Turning Red

#Review: Turning Red

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Boys and girls of all ages. It’s time for another Pixar film and this time it’s all about the trials and tribulations of a young girl who has to deal with her changing body at a very important time in her life. Turning Red is a film about Meilin (Rosalie Chiang) a young girl who is trying to live her best life in 2002 Toronto. She hangs out with her besties, adores the boyband 4*Town and most importantly respects and honours her parents by working hard for them. Perhaps too hard as she doesn’t seem to be living for herself truly. Then one-day Meilin begins her journey as a young woman and something monumental happens, she transforms into a big red monster.

It was a gift at first, then it became an inconvenience

So it turns out that Meilin’s legacy is quite colourful. Her ancestor made a request of an ancient red panda spirit to help her protect her family. How did that work out? Well, she was turned into a giant red panda. As we all know red pandas are of course the deadliest creatures on the planet (no they’re not they’re ridiculously adorable).

This gift was then passed on through generation after generation as each woman came of age. Now in the modern age (the film is set in 2002) transforming into a red panda isn’t exactly in vogue so Meilin has to figure out how to deal with this new period in her life. Thankfully she has the best of friends. Miriam, Priya and Abby support her in these trying times and help her figure out what to do with this big red beast.

Furry, fun and at times formulaic

Turning Red is a lot of fun. The young cast is charming as hell. The quartet is adorable and they are definitely an aspirational group of friends. They all have their own quirks and each one, though not fully explored in the narrative are quite enjoyable, a highlight for me is the loud, terrifying Abby. She screams at everyone and I can relate.

The animation in Turning Red is nothing exceptional but I think that is due to me being spoilt by other animated films that experiment further. If you’re wondering what they are check out Belle and the Oscar-nominated The Mitchells vs. the Machines. There is however an excellent Kaiju battle in the final act that is wonderfully animated which is easily the best part of the film for me.

Turning Red for me was quite formulaic, Pixar and Disney have fallen into something of a routine when it comes to their narratives. If you’ve seen Encanto and Frozen you will see noticeable similarities in the narrative. I think the reason I let it pass is because of how relatable Meilin’s plight is and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with the big red beast.

Turning Red is another hit from Pixar and will likely be a film that hits close to home for young and older teens. Check it out when it hits Disney+ this week. Stay tuned to Scannain for more news, reviews and interviews.