Rarely do I review children’s movies, especially ones that are produced by The Walt Disney Company but there has been a number of disturbing stories to come out in the last couple of weeks about the film “Turning Red” that I had to take a closer look at what this film represents.
If you haven’t been paying attention, a number of film reviewers have gotten themselves into some trouble due to their takes on this movie. It started with Variety film critic Courtney Howard stating that a film aimed at children made her “unapologetically horny”. Any adult who talks about getting horny while watching a children’s movie should probably notify their neighbor when they move into the neighborhood.
While one review wouldn’t be enough to raise a red flag, it was another reviewer that sent the progressive film world into a tailspin. CinemaBlend’s Sean O’Connell complained that the film’s focus on the main character Lee’s Asian background as well as plot lines that revolve around Lee’s struggles through puberty as a young girl limited the film’s ability to connect with audiences.
O’Connell’s argument was that because the film focuses on a small Asian community of Toronto, the movie feels like it was made for Domee Shi’s friends and immediate family members rather than general audiences. Director Domee Shi is a Chinese-Canadian woman who is the director and writer of this movie so his criticism has merit.
This led to a social media meltdown where O’Connell was forced to apologize for his review which was deleted because progressives called it “sexist” and “racist” in nature.
As someone who has been a harsh critic of progressive propaganda in cinema over the last few years, I decided it was time to throw my name in the hat for this film and I definitely don’t plan on apologizing for saying that Sean O’Connell was 100% right about this movie.
‘Turning Red’ is a film set in 2002, Meilin “Mei” Lee is a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian living in Toronto. Mei’s mother is a perfectionist who disapproves of her personal interests, especially her new interest in boys. The Lee family spend their days taking care of their Chinese temple. One night after having a nightmare, Mei suddenly wakes up to discover that she has turned into a large red panda. After hiding from her parents, Mei discovers that she only transforms when she is in a state of high emotion.
The film then becomes an allegory about how teenage girls deal with the physical and emotional changes of their bodies during the age of puberty.
First things first, it has been well established over the years that the overwhelming majority of film critics, most of them being left-wing progressives have a complete inability to be objective when certain movies are produced by certain studios. If you pander to the progressive desires for diversity, race, and gender-based politics, as well as sexual inclusivity, they will go at-bat for your film no matter how mediocre it is in reality.
You can’t sit there and claim that your movie is “for everyone” and turn around in the same breath and say things like ‘Turning Red’ is speaking directly to generations of Asian women in the diaspora.
Sean O’Connell took heat for telling the truth about his opinion of this movie but doing it as a white guy. In an age where progressives apparently cannot enjoy any form of fiction without being able to “see themselves” in the content they watch, Domee Shi wrote a film about a Chinese-Candian struggling with puberty in the early 2000s. In other words, she wrote a film about herself. Now if you want to write an autobiography about your life, there is nothing stopping you from doing so, but don’t turn around and hide behind your race and gender whenever someone calls you out on exactly what you are doing.
The main character of Mei who is a placeholder for the director is extremely annoying the way she is written but trying way too hard to be quirky and relatable and it shows. The dialogue screams of someone who grew up watching episodes of ‘Friends’ and assumed that this is how normal people conversate with each other.
Using the story of a girl turning into a panda as a metaphor for puberty is a very lazy one and a pretty easy one to see through early on. Whenever the critics and audiences have a polarizing reaction to a film based on their enjoyment, it usually tells the whole story. ‘Turning Red’ is a film that thought it could coast on its “diverse representation” and take the easy way out on everything else. That trick may work on Trump obsessed progressives but you need way more from mainstream audiences than simply having Asian people in your film to win their hearts and ‘Turning Red’ is a film that doesn’t move the needle to be anything more than something to skip for those who have Disney+.
Note for future reference, If Meilin Lee is a stand-in for Domee Shi, you may benefit in the future from realizing that you are not nearly as likable as you think you are. ‘Turning Red’ is a lazy film that thinks representative and cringeworthy dialogue such as “My Panda, My Choice” can save its quality…it can’t.