The teaser trailer for Turning Red was finally released today, giving audiences a glimpse at Pixar’s latest project. The animated family comedy is like a play on the Marvel property The Incredible Hulk, with the protagonist transforming into a huge beast whenever she is agitated. However, in typical Pixar fashion, rather than an unstoppable juggernaut, Turning Red will feature a giant red panda.
Turning Red follows the story of Mei Lee (Rosalie Chiang),a 13-year-old girl juggling the obstacles of school and family in a particularly tumultuous period of life. The trailer only offers fans a peek at one scene from the movie, but quite a lot can be ascertained from the two-minute exchange.
The moment starts with Mei sitting in class when someone passes her a note that her mother is outside. Horrified Mei turns to see the overbearing parental figure Ming (Sandra Oh) hiding behind a nearby tree checking in on her daughter’s education. Mei attempts to hide her embarrassment in the hopes her mother will just go away but the situation only spirals from there.
As the security guard attempts to remove Ming from the premises, she creates a scene attracting the attention of Mei’s entire class. Ming even cries out towards her daughter in a bid to prevent herself from being thrown out shouting ‘Mei-Mei, tell him it’s mummy.’ As any teenager can probably attest the embarrassment is simply too much to bear for Mei causing her to unwittingly explode into her red panda form in a huge cloud of smoke.
Still mortified Mei flees crying across the rooftops all the way back home where she attempts to calm herself down so that she can revert back to human form. The film promises to be a lot of fun and looks to tackle some personal truths for a target demographic of a young teenage audience. Even adults will likely suffer traumatic flashbacks to their own teen years if this first trailer is anything to go by.
Turning Red will also continue a recent trend of greater representation in Pixar protagonists coming from the Disney camp. Much like recent hits Coco, which took inspiration from Mexican heritage and Luca, which featured an Italian setting. Turning Red will draw focus to Asian culture and will also be only Pixar’s fifth film to feature a female protagonist. With three of those including Dory from Finding Dory, Joy from Inside Out and Elastigirl from The Incredibles 2, Mei will likely be the most relatable female protagonist to date.
The film is both written and directed by Chinese filmmaker Domee Shi, drawing from her own experiences growing up as an Asian girl in Canada. Shi has worked for Pixar since 2011 but this will be her first feature film for the studio. Mainly working as a storyboard artist on films including the aforementioned Inside Out and The Incredibles 2, Shi has already shown her talent for directing with her critically acclaimed short Bao. Bao won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short in 2019 and is available now on Disney Plus. Turning Red meanwhile is scheduled for a theatrical release on 11th March 2022.