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Content Note: This article contains minor plot spoilers for the movie Big Hero 6. You’ve been warned.
Fred, whose superheo alter-ego is called Fredzilla, is the quintessential college stoner dude. He’s got long hair, a knit cap and necklace inspired by big stompy lizard monsters, an adorkable love of comic books and some questionable hygiene practices. He’s full of funny quips and silly ideas. But there’s one thing very special about Fred: he’s actually a positive character based on the common stoner stereotype, an important character in a recent Disney cartoon. Fred is one of the members of Disney’s most recent animated release’s titular team, Big Hero 6. Although he does provide comic relief in a surprisingly emotional film, Fred’s character also has some real development (a bit of which happens at the end of the credits).
Fred is introduced as the weird non-student who hangs out at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology robotics lab, essentially living inside the mascot costume for the school. He has a little trouble understanding science, though his love of comic books has given him an appreciation for technology. He asks the other students to invent a compound that will turn him into a giant lizard at will or an invisible sandwich. He seems to just hang around, giving his friends silly nicknames and spinning signs for fun.
Fred’s personality, however, is integral to the development of the team’s origin story. It is Fred, with his face smooshed against the rear windshield, who announces to the group that they’re being pursued by a supervillain, which is scary but cool in Fred’s estimation. It is Fred who provides them shelter after their first escape from said villain, revealing that he is part of a wealthy family. His father, depicted in a portrait, looks very similar to a certain comic creator. His room is full of superhero paraphernalia, posters and toys. Fred’s room inspires the protagonist to turn his group of friends into a superhero squad.
The original Fredzilla from the comics had the ability to shape-shift into a Godzilla-like monster, but Fredzilla in Big Hero 6 is a mecha-style lizard suit that gives him the ability to super jump and breathe fire. As Fredzilla, Fred doesn’t really contribute much, other than overt enthusiasm (and likely the funding to create their suits and weapons), to their battle. Still, he tries his darnedest. Unlike a lot of stereotype stoner characters in popular culture, Fred is all heart.
I’d recommend Big Hero 6 to just about anyone, though it does have problematic elements. It doesn’t pass the Bechdel test, for example, but it does still feature two awesome lady heroes. There’s enough action and human drama to have garnered this film a PG rating. If you enjoy superheros, animated films or just want to see Disney’s aborable stoner superhero in action, it’s worth a watch at your local theater (or a rent or streamed viewing next month). Just make sure to stay put until the end of the credits, because the scene at the very end of the movie, which is Fred-centric, is so wonderfully fan service-y and full of potential for a sequel.
For previous movie reviews published on Ladybud, click here.
Photo Credit: Disney social media pages and online promotional materials