After cutting its teeth investigating the unexplored worlds of toys, bugs, and bedroom closets, latter-day Pixar has veered more existential. Inside Out dived deep into the human mind; Soul had a little fun with the family-friendly subject of death; and Luca embraced the small pleasures of life outside of the medium’s traditional adventure. Pixar’s next venture, Turning Red, keeps up the habit with a story about the pangs of early adolescent mood swings. And the highs and lows of transforming into a red panda.
The trailer for Turning Red introduces us to 13-year-old girl and student Mei Lee. Like many her age, is overcome by pretty much every emotion that hits her. Anger, humiliation, anxiety, fear, excitement, you name it. In the trailer, Mei Lee first takes panda form when her mother shows up outside her classroom window. That’d be enough to drive almost any teen to fatal levels of embarrassment; luckily, Mei Lee survives the travesty. But she does wreak havoc across town as a giant, roof-hopping beast.
In the corniest move imaginable, the Turning Red trailer employs the 20-plus-year-old Backstreet Boys number “Larger Than Life.” But hey, corny ain’t bad. And the hits are the hits.
From Disney’s press release:
“[T]he upcoming all-new original feature film Turning Red from Pixar Animation Studios’ director Domee Shi, who won an Oscar® for her 2018 short film, Bao. Young actress Rosalie Chiang lends her voice to Mei Lee, a 13-year-old who suddenly ‘poofs’ into a giant red panda when she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS). Sandra Oh (The Chair, Killing Eve) voices Mei Lee’s protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming, who is never far from her daughter—an unfortunate reality for the teenager. Directed by Shi and produced by Lindsey Collins, Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red releases March 11, 2022.”
The March 11 release date stands, but on January 7, Disney announced the Pixar film will premiere exclusively on Disney+. The company cited the success of Soul and Luca on Disney+ and “the delayed box office recovery, particularly for family films” as the reason for the change. In international markets where Disney+ is not yet available, the film will be released theatrically, with premiere dates to be announced.
Featured Image: Disney/Pixar
Originally published July 13, 2021.