Turning Red is the latest film from Pixar Animation Studios that is now currently available to watch on Disney+. After the release of her Oscar-winning short film Bao, Domee Shi has finally taken on her feature directorial debut with Turning Red. The premise revolves around a 13-year-old girl named Mei Lee (Rosalie Chiang) who finds out she has the unique ability to transform into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited or anxious. She also has to deal with her strict mother Ming (Sandra Oh), who wants her to be the ideal perfect daughter in her family. It’s pretty much a fun coming-of-age story that anyone can relate to, especially with touching themes of friendship and family. There’s just something special and heartfelt whenever you watch a Pixar flick.
“Red is a lucky color.” First of all, it’s important to touch on the fact that the way Shi incorporates Chinese cultures into the movie is marvelously brilliant. Turning Red is the first-ever Pixar feature to specifically focus on the Asian community, and it’s refreshing to see this amount of diversity and representation with the characters. You can tell this film means a lot to the director, who wants to see more diverse cultural perspectives in upcoming projects. It’s beautifully animated from start to finish, which is exactly what you would expect from this studio, given the incredible team of animators who have worked really hard on this. Whether you like or dislike Pixar titles, it’s important to give the team the praise they highly deserve for their remarkable skills in animation.
“We are 4*Townies, remember? Ride or die!” This is Chiang’s feature debut in the lead role, and she’s going to be a superstar. Mei is such a likable character while being able to bring both humorous and emotional moments in her performance. You also enjoy seeing the bond she has with her best friends Miriam (Ava Morse), Abby (Hyein Park), and Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan). They don’t have a ton of character development since they’re just supporting characters, but you still appreciate their friendship. The relationship between Mei and her mother is easily the best part of the movie, especially because it’s the most fundamental element of the overall narrative. Their conflict with one another is very compelling on a cultural level. Sure, the premise is admittedly predictable at times. However, some aspects you have never seen before in a Pixar film make this a unique and inspiring watch for some people who can relate with Mei, which is quite commendable.