Pixar has found great success with stories about animal transformations in recent years, and their newest film may be the most severe example to date.
This week, Disney Plus will debut Turning Red, a show about a Chinese Canadian adolescent named Mei Lee who, if she gets really excited, changes into a gigantic red panda.
Domee Shi, director of the excellent short film Bao, makes his feature film debut with this film, which offers a mix of hilarious gags, entertaining allusions to the early 2000s setting, and insightful looks at immigrant communities.
Here’s all you need to know about Turning Red, a film that’s sure to win over moviegoers with its fresh take on adolescent anxiety, thanks to Pixar.
When Will Turning Red Come Out?
On Friday, March 11, 2022, Turning Red will premiere for Disney Plus subscribers only.
Turning Red, like Pixar’s last two films Soul and Luca, will not be released in traditional theatres but rather exclusively on the internet.
After appearing in the short films Soiled and The Interns, Rosalie Chiang will make her big screen debut in the Turning Red cast as the protagonist Mei Lee.
Sandra Oh, best known for her role as Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy from 2005 to 2014 and for her award-winning performance as the titular character in blockbuster hit spy thriller Killing Eve, will lend star power as Mei’s overbearing mother Ming.
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Never Have I Ever), Ava Morse (Ron’s Gone Wrong), and Hyein Park (Soul) all lend their voices to the film as Mei’s pals, while Orion Lee (First Cow), Wai Ching Ho (Daredevil), and James Hong also make cameo appearances (Mulan).
Domee Shi, whose previous work includes the Oscar-winning Pixar short Bao, wrote and directed the picture that will screen before The Incredibles 2. As a storyboard artist, she contributed to several more Pixar features, including Toy Story 4 and Inside Out.
In Turning Red, we observe Mei Lee, a socially awkward 13-year-old who, when she gets aroused, transforms into a gigantic red panda. Mei is dealing with the shifting interests and relationships that come with entering puberty.
Unfortunately for a teen, Ming’s mother, who means well but is overprotective, is never far from her side.
It appears that Mei’s shift will serve as a metaphor for the transition into adulthood, and that the mother-daughter connection will play a significant role in the film, providing Pixar with another opportunity to play on audiences’ emotions.
The initial trailer used a song by the Backstreet Boys because the movie is set in the middle of the 2000s in Toronto. Pixar is known for its attention to detail, so it comes as no surprise that this video features multiple nods to Canada. These include the CN Tower in the background and a school named after former Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.