Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A 13-year-old girl named Meilin turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited.
Review: Does anyone remember the Pixar short Bao? The one that featured a woman whose Chinese dumpling comes to life and so she raises it like a child until things take a very dark turn? Bao went on to win an Oscar for Best Animated Short and so director Domee Shi was offered the opportunity to make a feature length animated movie which brings us to Disney Pixar’s latest, Turning Red.
Based on the director’s own experiences of growing up in a Chinese-Canadian family, Turning Red is simply a coming of age story about 13-year-old Mei who discovers, Teen Wolf style, that the women in her family are cursed to turn into giant Red Pandas whenever they get excited or upset. An allegory for puberty yes, but Turning Red also explores the importance of respecting your elders while also being true to yourself and who you wish to be in the world.
The animation style is inspired by anime, especially when it comes to the emotional reactions of characters where their eyes will turn into pools of shiny water or sweat will roll profusely down their faces in big droplets. As Pixar films go it wasn’t the best I’ve seen. And regrettably while I found the colours dynamic and fun to look at, I thought the character designs were a bit uninspired.
Like most Pixar movies though, Turning Red is strongest because it tells the kind of personal story most everyone can relate to. The music is also extremely catchy with the final culmination of an old Chinese incantation remixed into a boy band pop song creating the perfect ear worm. The voice cast, especially those of the kids and Sandra Oh (Killing Eve, The Chair) as Ming, Melin’s loving but overbearing mom, all manage their parts well enough to deliver an entertaining experience.
Turning Red may not be your usual Pixar fare as it chooses to tell a story that at times feels less expansive or open to interpretation as say, Soul or Up. And I do think this on is geared more towards a tween audience. Yet everyone can relate to adolescence and we’ve all “turned red” at some point in time, you can’t get more universal than this.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
So what did you think of Turning Red? And you can check out more great Pixar content below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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