Several scenes from PIXAR’s latest release, , have seeing red as they voice their anger, concern, and shock over the studios’ decision to release a that focuses on topics like that many see as simply too mature for younger audiences.
is PIXAR’s first to be solely directed by a female. It’s also the first to ever cause such staunch controversy for the PIXAR brand, dividing the fanbase into those who see it as another great and those who say it’s entirely inappropriate for children.
tells the story of 13-year-old , who lives in an in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her . She’s a typical middle school-aged girl who loves her friends, makes good grades in school, and is happy to help her with chores at home.
The follows Mei as she steps into and experiences the adventures and emotions that accompany it, yielding it the classification of a coming of .
A scathing review of posted to CinemaBlend by its managing director, Sean O’Connell, just days before the ‘s release was considered racist and was ultimately taken down from the website following outcry on and news outlets. O’Connell accused the of being “limiting” and wrote that he couldn’t connect with it.
“By rooting very specifically in the of Toronto, the legitimately feels like it was made for [director] ‘s friends and ,” O’Connell wrote. “Which is fine, but also a tad limiting in its scope.”
But O’Connell’s distaste for PIXAR’s 25th feature-length animated was only a predecessor to the complete fallout online from who are furious over the new , saying that it focuses on topics that are too mature for PIXAR’s younger viewers, that it encourages rebellion in children, and that it suggests or introduces ideas some don’t want their children entertaining.
For some who’ve seen the , however, the upset is confusing, ungrounded, and just online white noise. They want to know what scenes, ideas, topics, in the were supposedly “too mature” or “inappropriate.” We did some searching to find out which of the ‘s scenes were met with the most upheaval, and here they are, in no particular order.
The Red Peony
Mei wakes up one morning to discover she doesn’t look like herself at all, and what she sees in the mirror makes her not feel much like herself either. She has morphed into a giant , and in a panic, she runs and hides in the bathroom so no one will see her. Her mother, however, immediately assumes she has begun her journey toward womanhood and races to the bathroom with ibuprofen, an assortment of feminine hygiene products, and other items.
“Did the red peony bloom?” her mother asks her reluctantly, following that with metaphorical explanations for what is going on with Mei (supposedly), telling her she needn’t be embarrassed.
“You are now a beautiful, strong flower who must protect her delicate petals and clean them regularly,” Mei’s mother continues, and though the word period is never used, the euphemisms and metaphors simply took things to far, according to many upset , some who feel this topic makes the inappropriate for children.
That 'Turning Red' Disney movie is NOT appropriate for children. Yuck.
— Nadine Sandcroft-Cooper (@NadineSandcroft) March 13, 2022
Drawing Fan Fiction
In another controversial scene from the , Mei is drawing in a notebook. It’s harmless enough. Then over the next few minutes, her drawings progressively change into illustrations of her embracing the local convenience store clerk named Tevin–the object of several of Mei’s peers’ crushes. Previously Mei barely noticed Tevin, and then, as if like a light switch, her view of him changes, and he becomes “crushworthy” to her.
Her mother finds the notebook, though, and is horrified by what Mei has drawn. One drawing depicts Tevin as a merman with no shirt, and another depicts Tevin touching Mei’s face. (It still sounds harmless to some .)
But the idea of a 13-year-old drawing fan fiction was extremely troubling and disturbing for some viewers, leading them to vote “inappropriate” as well.
Boy Crazy for the
Throughout the , there are mentions of the popular (and fictitious) 4*Town. The group is made up of 5 teenage boys who sing songs about girls, love, and the like.
Mei and her three best friends especially like the band’s song titled, “Nobody Like U,” the lyrics of which read:
I’ve never met nobody like you
Had friends and I’ve had buddies, it’s true
But they don’t turn my tummy the way you do
I’ve never met nobody like you
Oh, yeah, yeah
You’re never not on my mind, oh my, oh my
I’m never not by your side, your side, your side
I’m never gon’ let you cry, oh, cry, don’t cry
I’ll never not be your ride or die, alright
Let’s call it what it is, it’s a masterpiece
Gotta whole lotta love for them city streets
Tonight, is the place to be, gotta big boombox and a new CD
Come on, everybody let’s tear it up
If you want mad skills, you can share with us
(Come on) I want everybody to stop and stare
And you know why, it’s me
Mei and her gal pals are completely enamoured by the members of 4*Town, and part of the centers on their efforts to raise $800 for tickets to see the boys in concert. But this “boy crazy” and “obsessive” behavior is infuriating to many viewers who say they don’t want their children influenced by such ideals. One parent posted a comment online, saying “[Thirteen] and obsessed with boys may be common, but it’s not an ideal I want for my girls.”
“My panda, my choice”
In one of the final scenes of the , Mei has learned to embrace her inner , but it’s clear that her mother is still not completely comfortable with the idea. Mei responds to her mother with, “My panda, my choice, Mom.” Clearly the phrase is a nod to the “my body, my choice” lingo used in the pro-choice movement. Some viewers were angered over the phrase, saying that a PIXAR for children should leave out the politics.
may well be the most controversial PIXAR has released in its more than 30-year history. There is a silver lining, however, and that is that PIXAR’s next release is one that will come with at least some familiarity to PIXAR fans: Lightyear hits theaters in June!