Monday, May 2, 2022

4K Digital Review: Turning Red


Turning Red tells the story of 13-year-old Meilin Lee, a Chinese-Canadian girl who discovers one day that she turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets angry or upset. She learns that the transformation is no accident and has to find a solution before the transformation ruins her life. 

The story is largely based on the teenage years of Director Domee Shi and takes a look at puberty and the trials and tribulations of the hormonal responses to becoming a teenager. We also get a vivid look at the differences between ancient cultural traditions and pubescent problems. 

This is one of Pixar's most personal stories to date with a style and tone all its own. The anime-influence, the top notch animation and voice acting make this a journey you will want to take over and over again.


The 4K, Dolby Vision and HDR streaming video is exceptional from start to finish. There is so much detail put into this film and the clarity of the video really shines.  From the characters, to their clothing, to the environment, the details are just exquisite. And every detail is crisp and clean, from the woodwork of the temple to the pencil sketches in Mei's notebook.  Colors are bright, bold and vivid. Mei's panda form is the standout when it comes to color in terms of brightness and vividness. Black levels are inky and the whites are brilliant. Another outstanding video transfer from Disney. 


The Dolby 5.1  Dolby Atmos is quite capable but seems quite reserved throughout most of the movie. The surround sound is fine in crowded scenes as well as in several action sequences. Dialogue is crisp and clear and center channel grounded. 

Bonus Features:

  • Life of a Shot (1080p, 14:36): A fascinating journey with Director Domee Shi and additional crew exploring the vast amount of work that is required to bring just seven shots in the film from concept to finished form, requiring the work and input of every single department in the studio.
  • Build Your Own Boy Band (1080p, 8:38): Discussing the secrets behind the process of building a fictional boy band in 10 easy steps, from listening to a lot of real Boy Band music to crafting dance choreography.
  • Audio Commentary: Director Domee Shi, Producer Lindsey Collins, and Director of Photography Mahyar Abousaeedi offer a well-spoken, informative, but also welcoming and breezy track that explores inspirations, narrative themes, story construction, music, visuals, and so much more.

  • Ani-Mei-Tion (1080p, 9:38): Exploring the film's "snappy" visual style and structure, Anime influences, character design, and more.
  • Deleted Scenes (1080p, 23:40): Following an Introduction are the following scenes: Intro Meilin, Taming the Panda, The Debate, Fei and Christina Hang, 4*Town Dilemma, and Roping in Leo. Some are presented in early storyboard form, others in final form.


Turning Red is a fun, coming of age story with a lot of heart and wonderful music. While the audio is lacking, the video is stunning and there are some fun extras.

Turning Red is available now on digital and on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on May 3rd.
Here is the trailer for the video release:

*disclaimer - the digital download was provided for review purposes by Walt Disney Home Entertainment but the opinions are strictly mine alone*

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