Turning Red is the new standard for Disney and Pixar movies



The promotional photo for the new Disney and Pixar movie Turning Red

Disney and Pixar’s new movie, Turning Red, had me overdosing on adorableness while still tackling real issues. 

There were many aspects of the movie that I thoroughly enjoyed, such as the plot. The movie followed Mei Lee (Rosalie Chiang), a thirteen-year-old girl in Toronto, Canada, as she struggles through puberty and the inconvenience of turning into a huge, red panda. Mei Lee struggles between being the obedient daughter or letting herself cut loose and act her age. The climax of the movie is Mei Lee learning to control the panda and eventually performing a ceremony to be rid of the panda. 

Mei Lee struggles to find herself, and the movie showcases the true struggles of puberty: feeling like you are turning into a huge monster. I also found myself appreciating how the movie accurately depicted a mother-daughter relationship and fight—something Disney lacked in previous movies. 

I was highly entertained by the plot, but I feel as though the characters kept my focus more. Mei Lee was very relatable, especially for me. I am the oldest of three and have always felt the pressure to be the perfect, golden child. Mei Lee is her mother’s pride and joy and feels as though she cannot lose her approval. 

I also loved the friendship dynamic between Mei Lee and her three friends, Miriam (Ava Morse), Abby (Hyein Park), and Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan). They push Mei Lee to become her own person and support her through whatever decisions she makes. Mei Lee managed to find three astounding friends—the type of friends everyone aspires to have—at the mere age of thirteen. 

Mei Lee managed to find three astounding friends—the type of friends everyone aspires to have—at the mere age of thirteen. 

A part of the friendship Mei Lee had that I believe to be peak relatability was the group’s obsession with a boy band. They all had a crush on a different member of the group and would dance and sing one of their songs at any given moment. I was smiling at each instance. Turning Red accurately depicted how thirteen-year-old girls act with one another, and I am beyond pleased about it. 

Another thing Disney and Pixar managed to execute correctly was character development. Mei Lee’s mother, Ming Lee (Sandra Oh), was strict and believed Mei Lee should act the same way that Ming Lee does, but at the end of the movie, she is more accepting of Mei Lee’s interests and hobbies. The movie didn’t brush past the struggle of accepting, though, and showed how Ming Lee caught herself from judging Mei Lee’s actions. It showed the real growth in her character. 

Though I admire the character development in Ming Lee, I believe Mei Lees was rushed. It happened in one scene, and from then on, she was two people: someone around her mother, and another person around her friends. By the end of the movie, she had a single personality, but I would have preferred to see Mei Lee make small changes before the highly noticeable drastic change had occurred. 

I genuinely cannot complain. Turning Red had more diversity, realistic characters, and relationships than any previous Disney and Pixar movie. I was enthralled by the characters and mildly entertained by the plot.