Disney Pixar's Turning Red... Reviewed!

Shout out to the creator & animation team behind this Disney Pixar film, my opinions are my own. + A special shout out to 1More for supplying the Portable Wireless Speakers that powered the audio experience.

Before we jump into this, I just want to point out that this film was crafted by an all-female-led team. I point that out because I think it fits the story, but regardless of that... is this a worthwhile film to check out? Well, let's jump in and find out.

Story: This coming-of-age family fantasy comedy film (say that 3 times fast) is centered around Mei Lee, a brand new 13-year old (aka she just turned 13), and she feels like she's old enough to start making her own decisions (you know how that goes). Mei Lee is played by Rosalie Chiang.

Things begin with all Mei's ducks in a row, she's a star student, she helps her mom (and dad when he's shown) to maintain their temple/tourist shop... but you can see the cracks in her neat little life where her individuality is tucked away so her mom can't see it. So you will see her trying to enjoy time with her three friends, but she dashes off to make sure she's back in time so that she doesn't disappoint her mother or make her think something else is going on (like Mei doing something she enjoys).

Mei continues to walk that fine line throughout the film until she turns... red, and then the sassiness becomes harder and harder to contain and hide from her mother. Her turning red represents puberty to a degree but the film isn't about that time of the month. When she first changed into a red panda, Mei's mom thought it was... that time in her life (you know... that time), and I like the way they added comedic value to it but it's only a couple of scenes in the film. 

I've talked to people about the film who assume the film is about that, but it's not (at all), it's just an assumption they played on (twice from what I counted).

It would be something that completely goes over a young child's head (which is good), but this film works well for teens & adults who... get it. I would highly recommend this film to moms who want to watch a film with their teen daughters for bonding time or whatever. It's not one of those films that are exclusive to moms and teenie boppers, but they come to mind for me.

To jump into the actual review, Mei shows sass and attitude to a degree, but it's light-hearted and doesn't cross the line into anything questionable (even though she and her mom might think that it was edgy). I think that invisible line also was represented by her mother because she wanted to stay in her good graces and not cross the line (which some of us can respect).

So it opens in a very upbeat way and then introduces the tug of war in her life as she walks the fine line of trying to be independent without crossing her mother. Her mother puts her in a box which also comes with assumptions about Mei as if she can do no wrong, just like the situation regarding a store clerk. If that were real life that would've been no laughing matter and the store clerk would've been caught up for no reason because her mom is so extra and she's so concerned with not wanting to disappoint her that she would let someone catch Ming's wrath. 

I didn't like that about Mei or her mother, and it will come to a head to a degree. Ming is played by Sandra Oh.

A lot of the film covered Mei trying to cope and overcome... Turning Red. I don't want to give away too much, but her friends didn't just vanish, and neither did the life she had to live, so you will get Teen Wolf vibes to a degree as she tries to keep her cool at school without going red panda. There were other objectives in the film, but I'm not going to give them away. What I will say is... the focus wasn't mainly about keeping Mei's secret, and the majority of the viewers should easily be able to get on board with the goal Mei and her friends are aiming for. Her mom is still her mom, so that dynamic is there but... overall, I like how things played out and how it oozed anime influences throughout the film.

The cons include the situation mentioned earlier with the store clerk, but another included her dad. He was basically treated like a stepdad when it comes to their daughter. He was there, he was her dad, but he couldn't say anything that didn't align with what her mom said. Her decision was final, and if she took a step back this would've been better for Mei. He came through in due time, but he's not on the radar like Ming Lee (but... I understood to a degree, keep scrolling).

Domee Shi, the creator of the film actually spent a lot of time with her mother... which is where the motivation came from regarding her film. Her parents were overprotective and she was an only child. Even her experiences with her grandmother were a part of this film, and you can definitely see the influence from that regarding the temple and the family hustle. 

When you take a look at the film, outside of the creator's experiences, there are the experiences of other members of the team sewn in there also to bring the film to life more... but Domme's impact is felt the most just based on all the nuances she poured into Disney Pixar's Turning Red. Take a good look at Mei's reaction to her mother, someone lived that life under an overbearing mother or it wouldn't have been expressed as well as it was in the film.

Visuals: Visuals are as awesome as you'd expect from a Disney Pixar film. The characters remind me of the ones you'd see in Studio Ghibli films (i.e. My Neighbor Totoro & Ponyo), they're on the thicker side... and not exactly on the slender side like you'd see with a lot of anime characters.

The visuals were a crip 4K, the colors were vibrant, and the fur looked great when Mei turned into a red panda. Special effects were used in a way that made sense, and the way Mei used her transformation for double jumps... looked badass.

Audio: Audio in this film is damn good, powered by Dolby Atmos you get the spatial sound experience... but I also had the pleasure of listening with the 1More Portable Wireless Speakers
that delivered from start to finish. The concert experience delivered epic sound, but even throughout the film, there were a variety of sounds to enjoy... even if they were as small as Mei's bed breaking, the team represented well. I would speak on a certain scene, but I won't want to give it away.

Price: Pricewise, you won't have to pay for the film at all if you have Disney+, which... if you love movies and shows that are Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and even Star Wars related... it's worth considering a $7.99 monthly subscription.

Story 5

Visuals 5

Audio 5

Price 5

5 out of 5 Cool Points

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