Turning Red review: Pixar’s emotional action movie is one of its best
At this point, the stereotype of “Pixar movies” is outdated.
become a meme: People take on animation studio projects expecting a family story centered on non-human protagonists with amazing depth and strong emotion. There are exceptions, but historically Pixar created this storytelling channel for themselves and then perfected it. But with the advent of a new wave of filmmakers, Pixar is breaking its own stereotype. 2021 Luke is a perfect example as the lower-key film is built around subtle. Understated interactions instead of building a lot of drama. On the way to an emotionally crushing climax.
Blushes, which bypasses theaters in the US for Disney Plus, continues the trend.
Domi Shi, director of the Pixar short film Bao in 2018 created something special with this project. A deeply personal film touching on universal themes. With blushes happily celebrates early adolescence. A period of life often portrayed as awkward and cranky. And she enjoys the vast cultural cues that enrich the story. With a striking visual style and specific, memorable storytelling. Blushes are an incredibly special addition to the Pixar canon and one of its best films.
[Ed. note: This review contains minor setup spoilers for Turning Red.]
Blushes follow 13-year-old Mei (Rosalie Chang), a vibrant Chinese-Canadian high school student living in Toronto in the early 2000s,
She balances her devotion to her mother and her family temple duties with her budding self-esteem. After one particularly turbulent day. She wakes up to find herself transformed into a giant red panda. As it turns out, every woman in her family shares this quirk — they turn into pandas when their emotions run high. Mei’s stern mother, Ming (Sandra Oh), tells her that she needs to constantly contain the panda with a magic ritual. To which Mei obediently agrees, but with a new perspective from her close friends. She begins to see the panda, not as a source of embarrassment. But as a source of joy. As the date of the ritual approaches. Mei is torn between what her mother wants and what she wants herself.
Triumph blushes lie in how unabashedly he treats teenage girlhood,
Especially the strong friendships that are tied up during this period of life. Mei’s friends – imperturbable Priya (Maitreii Ramakrishnan), passionate Abby (Hyun Pak), and ringleader Miriam (Ava Morse) – are endowed with unique and expressive designs. Animation for all ages, including Pixar, has historically been largely focused on male storytelling. Leaving room for only one or two girls who are often pitted against each other. It’s nice to see a whole group of supportive female characters. Who enthusiastically support each other and share the same passions. Mei and her friends are the superfans of the 4*Town boy band in the universe, and instead of being the butt of judgmental jokes, as is often the case with boy-band fandom, their enthusiasm becomes a central part of Mei, shaping her own personality, source of strength and above all, joy.
At the same time, Shi doesn’t see Mei’s relationship with her mother and her connection to the family’s culture as a burden.
Although Mei does feel limited by the way her mother turns up her nose at 4*Town and embarrasses Mei in front of her lover, she still clearly loves her mom and her family. Shi conveys cultural characteristics in blushes with such love and care (For example, a group of older aunts who came to the ritual to fight the panda, dressed in tracksuits and brooches, which many children of Chinese immigrants recognize.) These details extend to the emotional connections drawn in blushes. Mei loves her mother and the family temple the way she should. But she also wants to be herself. As she is torn between Western values of independence and Chinese expectations of filial piety, Mei’s internal conflict hits hard.
As well as Luke, blushes take a step to the left of Pixar’s usual realistic style.
The backgrounds are oversaturated with pastel colors, emulating what Shea calls the visual style of the movie “Teen Fever’s Asian Dream.” The character designs are also made more cartoonish than typical Pixar, with exaggerated expressions and farcical movements. Mei’s eyes bloom into giant anime-style pupils and sparkle at various points in the film. She and her pack of friends move as one, like a pack of bears in We are bare bears. Their personalities and interactions are heightened and intense to reflect the heightened emotions of adolescence.
At its core blushes about May finding out who she is and what it means for her relationship with her mother.
It’s a very personal story, Shi says she was inspired by her own relationship with her mother. Like in the 2017 Pixar film by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina. Coco before that blushes consists of specific cultural details and relationships that take on a more subtle meaning in the context of the national origin of the characters. But how Coco, blushes still tells a universal story about growing up and asserting identity outside of your family.
As with BaoShi never compromises on features to pander to a wider audience.
Although Mei states at the beginning of the film that she is full of self-confidence, she spends most of her time actually feeling that sense of self. However, by the end of the film, she has fully embraced her individuality and found ways to let it live along with other parts of her life. Along with that path, blushes seem to be the result of her growth, a film that shamelessly and hilariously embraces her individuality with such tenderness that it hurts.
blushes Coming to Disney Plus on March 11th.