Turning Red

Turning Red's big red panda

In Turning Red, a hyperactive 13-year-old Toronto schoolgirl turns into a giant red panda one day – looks like a cat, but panda is what we’re told – and Pixar’s latest animated adventure swings into motion, as do thoughts about what this can all possibly mean. The girl is called Mei, she is the bookish daughter of an immigrant Chinese family and her condition comes on suddenly after Mei has been humiliated by her mother over a crush on a dopey guy who works in a local shop. Mei is becoming an adult. It’s a metaphor for a girl having her first period and becoming a woman, you’d think. Pixar seem to knock that … Read more

Soul

Joe playing jazz

  We’re so used to the phrase Pixar Movie that it’s often easy to forget that they are in fact directed by actual human beings, not rendering algorithms. Soul is co-directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, says the imdb, but the end credits of the film itself tell us that it’s “Directed by Pete Docter” and “Co-directed by Kemp Powers”, not “Co-directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers”. Kemp was heavily involved in the film, particularly at the conceptual and writing stages, but even so it still feels like a Docter film. His last one was Inside Out, the story of a little girl’s personality in crisis. And before that Up and … Read more

Cars

Lightning McQueen in Cars

    Have the wheels come off at Pixar? Mawkishness now seems to have replaced energy and invention at the studio that… no hang on, this is the studio that once gave us Toy Story. Let’s not get carried away. But if Pixar have been known for anything it’s their ability to run sentiment and energy on a twin track, the result being a film with heart and drive. The plot of Cars suggests they’ve forgotten how to do this – we’re on the case of a self-centred hotshot racing car (voice: Owen Wilson) who loses his way and gets stuck in Radiator Springs, a small town where the good locals (all of … Read more

Meet the Robinsons

Meet Wilbur and Lewis from Meet the Robinsons

    Disney remind us of their legacy as animation innovators with this busy busy busy story about a young inventor genius and orphan (big aah) called Lewis who is zipped into the future by his new pal Wilbur Robinson. There Wilbur hopes Lewis will help him defeat a snarling, moustachioed villain called Bowler Hat Guy (who’s not a thousand light years removed from Dick Dastardly) and Lewis hopes Wilbur will help him recover his latest whizzy gadget, the Memory Scanner, from Bowler Hat Guy’s felonious grasp. This will enable Lewis to probe his own mind, in a desperate attempt to remember who his mother was (even bigger aah). On the way Lewis … Read more