Pixar has found great success with stories about animal transformations in recent years, and their newest film may be the most severe example yet.
Disney Plus’ newest original series, Turning Red, follows the narrative of Mei Lee, a Chinese Canadian teenager whose adolescence angst is complicated by the fact that she turns into a gigantic red panda whenever she gets too enthusiastic.
Domee Shi, director of the excellent short film Bao, makes his feature film debut with this hilarious and entertaining comedy that also offers some insightful observations about life for immigrants in the early 21st century.
Here’s all you need to know about Turning Red, a film that’s sure to win over moviegoers with its fresh take on adolescent angst.
Whenever The Date Turned Red Is Published
On March 11th, 2022, Turning Red will premiere for Disney Plus subscribers alone.
Turning Red, like Pixar’s last two projects Soul and Luca, will not have a traditional theatrical release but rather be made available only on the internet.
Disney Plus costs £7.99 per month or £79.90 per year to subscribe to.
The Red Spiral
Although she has acted in the short films Soiled and The Interns, Rosalie Chiang is making her big screen debut in the Turning Red cast as the main Mei Lee.
Sandra Oh, best known for her role as Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy from 2005 to 2014 and for her award-winning performance as the title character in the blockbuster spy thriller Killing Eve, will lend star power to the role of Mei’s domineering mother Ming.
Friends of Mei’s voiced by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Never Have I Ever), Ava Morse (Ron’s Gone Wrong), and Hyein Park (Soul), with additional roles for Orion Lee (First Cow), Wai Ching Ho (Daredevil), and James Hong (Mulan).
Domee Shi, who helmed the Oscar-winning Pixar short Bao that screened before The Incredibles 2, wrote and directed the picture. Aside from Inside Out and Toy Story 4, she has contributed to a number of other Pixar features in the role of storyboard artist.
Movie Promo for “Turning Red”
Is there anything more humiliating for a teen than having their mother show up at school? That is, if you look at this cute teaser that sums up the film’s premise so well that you immediately transform into a gigantic red panda.
The Plot to Turn Red
Mei Lee, a socially awkward 13-year-old dealing with the shifting interests and relationships that come with adolescence, is the focus of Turning Red. When Mei gets enthusiastic, she turns into a massive red panda.
Ming, her loving but overprotective mother, is never far from her daughter, which is difficult for a teen.
Mei’s metamorphosis appears to be a metaphor for the transition into adulthood, and the mother-daughter relationship appears to be at the film’s centre, providing Pixar with a great opportunity to once again tug at the audience’s heartstrings.
In the first trailer, we hear a song by the Backstreet Boys, which makes sense given that the film is set in Toronto in the middle of the 2000s.
In typical Pixar fashion, the studio has included a number of subtle references to Canada throughout the teaser. These include the CN Tower and a nod to former prime minister Lester B. Pearson in the name of the school.
To Explain “Turning Red”
Meilin “Mei” Lee, a Chinese-Canadian adolescent played by a rookie Rosalie Chiang, is the protagonist of this coming-of-age film. All the joys (read: bafflement and awkwardness) of adolescence at the age of thirteen are upon her.
These include her muddled feelings, her growing attraction to another woman, her monthly period, and her arguments with her mother (played by Sandra Oh). And if that weren’t enough, Mei transforms into a massive red panda whenever she experiences strong emotions.
And regaining control of her emotions is the only thing that will allow her to once again become the real Mei. Compare and contrast “Hulk” with “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.”
An ancient rite holds the secret to reversing the metamorphosis. Which all of Mei’s female relatives (mother, grandmother, aunts) can attest to.
Warning: the plot of this film relies on Mei not being ashamed of her panda transformation. To the point when she can finally feel her feelings without fear of being overwhelmed by them. And she just lets herself be herself.
Taking It in Stride: Images, Relationships, and Adolescence
Along with other Disney films, “Turning Red” delves into more profound themes and situations.
From “Inside Out’s” approach to dealing with ambivalent feelings to “Brave’s” handling of familial dynamics to “Encanto”s representation of culture, animated films have explored a wide range All three are explored in depth here.
Sometimes, being a teenager seems like it will break you. However, if you are a person of colour navigating generational tensions, the going may get rougher. Just as the director Domee Shi depicts in her semi-autobiographical feature.
She experienced life in a foreign culture and country, apart from that of her parents (Chinese immigrants to Canada in the 1980s).
It’s also significant that a woman director is handling this tale of a young woman coming of age. Period. One could argue that this is the first time the subject has been given such serious treatment in a Pixar film.
It can aid parents in making sense of their children’s baffling feelings and changes. Additionally, normalise the conversation for young people. Because of the cultural stigma attached to menstruation and puberty in general.
The truth is that you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Also, everyone should be aware of this.
Writing (Her) History
For Pixar, “Turning Red” is groundbreaking in other respects as well. The film marks the first time a woman has taken charge of the directing duties at Pixar. And the first one to star an Asian American woman.
It’s the first of its kind to take place in Canada. What’s more, Shi had the backing of a team run by women. Who are the global decision-makers?
Listening to “Turning Red” as a family will have you all feeling warm and cosy inside. However, it also brings up some serious and, at times, unpleasant issues.
Opening up communication channels between parents and their children is a positive step. As well as reducing our sense of isolation.