It is important to understand what is causing a disagreement. Not everyone agreed on Pixar’s latest photo of a Toronto teenager who discovers she can transform into a red panda, Turning Red, in the case of the film. But the search for an objection, any objection, to this quirky little film may have enlisted Turning Red in larger ongoing discussions about parents, children, and the culture war.
Land turning red
Mei, a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian girl, is adored by the majority of the film’s audience due to her fanatic passions and dedicated geek crew buddies. They also praised the film’s distinctive qualities, such as its Toronto setting in the early 2000s, its celebration of adolescence, and its insightful portrayal of a young person grappling with the thorny concerns of family, community and of a suppressed past.
However, since its premiere on March 11, the hype surrounding the image has been seasoned with drama, making Turning Red seem like Pixar’s most controversial film since — possibly ever. That’s not entirely accurate, but the Turning Red controversies continue to garner attention and go viral despite the fact that many people aren’t enraged by the ongoing issues.
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Concerns about the realism and appropriateness of the film’s depiction of puberty, adolescent freedom and autonomy, and even the mere existence of 13-year-old girls themselves, have sparked debate.
In many ways, Turning Red is a tale that many of its viewers will have heard before. Its Toronto setting is brimming with local flavors and intricacies that will delight long-time residents of the city. A confident, passionate, and enthusiastic fangirl, Mei is a big fan of anime and manga. Many young women and women in their 30s and 40s may fall into these categories, but it’s unusual to see this type of loving, light-hearted femininity on television. As for Mei’s favorite band, 4*Town is a mash-up of every early 2000s male pop band you could want to find on a nostalgic trip down the backstreets. Tamagotchi and Sailor Moon are just two examples of the film’s cheeky allusions to time. Perhaps the film’s loving but stern parents will be more recognizable to a wider audience, as well as the rich Chinese cultural signifiers.
Like the rest of the components of the film, this metaphor is both particular and broad. Mei’s mother allows her some independence but watches her carefully and expects her to attend the family temple, which celebrates the red panda’s role in their ancestry. When Mei reaches adolescence, things take a turn for the worse. For centuries, Mei’s family has been plagued by a mystery that leads her to transform into a huge red panda. After the “treatment”, as described by his mother, all the unpleasant feelings related to his change of panda are sealed: hostility and rage as well as deep love and joy.
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The story behind this controversy
As a story of intergenerational pain, Turning Red is read by many people. In the case of Mei’s family, these practices were passed down from generation to generation until they were so entrenched that it was impossible to question them. It is also possible to read this story as a statement about how children in the Asian Diaspora face the enormous demands they carry to succeed, even in communities where they experience prejudice and estrangement, often quietly. .
However, a metaphor like this is long-lived and can be used in a wide range of situations. There is a personal element to this tale: a little girl who possesses a red panda spirit that has been carefully sealed away by her family’s ancestral temple, thanks to a Chinese shaman and a blood moon rite. And then there’s the common story of a family that pushes their child to remove an unattractive part of themselves that they were born with, even though they’re still learning to live in the world with that half of them. themselves. Many people will recognize this as a familiar tale. “We all have a dirty, loud, crazy part of ourselves buried,” Mei told the crowd. “And a lot of us never let it out.”
Nobody should have to wonder if Turning Red is relevant or not. Unless, of course, the larger cultural argument around Turning Red has been dictated to us by a single strong critical voice declaring that it isn’t.
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Sean O’Connell, the General Manager of CinemaBlend, wrote a review which was later removed but is still stored. He wore [him] out” attempting to empathize with Toronto kids in Turning Red, according to O’Connell. He worried that Pixar’s move toward “deeply personal – but less universal stories” could “alienate viewers who can’t find a path in the story beyond admiring the impressive animation”.
Its target audience was defined by O’Connell as “tiny and very particular”, and he complained that the picture made “no attempt to incorporate aspects of the script that anyone might find compelling”. Even though the story of Turning Red is unique, it seems O’Connell has only ever watched one teenage werewolf movie. Director Domee Shi, on the other hand, was heavily influenced by 1990s anime.
This notion that Turning Red encourages disobedience and an inappropriate amount of self-acceptance has come up so often in reviews and discussions that it deserves some clarification. From Brave to Finding Nemo, Pixar has shown children having strained relationships with their parents. From Lilo & Stitch to Encanto to almost every Disney princess, disobedient girls are the bread and butter of Disney society. Mei’s challenge in this specific Disney film makes no sense, if we’re willing to ignore the issue of racism and the hint that some viewers want Mei to be shown as the stereotypical “respectful and obedient caricature.”
Is going red okay?
A great conversation starter is “Turning Red,” and it’s not just for women. However, experts believe that images of teenage rebellion and sexuality are suitable for family conversation.
Is there a cost to using Turning Red?
Turning Red can be viewed for free by Disney+ users on their TV, laptop, smartphone or other streaming device.
What makes Mei turn into a red panda and why?
Using only her willpower and the power of her emotions, Sun Yee transformed into a giant red panda to defend her home and family.