By Blake Moren

Staff Writer

This film review contains some spoilers.

Ever since I was a child, I have seen almost every Pixar film, and I love most of them. Even if “Turning Red” may not be the best Pixar film, it’s one of the best films in the Pixar library of films. It is also one of the boldest films Pixar has ever made. Most Pixar films have high-quality animation and creative story-telling, and “Turning Red” is no exception.

The animation in this film is absolutely stunning to look at. While the film itself is pretty darn funny, the animation makes the film even funnier with how energetic it is. The musical score itself is also amazing.

The voice acting in this film is also consistently excellent. Every actor and actress is perfectly cast in this film. Rosalie Chiang, who voices the main character Mei, does an absolutely fantastic job in this film.

Sandra Oh, who voices Mei’s mother Ming, is outstanding in this film.

Wai Ching Ho, who most Marvel fans know as Madame Gao from “Daredevil” and other Marvel shows, also does a fantastic job in this film. She voices Mei’s grandmother Wu. James Hong, who voices Mei’s neighbor Mr. Gao, is also great in this film. Like I said before, all of the actors and actresses do a phenomenal job in this film.

Ming is among the best antagonists in a Pixar film, and Sandra Oh does a fantastic job voicing the character. The moment during the last half of the film when Mei and Ming realize that they are more alike than they think is compelling. When Ming tells Mei that she is “sick of being perfect,” is among the most emotional and moving moments I’ve ever seen in a Pixar film. I genuinely cried during that moment.

While the concept of a controlling and overbearing parent is not new to Pixar films, this film approaches this topic differently from how “Finding Nemo” approached this subject. In “Finding Nemo,” Marlin was trying to shield Nemo from every possible danger imaginable due to understandable reasons, but the way he goes about protecting Nemo is way too over-protective and a bit irrational. The same could be said for Ming. However, Ming is only slightly less controlling than Marlin was, but not by much.

They are both parents who love their only child but are both too overprotective of them. Their reasons are both somewhat understandable.

Marlin lost his wife and all but one of his babies, who grew up with a foreshortened fin. This makes Marlin’s actions understandable but still irrational. Ming’s family has a history of turning into giant red pandas if they have a strong emotional response to something.

Like Marlin, Ming’s actions are somewhat understandable but still a bit irrational. With all of this being said, the character development in this film is among the best I’ve ever seen in a Pixar film.

Most of the characters in this film are likable, especially Mei’s group of friends.

I also thought it was extremely bold to address periods in a Pixar film. Talking about menstruation is something I would never expect an animated film to include, especially one made by Disney or Pixar, but ultimately, this is a good thing. It shows that Disney and Pixar are willing to address mature and sensitive topics with all the sensitivity and thoughtfulness it deserves.

In this sense, “Turning Red” is a coming-of-age story, and a pretty good one at that.

As with “Coco,” I really enjoyed seeing a film with a culture that I’m not familiar with. I’m always open to learning about other cultures. As with “Shang-Chi”, I find the inclusion of Chinese culture and various other cultures gives the film more depth and realism.

However, I do have some criticisms. I am not really a huge fan of some of the character designs.

Additionally, throughout watching the film, I felt like some of the humor was a bit childish and annoying.

While the film is very funny at times, some jokes don’t land in my opinion. Some scenes are also kind of cringe-worthy, and whether or not this is intentional is somewhat subjective and debatable.

Just for the record, I am a white guy in my late 20s, so I’m probably not part of the demographic that the
film is aiming for.

Usually, Pixar films have a universal appeal that, well, appeals to all ages, and this film just doesn’t quite have that same appeal. At least, it doesn’t have the same appeal to me. This is not really that big of an issue, but again, it’s just my silly opinion. This film appears to mostly appeal to young teenage girls who are obsessed with boy bands and “Twilight”-inspired books.

This is obviously not my demographic and I can’t really relate to either one of these things. However, this doesn’t make this film a bad movie. Not at all.

Overall, this film is a solid but imperfect addition to the Pixar library.

My Rating: 3.9 /5

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