Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Turning Red (2022)

Streaming Service: Disney+
Movie Name/Year: Turning Red (2022)
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Length: 100 minutes
Rating: PG
Production/Distribution: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney+, Feelgood Entertainment, HKC Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Director: Domee Shi
Writer:  Domee Shi, Julia Cho, Sarah Streicher
Actors: Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Hyein Park, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Orion Lee, Wai Ching Ho, Tristan Allerick Chen, Lori Tan Chinn, Mia Tagano, Sherry Cola, Lillian Lim, James Hong, Jordan Fisher, Finneas O’Connell, Topher Ngo, Grayson Villanueva, Josh Levi
Blurb from IMDb: A 13-year-old girl named Mei Lee turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited.

Selina’s Point of View:
Turning Red was… a lot. I think it’s going to be a few days before I fully finish digesting what I just saw. It went very deep into some big subjects.
I’m kind of surprised Disney put this out, actually. It’s pretty blunt for something they produced. Disney’s never shied away from big subjects, of course. Loss and death are central themes in most of their projects. When it comes to puberty, though… they tend to take things down a more subtle route. Insinuating things through easily swallowed songs or anthropomorphized creatures/toys. Granted, we’ve got a human-transforming red panda here, but there was no beating around the bush.
There was frank discussion about menstruation and a blooming interest in boys. I’m trying to remember if there’s a PG Disney flick in the past that utilized the word ‘sexy’. I don’t think there is.
I don’t have a problem with any of the aforementioned aspects of Turning Red. I think PG is a fine rating for it, as well. That said, I don’t believe that it can’t be fully appreciated by children below puberty age. Kids that are starting to really separate from their parents and find themselves are likely the ones that are going to relate enough to enjoy this film. Their parents will find some good in it, too.

I love that it speaks to us as well as the kids. There are some very loud messages in Turning Red geared directly to parents. There are reminders that it’s normal for kids to rebel at a certain age, and that respecting your kid’s identity is more important than forcing them to conform to tradition.
As someone who rebelled early, and hard… it’s not something I forget. I know a lot of adults that do, though. I think the reminder is necessary.
Turning Red was a lot of fun. I get why it went straight to streaming instead of theaters and quality is not part of that. I think Disney might have been a little concerned with how people would take the blatant lessons within the story.
It’s worth a watch, but there are some cringy parts that adults might go get snacks during. While younger teens might have trouble watching other parts with their parents sitting right next to them.

Cat’s Point of View:
Oh, Turning Red – to paraphrase The Bard, how much do I love you? Let me count the ways… Actually, no. That’s not a good idea. We’d be here forever. You’d guess correctly at this point if you think my answer is some version of “a lot.” It’s an understatement, but it’ll do.
Turning Red is so much more than a coming-of-age story. I felt Mei Lee’s inner struggle to try to please her family and fulfill duty causing her to struggle with her growing desires for independence as she entered her teens.
Mei Lee and her ‘ride or die girls’ were absolute squad goals. I loved their friendship dynamic, and I got all sorts of nostalgic reminiscing about the circle of girls I was close to in High School. I didn’t quite find the same feeling with a group of friends like that again until much later in life. I digress…

I really loved everything about Turning Red. The animation was certainly up to Pixar standards, and I really wanted to be on the screen with the characters giving the giant red panda a big hug. The depiction of Mei Lee’s family culture was rich and nuanced. I loved all the details about the temple and their ancestors. It was presented in a way that felt organic and didn’t leave me out of the loop because I ‘didn’t fit’ that particular mold. 
I was also a bit giddy that Turning Red takes place in Toronto. That’s the only city out of the U.S. that I’ve been able to visit, thus far. It was fun to recognize landmarks like the C.N. Tower.
The cast performed as well as I imagined they would after watching the trailer. I do have to say, though, that Rosalie Chiang (Clique Wars, The Interns, Soiled) nailed it. She has a bright future ahead of her, and I can’t wait for her next project.
Turning Red was everything I wanted it to be and then some. I was completely on board with this emotional rollercoaster that had me laughing one moment and shaking my head in concern the next. If you don’t already have Disney+, Turning Red would be one of many excellent reasons to get it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 95%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 72%
Metascore – 83%
Metacritic User Score – 6.4
IMDB Score – 7.1/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 4.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 5/5
P.S. Short after-credits scene. The credits, however, are 18-minutes long. It’s not really worth it.
Movie Trailer:

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