Turning Red Early Buzz: Domee Shi's Feature Debut Is A Moving, Joyous Entry Into The Pixar Canon

Domee Shi won an Oscar for directing the short film "Bao," which was released with Pixar's "Incredibles 2" back in 2018. Fans were taken with her adorable and heartfelt characters, and now Shi is back with her full-length animated Disney/Pixar film "Turning Red," with a script from Shi and Julia Cho ("Big Love," "Fringe"). The movie follows 13-year-old Mei Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang), who has been very close to her "protective, if not slightly overbearing" mom, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh). Now Mei is a teenager, and she's breaking away and finding herself. One thing she finds out, however, is that when she's excited or angry, she "poofs" into a giant red panda. It's a story about family, adolescence, becoming your own person — oh, and also cute red pandas.

We've gathered social media reactions from critics who've gotten the chance to screen the Disney/Pixar film before its release. The reactions have been incredibly positive, with folks praising the fun look at the awkwardness that is puberty, how growing up strains mother/daughter relationships, and the look at Chinese-Canadian culture in the 2000s, with one critic mentioning his disappointment that he won't get to see this in a packed theater. Check out the reactions below.

Turning Red Early Buzz

All the reactions we've seen so far praise Pixar's look at what puberty was like in the early 2000s, and the celebration of the culture and growing up. Viewers won't have to brave a visit to the theater to watch this film. Until "Turning Red" is released on Disney+ on March 11, 2022, scour the Internet for red panda videos. It will vastly improve your day.

/Film's own BJ Colangelo called Domee Shi "the future," and had high praise for the film's animation style.

Courtney Howard from Fresh Fiction TV touted the heartfelt nature of the film and how it dealt with puberty. She also said it was "unapologetically horny."

Tessa Smith from Mama's Geeky related to the film as a mom, appreciating not just Mei's awkward teen self, but her overprotective mother. 

Matt Neglia from Next Best Picture called the film a "cute coming of age story," praising the score from Ludwig Göransson and the voiceover work from Rosalie Chiang.

POC Culture praised the blend of Western animation and Eastern anime influences, and the personal story that director Domee Shi tells with "Turning Red."

Jazz Tangcay from Variety called "Turning Red" "pure joy and absolute fun." Jazz also mentioned the "catchy soundtrack" and Chiang's voice work.

Daniel Baptista from The Movie Podcast loved this movie in all caps, and praised the references to Toronto in the early 2000s. He also called it "one of Pixar's best."

Shabaz from The Movie Podcast agreed, calling this "one of Pixar's finest movies to date," and lauding the look at the multiculturalism of Toronto.

Jacob from Discussing Film praised the film for its focus on adults and children alike, and the "brilliant and inventive animation techniques." 

Scott J. Davis from Hey U Guys called this film "Pixar's most 'oh behave, baby"' film, and lamented the fact that he won't get to see it with a packed audience. 

Drew Taylor from Collider called director Domee Shi "the real deal" and said she was breaking new ground in terms of storytelling.

Here is the film's official synopsis:

Disney and Pixar's "Turning Red" introduces Mei Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang), a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother's dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter—an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren't enough, whenever she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS), she "poofs" into a giant red panda! Directed by Academy Award® winner Domee Shi (Pixar short "Bao") and produced by Lindsey Collins "Turning Red" launches on Disney+ March 11, 2022.