Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Rear Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
Growing up as a puberty ridden child is something few of us remember with perfect clarity. It’s a time of chaos, intense hormone and mood swings, us desperately trying to be cool and accepted, yet completely terrified out of our minds. It’s a time that most of us tend to forget as time goes on (to a certain extent, mostly by intent) and something that can be a literal nightmare for some people. Especially for poor young Meilin (Rosalie Chiang), a 13 year old who ends up changing a bit MORE than your average person during that time period.
Meilin is your average barely teen girl in Toronto. She and her friends Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), Abby (Hyein Park) and Miriam (Ava Morse) do what what normal teen girls do. They have fun at school, get into some mild trouble, and giggle over boys. However, Meilin’s life changes a bit MORE than just your average teenage hormone shift when in a sudden burst of emotion she shifts into the form of a red panda. Turns out, her family has a known “blessing/curse” bestowed upon them by the spirit of the Red Panda. Every woman her family has the ability to fuse with the Panda spirit and transform at will in order to protect their ancient village. However, in more modern times, it’s seen as more of a detriment than a blessing, so the family performs a ritual to lock the Panda away forever so that the female descendant can live a normal life.
Meilin kind of wants this to pass and get purged from her, but also sort of likes BEING the Panda. Being said Panda has afforded her friendship and personality changes that are appealing, but she doesn’t want to disappoint her ridiculously over protective mother Ming (Sandra Oh). And thus arrives the conflict in the story. The part where the 13 year year old feels that she is no longer a child, but still hasn’t figured out how to become an adult yet either (something we all fought through). Ming is insanely protective of her daughter, much to the detriment of their relationship at times, in hopes that she can spare Meilin the same suffering she went through with HER mother (played by long time actress Wai Ching Ho). With the whole crux of her situation hinging on a concert by her and her friend’s favorite boy band, Meilin sets out on a journey of self discovery to find out who she really is.
Now, this next paragraph is going to be my own personal thoughts and may not be simpactico with other adults out there. That is, the controversy about the film. Like many films these days one of the biggest things that the internet likes to do is create controversy about a new production. Sometimes it’s warranted, and other times I end up rolling my eyes and going “wait??? THIS is what you were all up in arms about?” while hitting my head against the wall. I heard everything from “Turning Red is sexualizing our children!!! just like Cuties!”, to “this isn’t a kid’s film, it teaches kids to be disobedient to their parents!”, and even “they’re sharing nudes!” (which is one of the more hilariously far fetched ones of the group). The reality is, just like most of the controversies in modern films, it’s overblown to a massive degree. No, no one is “sharing nudes” in school, and the concept is fairly ridiculous (it stemmed from the girls trying to raise money for tickets to the concerts by selling photos of Meilin in her Panda form. Instead of of accepting the whole fantasy aspect of the film, some people decided to blow it up into something it’s obviously not). The same can be said about the rest. Most of the controversies literally fizzle out the second you watch the film. HOWEVER, there is one criticism of the film that I feel does hold some water. That is the handling of Meiin and her mother Ming’s confrontation at the end of the film. It’s the one scene set where I can say “you know what, I can honestly see where people feel that it could be interpreted as glorifying rebellion”. Ming is portrayed as overbearing, over aggressive, and super protective of her daughter, but Meilin’s handling of it comes across at times as “I’m right, she’s wrong, and because I’m right I have the right to defy her”. So in that aspect, I felt the controversy hold a bit of weight. It’s a strange conundrum that seems to stem from modern societal issues, and a SUPER hot button at that. We have parents on one side of the aisle VERY intent on finding out what is being taught to their children in schools, and lobbying on a platform that the other side is trying to subvert their parenting authority. Again, something which DOES hold weight, as there is another facet of society (at least in PUBLIC society, most people in the U.S. are firmly in the middle and not extreme on either position) that has really been pushing for “your parents don’t need to dictate your life! Be who you are and do who you want and flip them the bird as you do so!” (hyperbolized a bit there), and some of that latter reasoning bleeds through into the film. Not enough that it’s a massive issue for me, but enough that I can see why some people who are more socially conservative minded might find it problematic, or at least worthy of discussion with their children before seeing. 95% of the film is simply a really clever take on self discovery and fantasy, but I will admit that there were a few viewpoints in the film that would have made me raise an eyebrow coming from the conservative family that I did. Again, this last paragraph was simply me chewing through what I feel was a mishandled theme that easily could have been handled a bit better and completely erased the controversy, despite really enjoying the rest of the movie. As such, my disclaimer is “parent as though seeist fit, but be warned in case that aspect of the movie is a sensitive spot for some”. Personally I found it not that big of a deal, just enough to where I said to myself "you know what, this aspect could have been handled JUST a little better".
Rated PG for thematic material, suggestive content and language
• Build Your Own Boy Band
• Audio Commentary with Director Domee Shi, Producer Lindsey Collins, and Director of Photography Mahyar Abousaeedi
• Deleted Scenes
Turning Red is a fun little romp, but one that is plagued by a few wonky story devices, some issues with teen rebellion, but a fun and culturally rich adventure as well. The stream that I was privy to watching was AMAZING in terms of video and audio quality, and while the Atmos track on the stream is going to be more compressed than the disc’s Atmos stream, was surprised at how robust it was for being a Disney controlled mix (it wasn’t their typical “Atmouse” track). Cute story, definitely one aimed for teens or pre-teens rather than little kids, but still more than an enjoyable romp.
Starring: Gal Gadot, Kenneth Branagh, Annette Bening, Armie Hammer, Russell Brand, Tom Bateman
Directed by: Domee Shi
Written by: Domee Shi, Julia Cho, Sarah Streicher
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Digital Release Date: May 3rd, 2022
Recommendation: Check it Out