Over the past few years, Disney+ has provided subscribers with buzzworthy new movies and television shows at the click of the button. On Friday morning, yet another blockbuster film was added to that list — Pixar's Turning Red. At the time of this writing, Turning Red is now available to stream exclusively on Disney+. The animated film is also playing in theaters in countries that do not have Disney+.
Turning Red introduces Mei Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang), a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother's dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter-an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren't enough, whenever she gets too excited (which is practically always), she "poofs" into a giant red panda.
"For us, it was just important not to shy away from all of the awkward, cringey moments and memories that we all had of being a tween," director and co-writer Domee Shi told ComicBook.com earlier this year. "Moments of being under your bed and going into a lusty drawing spiral in your secret sketchbook, or of magical puberty hitting you in the middle of class of your classroom and your mom horribly embarrassing you. I think for us, if it could give us a visceral reaction in the story room, we knew we had to put it somewhere in the movie. I think, if the whole message of the movie is Mei embracing all of this messy change in her life, her body, her relationship with her mom and her friends, that meant we also had to embrace the mess in our childhood and adolescence as well."
"From the beginning, it was really important for Domee, and for all of us really, to not represent Mei as broken in any way," producer Lindsey Collins echoed. "She didn't need to get fixed. Who you meet in the beginning of the movie is a kid whose confident and dorky and comfortable in her own skin, and has her great relationships with her friends and her parents. So nothing is wrong necessarily, it's just that when she hits puberty and she turns into the giant red panda, it just throws her whole world upside down. So it was how she's going to deal with it, and how it affects her relationship with her parents and stuff. I love that. It wasn't about, "Oh, well, we're going to take this broken character and fix her by the end of the movie, or we're going to represent her in a way that feels maybe one-note." She's this great, complicated, funny, confident and super likable kid, that's just going through something that every single [one of us goes through]. She just happens to be going through it in a very magical way."
As mentioned above, Turning Red is now available on Disney+. If you haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.