Faith in Film, Week One

Faith in Film kicked off on Wednesday night. Each week during our 10-week run I'll be posting a few thoughts about the class and the films, as well as the week's discussion questions. For Week One, it's "Big Hero 6."

I love doing Faith in Film because it really opens people's eyes to the messages and world views embedded in popular films. Films are an art form, and like other art forms they are reflective of the beliefs and values of their creators — in this case often writers and directors. The Christian writer Donald Miller said, "Narrative has an unbelievable ability to adjust your moral compass." That's a guiding thought for me as I'm looking at stories and breaking down messages. These stories can impact us — both positively and negatively — and the key is to be informed.

"Big Hero 6" is an animated film from Disney that was released in November 2014. It is loosely based on a Marvel Comics property and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature that year. Animated films have become more prevalent and more popular in recent years, and the strategy for them has changed. No longer can they be dismissed as children's entertainment. Many, like "Big Hero 6," have more adult stories and themes, and often they carry a heavy emotional heft. In this case, it's the importance of friends — the right kind of friends — to help you be your best self.

When we pick up with Hiro, he's a brilliant 14-year-old engineer who is lacking focus in his life. We first find him participating in illegal robot fighting rings. Soon, his older brother Tadaschi intercedes, showing Hiro another, more positive, outlet for his talent and interests. It works, for a time. When Tadaschi is tragically killed, Hiro begins to lose his way again. But this time he has Tadaschi's friends and Tadaschi's creation, a gentle robot named Baymax, to help guide his way.

Hiro’s grief and anger over the loss of this brother threatened to derail his path. First it pushed him into a funk, where he was ready to give up school that he worked so hard for. Then when he found the person responsible for Tadaschi’s death, it threatened to push him down a dark path. He wants to kill professor Callahan. But his friends were able to speak into that and put Hiro back on the right path. They consoled him and helped him find a purpose, and they spoke wisdom into his life and interceded when he was headed down a bad path.

The Bible talks a great deal about friendship, and the importance of having others in our lives that can speak wisdom into our lives when needed and can provide comfort in times of loss or discouragement. Friends are a gift God gives us in our lives. A look at the book of Proverbs shares some of the ways friends help us at various points in our lives:

For times of adversity: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” — Proverbs 17:17
For times of guidance: “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” — Proverbs 18:24
To help us grow: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” — Proverbs 27:17

This week, be in prayer about how God is calling you to speak truth and light into the lives of those he puts in your path, and be thankful for those God has brought you that have helped point you in the right direction.

Discussion Questions:
1. Did this film work for you, why or why not?
2. Hiro seems to gain focus through the encouragement of Baymax, how does the robot push him to be his best self?
3. Does God use the people in our life to help push us in the right direction? If so, how?
4. What has been your experience with having friends, family or trusted advisors point you in the right direction? Why is that important?


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