Thirteen-year-old Mei is experiencing the awkwardness of being a teenager with a twist – when she gets too excited, she transforms into a giant red panda.
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The digital animation geniuses at Pixar are back with “Turning Red” and it marks a departure for the studio known for the “Toy Story” and “Cars”, franchises. Set in 1990s Toronto, the film centers around 8th grader Mei (Rosalie Chiang), who considers herself an adult at 13 and eagerly applies herself to school when she is not helping her family tour business at a local Temple or hanging with her friends. Life comes crashing to a halt when after a traumatic day of embarrassment; Mei awakens in the form of a large Red Panda. In a panic, Mei attempts to hide her situation which causes her over-protective mother to assume it is Puberty related and that her hormones are kicking in. Mei desperately wants to get her life back to normal and learns that as long as she is calm her Panda is under control. However, this proves to be harder than expected and soon Mei learns that the Panda is the result of a family bloodline but there is a way to end it during a Lunar ceremony in a couple of weeks. Chaos soon follows as Mei struggles with her situation and must find a way to cope with the changes that are going on and make some very important decisions about her life and her future. The film is a difficult one to review for me as never having been a teenage girl dealing with puberty, raging estrogen, and the issues that go with it. That being said the film struggles to find a balance as it tacks on the capers of Mei in Panda form without being overly funny or charming and keeps the focus on Teen Angst, puberty-related issues and becoming an adult. The film lacks the interesting characters, charm, and appeal that have set the foundation for so many Pixar films and it is surprising that a company that can elicit a range of emotions in an animated short fail to really connect with their latest feature. There were some amusing parts but the film as a whole was rather dull and lacked much in the way of humor and was very predictable. The decision to put the film directly on Disney+ as the studio’s recent “Soul” and “Luca” was raised some controversy but in the end, I do believe it was the right decision as “Turning Red” is not likely to be a film that draws people to the cinema beyond the opening weekend. It is a film that is a bold step for the company, but one that lacks the charm and humor of previous films as not everyone is going to want to sit through a feature-length film on teenage angst and dealing with changing bodies and the emotional turmoil that follows. However, the target audience is likely to connect with the characters and it will be interesting to see what the reaction to the film is long-term. 3 stars out of 5 “Turning Red” will debut on Disney+ on March 11th
FULL SPOILER-FREE REVIEW @ https://www.msbreviews.com/movie-reviews/turning-red-spoiler-free-review "Turning Red is undoubtedly the riskiest, possibly the most divisive work in Pixar history. Without any remorse or restraint, Domee Shi and Julia Cho unapologetically approach the sensitive topic of (female) puberty in a quite shocking, positively impactful manner. A narrative that unquestionably explores the hormonal, emotional, and sexual developments of its characters, conveying a message of self-acceptance and understanding of human evolution through its metaphors loaded with youthful excitement. With the well-known technical attributes from the successful studio, this film will serve as an essential companion for all pre-teens who will deal with or are going through this inevitable and "inconvenient" phase of life. One of the best movies of the year until this day." Rating: A-
Well worth a watch, this. 'Turning Red' is a very good flick from Disney/Pixar. It's different in a way, I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out based on the first few minutes but by the end it provides the required and expected amount of entertainment and meaning. The voice cast are excellent, I have no faults with them. Rosalie Chiang gives a performance full of energy in the lead role, while Sandra Oh puts in a strong display alongside Chiang. The rest of them are good too, as I also recognised James Hong and Lori Tan Chinn. Us UK viewers also have the bonus of a small role for Anne-Marie.
Full Analysis at Spotamovie.com - **Intro** - Pixar’s movies usually have great insights, and even with Turning Red, they provided us with meaningful messages to help our children and us grow our personalities and mindset. - **The Story** - Meilin is an energetic teenager ready to walk into the grown-up world. However, she needs to wear a mask when she is with her parents and another one when she is at school and with her friends. The risk to disappoint her family is too big for Meilin. But something unexpected will happen. Meilin’s life will change drastically because of a secret that lives within her family. When Meilin can’t control her emotions, a new version of herself will appear. But can you hold your feelings? - **Full Analysis and Explanation at** https://www.spotamovie.com/turning-red-review-and-explanation-critic-post-movie-disney-movie-2022
Really going to put people on blast for somehow not being able to relate to a movie with themes of controlling parents, puberty emotions, and body image just because it’s in the coat of 13 year old tween Asian angst, shouldn’t the fact that it’s more specific actually be more relatable if you have empathy? Broke down at the theme of "never being good enough for parents", them having their ideas of my future vs. my own. Great music, best animation from Pixar in a while, super expressive.