Much of what makes Domee Shi’s “Turning Red” so delightfully entertaining and heartfelt is that it comes from a genuine place and draws from a universal story. The only thing that sets itself apart is that the film takes place from the perspective of a MeiLin Lee (Rosalie Chaing), a 13-year-old Chinese Canadian girl who struggles to balance out being a dutiful daughter to her mother with the chaos of being a teenager. And things take a turn for Meilin when she discovers that she turns into a giant red panda whenever she’s emotionally provoked. So, while the film hits home for many parents, it also covers themes about identity and generational trauma.
We’ve already covered much of the film and given our glowing review of it. But now, it is time to look at what the Home Entertainment version has to offer. The review mainly covers the behind-the-scenes content provided on the digital, Blu-ray, and 4K editions, which hit store shelves on May 3, 2022.
For instance, the audio commentary by director Domee Shi, producer Lindsey Collins, and director of photography Mahyar Abousaeedi provide more of an inside look at making the film. While Disney+ has its documentary on the film, the audio commentary offers more of a real-time behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film as the filmmakers are talking about it scene-by-scene. Though the feature is typical of any movie like this, it is still nice to hear some of the trivia and tidbits about the film’s production that may not have made their way into the press rounds or promotional ads.
The deleted scenes portion gives some insight into what was taken out for either clarity or editing. Of course, cutting is typical in many cases for all films. But the interesting about this is that some of the deleted scenes indicate that “Turning Red” would have been an entirely different film had they kept them. In addition, some of the character dynamics have changed, like rewriting her cousin Leo to Tyler, the brace-faced and closeted 4-town fan who starts as a bully but then becomes Mei’s best friend. Additionally, Shi explains why she cut these scenes out of the film.
In the “Ani-Mei-Tion” featurette, we hear Shi and members of the crew talk about what she wanted to do with the animation for “Turning Red.” Animators talk about how much the film draws from anime and how that style influenced the film’s look and feel. They had to do away with a lot of the Westernized animation training and lean into a snappy and punchy foreign style.
“Life of a Shot” sees Shi talk about the team effort it takes to make seven shots. This featurette is probably one of the more informative ones of the three as it explains how complicated making a scene can be. According to Shi, it takes several departments to perfect these shots, and multiple times no less, to all of the decisions Shi needs to make. It’s a pretty exciting process to see how writing, layout, lighting, and animation have to work in cohesion to get the shot right and make sure they convey the right message.
But the “Build Your Own Boy Band” featurette is the one fans will gush over the most as it centers on our favorite pop culture subject: boy bands. And it turns out making an animated boy band together and creating songs for them is just as tricky as in real-life. That being said, Shi and Collins share their ten easy tips on making the perfect boy band and have done their research by listening to tons of boy bands, finding out each of the member’s personalities, celebrating the fans, creating the pr graphics, convincing Billie Eilish and Finneas to make those bangers, and so much more.
Below is a complete list of the special features that you can find on “Turning Red.”
Turning Red Special Features*:
- Audio Commentary – View the film with audio commentary by director Domee Shi, producer Lindsey Collins, and director of photography Mahyar Abousaeedi. (1:39:42)
- Three (3) Featurettes
- Life of a Shot – Domee Shi and members of the crew describe the many-layered process and artistry involved in creating the hilarious Red Peony scene – from observing red pandas in a zoo to creating a storyboard to finalizing the animation and background lighting. (14:35)
- Build Your Own Boy Band – Step backstage to learn how 4*Town came to animated life. From creating each band member’s persona to writing and producing the songs to fine-tuning the details of their stadium performance, the filmmakers reveal how they designed the ultimate boy band. (8:34)
- Ani-Mei-Tion – Because Mei’s heightened emotionality is central to the story, it was important that her look and movement reflect that energy. Learn how Domee Shi led the animation team to incorporate hints of expressive anime to create Mei’s lovable, dynamic character. (9:35)
- Eight (8) Deleted Scenes (23:17)
- Deleted Scenes Introduction – Director Domee Shi introduces scenes not included in the final version of Turning Red. (0:47)
- Intro Meilin – In this alternate opening, Ming and young Mei have their portrait taken in a studio…but Ming has her own specific vision for the photo. (2:10)
- Taming the Panda – Under her mother’s guidance, Mei learns techniques to control her ability to magically turn into a red panda…to varying degrees of success. (4:33)
- The Debate – Mei runs for class president against frenemy Tyler, and the speeches get a little out of hand. (4:17)
- Fei and Christina Hang–Mei (formerly Fei) share a banana split while having a heart-to-heart with Aunt Christina. (2:30)
- 4*Town Dilemma – Mei scores tickets to her dream concert, but her strict mother won’t let her out of the house. What will she do? (4:44)
- Roping In Leo – Pleading with Leo for help with getting out of trouble, Mei learns a couple of his closely guarded secrets. (4:17)
- Easter Egg – Robutton Deleted Scene – An alternate ending in which Mei, finding herself sitting next to her 4*Town dream-idol Robaire on a flight to California, has some feelings.
*bonus features vary by product and retailer
Available on Disney+ March 11, 2022.
Available on digital April 26.
Available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD May 3, 2022.
Turning Red GIVEAWAY
One ThatsITLA winner will receive a digital code for Pixar’s TURNING RED. The code can be redeemed at MoviesAnywhere.com or on the Movies Anywhere app.
The Giveaway ends May 9th. The winner will be announced on May 10th, 2022.
Tell us you want to win in the comment section below. That’s IT!