Turning Red Turns Movie Industry To New View

Turning Red Turns Movie Industry To New View
Turning Red Turns Movie Industry To New View

‘Turning Red’ 

Domee Shi received an Oscar for her wonderful Pixar animated short, Bao, three years ago. It caught something hilarious and heartbreaking about the cultural and generational gaps that often split Asian immigrant families by depicting the charming and bizarre story of a Chinese Canadian mother and a steamed dumpling that comes to life.

Shi delves deeper into the complexity of Asian parent-child relationships in her debut picture, Turning Red, and this time she’s come up with an even crazier concept. If you combined Carrie with The Joy Luck Club and got away with a PG rating, it may look somewhat like this film. Read How To Make A Roadmap For Young Changemakers. Read here new movie "Luck"

The narrative takes place in the early 2000s and follows Meilin Lee, a 13-year-old girl who lives in Toronto’s Chinatown and is voiced by Rosalie Chiang. Mei is a dutiful overachiever, a straight-A student who volunteers at her parents’ temple to honor their Chinese ancestors.

While Mei’s father is quiet and largely keeps out of the way, her mother, Ming (a fantastic Sandra Oh), is too attentive to the point of being intrusive. Ming, in addition to being heavily active in Mei’s schoolwork, strictly monitors her daughter’s social life in the hopes that she will not be overly influenced by Western customs.

But, while Mei may appear to be the ideal daughter, she, like any adolescent, has interests of her own. She’s starting to notice males, and she and her friends are particularly enamored with a boy band a la ‘N Sync. Then, in a twist reminiscent of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and numerous werewolf flicks, she wakes up to find herself transformed into a huge red panda, complete with vivid red-orange fur and a long, bushy tail. She immediately loses her cool.

The narrative was co-written by Shi and Julia Cho, and it addresses the messiness of puberty with an honesty that is refreshing in the world of studio animation. Mei’s transition is unmistakably a metaphor for the start of adolescence, when your body betrays you and becomes unrecognizable in an instant. But it’s also a metaphor for something else. The red-panda effect, it turns out, is the product of some very ancient Chinese sorcery passed down to Mei through the ladies in her family. Read How To Prepare Society For The Next Pandemic

It’s an absurd situation, but as with most Pixar films, even the most absurd plot elements have their own narrative logic. Mei quickly realizes that her panda character is activated by extreme emotions; when she calms down, she reverts to her human self.

Her mother encourages her to control her emotions, as well as the panda. But then something unusual happens: her pals learn about the panda and, instead of being disturbed by it, believe it’s the cutest, greatest thing imaginable. Soon, Mei is newly popular and enjoying the time of her life, and she begins to wonder: What if the panda, rather than being a humiliating aberration, is the truest representation of her cheerful, silly, emotional self?

As a result, Turning Red conveys a narrative about guilt, suppression, and social anxiety, all of which I, like many Asian Americans, are familiar with. Throughout the film, I found myself wincing in recognition at Mei’s anxiety and shame as she is divided between her family and friends. I was also put off by scenes that seemed to exaggerate for comic effect, particularly when it came to Mei’s mother, who was clearly constructed along the lines of the contentious “tiger mom” stereotype.

"Turning Red" gives new face to movie industry of Asia. It is a defining moment of Asian film group. So, you can get new experience with new feeling.

All of this is to say that Turning Red provides you with a plethora of concepts to mull through. It also provides a lot of things to look at. Director Shi and her team had a great time adding East Asian inspirations into the script and animation. The character style is reminiscent of Japanese animation; Mei’s panda has the fluffy, enormous dimensions of Hayao Miyazaki’s Totoro. The action-packed conclusion pays homage to kaiju films like Godzilla as well as martial-arts epics like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. 

Turning Red understands that adolescence may feel like a monster movie at times and an action movie at others — and now, thankfully, it’s a Pixar movie, and one of the most daring ones to come around in a while.

HowNHowTo.Com Team

Pictures credit to pixabay.com – pexels.com



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