Meilin (voiced by Rosalie Chiang) in a scene from the Pixar movie “Turning Red.” (Pixar/Disney/TNS)
By Victor Mays, Entertainment Editor
The new Disney+ coming of age Pixar movie, “Turning Red,” came out last week and it was great. Set in 2002, a 13-year old girl Meilin Lee wants nothing more than to please her mother and do right by her friends. One night transforms into a giant red panda, she must learn to accept herself for who she is and make her mother accept her.
This movie is definitely inspired by 90s anime. As evident in the different visual and narrative tropes such as exaggerated expressions on characters’ faces as well as using jewelry and transformation curses as plot devices.
This attention to detail is fantastic. Since the movie is set in 2002 with an Asian cast, the music is heavily inspired by the music of the 90’s and early 2000’s. The music is a combination of hip-hop and traditional Asian music. This even goes as far as to blend the instruments that are native to Asia and the instruments that are more commonly used in America.
What makes this movie so fun is just how relatable all these characters are. Meilin Lee is a quirky girl who likes Tamagotchis and boy bands. She is hyper-confident and smart. Miriam, one of Meilin’s friends, is a tomboy and a skater who is a steadfast and reliable friend. Abby is aggressive and Miriam is depressed.
Their friendship is what makes the movie wholesome and entertaining. Without their bond, the story would have been a tragedy instead a coming of age family film.
The story is not just about friendship, but it is also about familial bonds and how they can affect your emotions. When Meilin has to stop herself from turning into a red panda she has to control her emotions. However her mother makes it really hard for her to stay calm.
This movie very much deals with the concept of generational trauma. This is when certain negative qualities can be passed down through generations of family. The movie’s main character Meilin Lee was to do everything to please her mother, even if that means not being true to herself.
Meilin’s mother Ming Lee tried to do the same with her mother. This shows an ideology that was passed down from the previous generations to this generation.
This movie was enjoyable to watch from beginning to end. It’s only about ninety minutes which makes it a pretty quick and easy watch. The soundtrack is great as it was composed by Ludwig Goransson. The soundtrack even featured a Turning Red original boy band group called 4*TOWN to make NSYNC and Backstreet Boys style music.
The movie was quirky and relatable. I recommend it to anyone who struggles with their self-worth.