Director Domee Shi’s Bao was arguably one of the best Pixar shorts in a long time (it did win an Oscar), telling the story of a woman who makes up for her empty nest syndrome by somehow bringing an adorable/delicious little bun to life and then mothering it so intensely that it feels like it can’t go out and live its own life—which, it turns out, is really what had happened to her actual son. It’s good and sad and heartwarming, as the best Pixar stories usually are.
Shi’s next project is Pixar’s Turning Red, which will be her feature directorial debut and makes her the first woman of color to direct a Pixar movie, and today the studio released a surprisingly straightforward (but unsurprisingly good) trailer for the film that is basically just… a scene from the movie that lays out the premise. There’s a fairly unnecessary pop song needle drop, but we’re living in a post-Sing 2 trailer world and kids just won’t give a damn if there isn’t a song in the trailer that is decades older than they are. Anyway, Turning Red is a riff on The Incredible Hulk (or maybe Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde), focusing on a young girl named Mei Lee who transforms into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited—which the YouTube description helpfully notes is “practically ALWAYS.” Like the bao in Bao, there’s also an overbearing mother, and while the animation in the trailer is pretty much stock Pixar stuff, there’s a cool Edgar Wright-y snappiness to Shi’s directing.
Turning Red is coming out next spring, and this trailer notably makes no reference to where it’s coming out. Pixar’s last two movies opened on Disney+ because of COVID-19 shutting down all theaters, so it remains to be seen if Turning Red will really be Pixar’s return to the big screen or if Disney’s just going to keep this streaming thing going.