Mei Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang) is a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter – an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS), she “poofs” into a giant red panda. —Disney/Pixar
When I watched Turning Red all I could think was “my inner 13 y/o would’ve loved this movie”, knowing quite well that I’m not entirely 13 anymore, had a completely different experience with my parents, was free to meet boys all I want and stay away from home all I want as well. Oh, and we were politically engaged and … had so much better music back then.
Come on, admit it, post punk, new wave, electronics and hippie music, everything was cool and okay to listen to. We could be a fan of The Police and Pink Floyd at the same time. Man, we were really much free-er than the kidz of today.
And then it dawned on me, same as it dawned on Chris Gore, maybe this film wasn’t made for me. It wasn’t even the typical well thought-out Pixar movie with something for everybody but Turning Red was obviously made for Pixar’s mothership, Disney. It was not just about teenie girls, it was squarely aimed at teenie girls!
And after that revelation I just can’t give Turning Red a good rating, sorry. I mean the figures and the animation was, as usual with Pixar, top notch, very colourful and squeeky cute. And even the “cast” was totally inclusive n stuff. Meilin is Chinese, her besties are Indian-Indian and one of them Korean I guess.
While the film touches on a lot of stuff, like overbearing Asian mums and the awkwardness of puberty, it never makes anything from it. All the topics are more or less just laughed off, and in that aspect Turning Red is far behind the better Pixar movies.
Btw, did you know that the Red Panda ain’t a Panda and no bear at all? In fact the red panda is more closely related to weasels and racoons. Now you know. 😉