What These Two Very Different Robots Can Teach Your Kids
A story element in the opening scenes of Big Hero 6 has a young character battling robots. It was an ironic circumstance that had this movie, featuring a marshmellow-like robot named Baymax, ended up head-to-head with Interstellar, another sci-fi where a robot called Tars plays a critical role in the plot. The two mechanical characters couldn’t be more different in appearance. Baymax is a soft, inflatable robot that reminds me of those air mattresses I buy every year to sleep unfortunate visitors who arrive at our home. One wrong move and hisssssss. On the other hand, Tars is a hard, faceless, possibly stainless steel machine that appears impenetrable and would definitely leave some scratches on your hardwood floors.
But what’s interesting is how these two robots end up fulfilling a very similar role in their respective stories. Going into detail would risk spoiling these two fine movies, but it’s a great exercise in recognizing how we view robots and people by their outward appearance. Fortunately both these films are possible viewing choices for teens (Interstellar is not a good choice for young children) and parents who view these as well have a great opportunity to talk about the robots and their respective duties and contributions to the outcome of the movie.
Another activity parents may want to try is having your kids come up with their own creative robot designs. You may want to discuss how we would feel being “saved” by Tars versus Baymax and if it is important to design a robot to be aesthetically pleasing or if a robot’s functionality should be our only concern?
With the imaginations of movie creators, I’m certain we will be seeing more inventive robots in the near future.