Viewed – 14 March 2022 Disney+
We’re certainly in a new era, with the ability to watch the latest Pixar movie directly on your TV, with the advent of streaming services such as Disney Plus. So when I noticed this latest effort had appeared, I decided to give it a watch. Mei-Lee is a young Chinese girl living in Canada who lives for life, her friends, school and her deeply traditional family. However one morning she wakes up to discover she’s transformed into a huge red panda.
As an exploration of puberty, growing from a child into adolescence, this is fairly obvious but done well, retaining a great deal of fun whilst exploring a delicate subject. Pixar’s animation is top notch as usual and this time seems to have a Japanese anime influence. Mei-Lee is initially a bit of an annoying character but quickly proves sympathetic and endearing. It perfectly captures superficiality of teen crushes, boy band obsession and friendship, complete with over-protective parents and breaking the rules in order to grow and develop. It also reminded me of Teen Wolf at times.
Voice acting throughout is decent despite lacking celeb names bar veteran James Hong as Mei-Lee’s grandfather. On a whole this also felt slightly low-key compared to the usual Pixar blockbuster, but was no less entertaining. Check it out.