In director Domee Shi’s upcoming Disney/Pixar animated feature Turning Red, life is hard enough for a 13-year-old girl named Mei Mei who’s trying to adjust to being a teenager and keep her grades up in school. But unbeknownst to any of her friends or most people who know her, the biggest thing she’s hiding is her uncontrollable ability to transform into a massive red panda when stressed out.
For a kid trying to find some independence from her overbearing mother, Mei Lee (Sandra Oh), the whole spontaneous transformation thing poses an obvious challenge for Mei Mei (Rosalie Chiang), who’s just trying to do her schoolwork in a new teaser trailer for the delightful-looking Pixar movie. When Mei Mei realises her mum can’t just let her be during the day while she’s at school, she can’t help but panic in the middle of her maths class, triggering her powers in an explosion of pink smoke.
While there’s only the tiniest bit of Turning Red’s story teased in the new trailer, what you can see from the short clip is how much work went into crafting the fine details that make many of the movie’s characters feel like living, organic people. The same effort of thinking that went into making sure that Mei Mei’s red panda fur was rendered lushly and luxuriously seems to have been similar to the hair and fabric textures featured on other characters, in order to give them a wide array of distinct physical appearances.
Considering how inconspicuous Mei Mei’s ability is, it’s going to be interesting to see how she manages to hide it from her friends who don’t know about it, but it’s more than likely that by Turning Red’s end, she’s figured out a way to make it all work in her favour.
Turning Red hits Australian theatres on March 31, 2022.