Pixar’s upcoming feature Turning Red from director Domee Shi tells the story of Mei, a 13-year-old girl who is at a chaotic point in her life the way most kids first entering puberty tend to be. But unlike her friends, whose biggest concerns are all rather ordinary, the changes Mei’s going through are much more magical, and the kind of secret a person would understandably have reason to hide.
Whenever Mei (Rosalie Chiang) experiences intense emotions, she spontaneously transforms into a massive red panda with incredible strength, all of which is quite cool, but alarming. Turning Red’s latest trailer explains a bit more about the story behind Mei’s strange ability and how it’s part of her family’s history that her mother Ming (Sandra Oh) conveniently forgot to tell her about.
As a kid who prides herself in being a top-notch student and daughter, her parents hiding something so wild about their family gives Mei even more reason (on top of the whole puberty thing) to feel as if she, her mother, and father aren’t on the same pages. The new trailer alludes to how Mei’s relationship with her parents is going to factor largely into the movie, but it also establishes how important Mei’s trio of friends (who all seemingly love her panda side) is to her.
Mei and her friends’ obsession with the fictional boy band 4*Town will ring true to anyone who’s ever known or been an overexcitable youth getting their first taste of fandom, but it’s the trailer’s use of NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me” that really makes it seem like Turning Red might be worth checking out. The director explained in a press release: “We needed our character Mei to be obsessed with something that her mum would not approve of. Boy bands were the first step into the world of boys for a lot of girls that age. The guys were all super pretty, polished, soft and loving, and they had of way of bringing girls and their besties together. Plus, I thought it’d be really cool to create an animated boy band.”
Pixar asked singer-songwriters Billie Eilish and FINNEAS to write the boy band’s songs and there’s a few more you’ll be able to hear when Turning Red hits theatres next March.