a feeling that the Egyptian cross, the ankh, will continue to have a major symbolic meaning for this final season. It is the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for “eternal life” and represents the deities of the afterlife. The ankh was believed by the Egyptians to protect them against sickness, infertility, and a loss of psychic powers.

When it’s all said and done, the struggle on the island will all come down to Jacob and Esau’s struggle for eternal life, which they attempt to maintain through the appearance of the bodies of those who have died on the island. Sort of like on the movie The Skeleton Key.

And those who for whatever reason made their way to the island are forever exposed to the game of Jacob vs. Esau. That is, unless the alternative timeline proves to be solid. I have a feeling it won’t.

Read my recap from last night’s episode:

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 14- “Across the Sea”

Karaoke: Why the Heart of Rock & Roll is Still Beating

I love authentic Japanese karaoke machines that are made in China.

Last Saturday at my wife’s Christmas work party, they had karaoke going on down in the basement. I really had no intentions on participating, but when I realized that it rated the performance based on timing and pitch, I cut in line to be next. Putting my money where my mouth was from the first installment (http://wp.me/pxqBU-9u), I chose to sing “The Heart of Rock & Roll” by Huey Lewis and the News”.

It’s simply common sense that a karaoke machine advanced enough to grade a singer’s performance would also have decent quality music tracks. But the blips and bleeps of a Gameboy would have been better and easier to follow. All I could hear was a keyboard and fake drums. Not to mention the lyrics were a little off. The lyrics prompter said “now the old boy may be a bit off rhythm” instead of “may be barely breathing”.

I got a “67” out of 100.

The guy after me sang “Lean on Me”. Instead of “I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load”, the prompter read, “I’m a friend that’s kind of thorough”. I love authentic Japanese karaoke machines made in China.

Something that kept me distracted and laughing was the background images on the screen. I’m used to just white words over a blue screen. This one had actual video footage of completely random and unrelated things.

I just loved watching a mother duck and her ducklings eat bread crumbs at a park while my wife sang “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. And seeing an aquarium full of exotic and butt-ugly fish swim around while my wife’s boss sang “Jingle Bells”. And my favorite: While a 9 year-old boy sang “Eye of the Tiger”, we all watched footage of a lonely Japanese girl looking mopey at various venues: restaurants, lakes, and subways.

There’s just no wrong way to do karaoke. Because there’s not a right way.

Karaoke is Funny: I’m Turning Japanese, I Really Think So

For the last 10 years, I believed the urban legend that “karaoke” is Japanese for “tone deaf”. I wanted that to be true. Because that would be funny. Instead the word just means “empty orchestra”. Thanks Wikipedia, for bursting my bubble.

I am hardly ever exposed to social events that include karaoke. But in the back of my mind, I am constantly juggling around songs that would be good ones in case I suddenly had to participate in a karaoke contest. There is an art to choosing a good karaoke song.

The point of singing karaoke is not to show off a person’s singing talent, but instead their ability to entertain. There should be a rule that no serious songs can be sung while participating in karaoke. No Celine Dion. Nothing by Whitney Houston. And definitely not “Bridge over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel. Too sappy and too difficult to pull off for an amateur.

It’s okay for a person to sing horribly if they know they are not an awesome vocalist. But when a person thinks they’re pretty decent and actually tries to sing well, but then falls flat on several parts of a Josh Groban song, or hits the notes too sharply and loudly, “clipping the mic”, that kills the mood.

That can make things awkward, causing the audience to hope that the next performer will perform an obviously stupid song like “I Wish” by one-hit wonder Skee-Lo (“I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller…) or “Peaches” by The Presidents of the United States of America (“Millions of peaches, peaches for me…”).

An ideal karaoke song also should be one in which the singer can incorporate stupid dance moves during the lead guitar solo and fade-out. I am set on “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen. Or “That’s All” by Genesis. Or maybe best of all, “The Heart of Rock & Roll” by Huey Lewis and the News. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZFqA8JJQj0

Surely I couldn’t go wrong with those songs. Because I couldn’t go right. And that’s what truly defines karaoke.