In Turning Red Mei is a 13-year-old who seems to be the perfect daughter and perfect student. At least that is what she is trying to be. However, it isn’t easy trying to be the perfect daughter while also navigating adolescence. Complicating things, even more, is that Mei turns into a giant red panda when she gets too excited. As she tries to figure out how all of these things work together, Mei has to find the balance between honoring her mother and also honoring herself. Disney provided a digital download of this release which I spent a wonderful afternoon reviewing. Read below what I thought of this digital and blu-ray release.
Turning Red continues the trend of beautiful Pixar films. The colors are vibrant and the animation is beautiful. There are so many details to pay attention to throughout the film. It is a film that would have looked absolutely amazing on the big screen. The accompanying audio tracks are equally solid. This applies to the sound design and the soundtrack. There is even the boy band 4*Town, which also sounds great! This is a movie that is worth having a good screen and a good set of speakers (or headphones) to watch. In fact, the speakers might be even more important than the screen in this movie as the music of 4*Town really is conducive to that.
The extras that accompany Turning Red are definitely worth watching. They also do what a good set of extras should do, add depth to the movie, and with it comes another element of re-watch-ability. The bonus features included with the film include three main featurettes that go into the making of the film, an audio commentary, and quite the collection of deleted scenes. All of these are worth watching. While this may not have as many bonus features as other releases, it makes up for it by making each feature count.
- Audio Commentary – View the film with audio commentary by director Domee Shi, producer Lindsey Collins, and director of photography Mahyar Abousaeedi.
- Life of a Shot – Domee Shi and members of the crew describe the many-layered process and artistry involved in creating the hilarious Red Peony scene – from observing red pandas in a zoo to creating a storyboard to finalizing the animation and background lighting.
- Build Your Own Boy Band – Step backstage to learn how 4*TOWN came to animated life. From creating each band member’s persona to writing and producing the songs to fine-tuning the details of their stadium performance, the filmmakers reveal how they designed the ultimate boy band.
- Ani-Mei-Tion – Because Mei’s heightened emotionality is central to the story, it was important that her look and movement reflect that energy. Learn how Domee Shi led the animation team to incorporate hints of expressive anime to create Mei’s lovable, dynamic character.
- Deleted Scenes
- Deleted Scenes Introduction – Director Domee Shi introduces scenes not included in the final version of Turning Red.
- Intro Meilin – In this alternate opening, Ming and young Mei have their portrait taken in a studio…but Ming has her own specific vision for the photo.
- Taming The Panda – Under her mother’s guidance, Mei learns techniques to control her ability to magically turn into a red panda…to varying degrees of success.
- The Debate – Mei runs for class president against frenemy Tyler, and the speeches get a little out of hand.
- Fei And Christina Hang – Mei (formerly Fei) shares a banana split while having a heart-to-heart with Aunt Christina.
- 4*TOWN Dilemma – Mei scores tickets to her dream concert, but her strict mother won’t let her out of the house. What will she do?
- Roping In Leo – Pleading with Leo for help with getting out of trouble, Mei learns a couple of his closely guarded secrets.
- Easter Egg – Robutton Deleted Scene – An alternate ending in which Mei, finding herself sitting next to her 4*TOWN dream-idol Robaire on a flight to California, has some feelings.
Watching the Bonus features for Turning Red really was enjoyable. The three featurettes were particularly enjoyable. They are definitely worth watching and then going back and watching the movie again.
*bonus features vary by product and retailer
Turning Red really is a beautiful movie that is quite enjoyable to watch. Having lived through the early 2000s when the story takes place, it was fun to watch this era recreated in such a fun and accurate way. This movie has a lot of heart and humor. It also is completely realistic relationally. Even if Mei turning into a giant red panda is central to the storyline, the movie is quite relatable. The relationships and characters in the film are believable. Turning Red really is a beautiful film to watch that is unapologetically what it is, the realization of a dream and vision of director Domee Shi. Shi is a brilliant storyteller and director and I definitely take my hat off to this movie and director. Go out and get the blu-ray today or download it as it definitely should be a part of every Pixar, and film, fan’s movie library!