Pixar is going back to the coming-of-age well it’s so damn good at tapping. The first teaser trailer for Turning Red, the studio’s next film, dropped today, and it features a young girl who turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets stressed out, which seems to be a lot thanks to her overbearing mother. Basically, it’s the Incredible Hulk but cute and fluffy.
The film is directed by Domee Shi, who won the Oscar for best animated short with her Pixar short Bao. That film was easily one of the best shorts Pixar has made, and it dealt with a lot of what it looks like Turning Red will deal with as well in that it involved a mother letting go of her son as he grew up. The short rivals the emotional impact of the first 10 minutes of Up, and if Shi can bring the same emotion to Turning Red, we should have another Pixar tearjerker on our hands. The metaphor of changing into something because of emotions isn’t exactly new, but it’s all in how you execute it — and the Turning Red teaser trailer looks really promising.
Mei Lee, our intrepid 13-year-old girl/panda protagonist, is voiced by Rosalie Chiang, and Sandra Oh will play her mother.
This will be the first Pixar film to release in solely theaters in a long while after both Soul and Luca went to Disney+ during the pandemic. If nothing else, it will be great to see Pixar’s stunning animation back on the big screen when Turning Red releases on March 11, 2022.