Turning Red – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Turning Red – Life of Change: It’s a Red Panda Thing

Life is about many things: love among family, reaching new heights and experiencing individual changes.  No matter what comes your way, every event is met with emotions that will propagate a journey of uncertainty.  Capturing life’s moments is a poignant reflection, and a studio that does that the best is Pixar.  In this review, I look at their latest animated film.  This is a story that revels in life changes, but with a heartfelt twist.  Going beyond the typical within genuine themes, Turning Red is an uplifting journey of life changes and finding yourself.

The story centers around Meilin (voiced: Rosalie Chiang), a young girl that lives in Toronto with her mother and father, Ming (voiced: Sandra Oh) and Jin (voiced: Orion Lee).  Together, they run the Lee’s family temple with well-kept secret.  One night, Meilin’s life is forever changed.  As she comes at an awkward moment (in her life), will she be able to find her own path?  When it comes to Pixar, that have this ability to build a story within traditional elements that become something memorable (for years to come).  With this story, they create a foundation within family-oriented themes, but push forward with a unique draw of characterization, comedy and a twist on mythical beliefs.  Meilin is a middle school girl that delicately balances her social life against her familial responsibilities.  That clash of adolescence and parental authority is familiar, but it is imbued with a unique blend of culture, world-building and colorful animation.  The general setup leads into the core conflict of the film: The Lee’s family secret.  At a certain age, the women gain the ability to transform into a big red panda.  For Meilin, this ability comes about as she is experiencing her own personal changes in her adolescent life.  The initial reactions become a series of unfortunate events that propagate a conflict of ideals and perceptions between her and her mother.  How can she deal with her own issues (school, boys and musical crushes) and try to meet her mother’s demands of familial secret?  This clashing of motifs is wonderfully blended with colorful visuals, comedic situations and poignant familial scenes.  The level of brevity, infused with the fantastical elements, creates a genuine take of innocence against other common tropes.  This adds a layer of poignancy that shows a coming of age that is slowly rising above become a heartful tale of growth and understanding.

As the journey continues, she (and her friends) uses this new ability to their advantage.  This leads to scenes of generic comedic hijinks and familial conflict, bringing about an emotional prudence to the mother/daughter dynamic.  When things come to head, it all leads to consequences that turn the fantastical into a poignant display of emotional fervor.  There is a level of virtue that moves the common aesthetics into a realm of fragile moments.  As everything comes to certain point, the gorgeous animation adds gravitas in the third act.  This fusion of bombastic visuals and grounded revelations brings about moments of raw adrenaline within a race against time motif.  When everything comes together, it leads to a character revelation like climax, bringing about that wholesome epilogue Pixar is known for.  Turning Red is another amazing achievement for Pixar.  If you are a fan of animation, Pixar, family themed or coming of age tales, this is one for you.  It is available on Disney Plus, but it would have been worth the full price at theaters.      

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

One Response to “Turning Red – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *