Turning Red

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Disney;
Animated;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for thematic material, suggestive content and language.
Voices of Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Hyein Park, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Orion Lee, Wai Ching Ho, Tristan Allerick Chen.

Pixar’s Turning Red uses a heavy anime influence to tell a classic coming-of-age story.

Set in Toronto in the early 2000s, the film plays a bit like an Asian version of Teen Wolf (the 1980s comedy, not the 2010s dark fantasy show it inspired), as 13-year-old Mei (voiced by Rosalie Chiang) learns the women in her family inherit the ability to transform into a giant red panda when they become teenagers. Mei isn’t sure how to control her transformation, with the panda manifesting whenever she experiences strong emotions. Mei’s parents tell her the transformation can be removed by a ritual, but she must wait a few weeks for the moon to align.

In the meantime, Mei discovers she can regulate the transformation by thinking about her friends. When she and her friends need money to attend a boy band concert, she takes up an offer to appear as the panda at a rich kids birthday, which only causes friction with her strict mother (Sandra Oh). The metaphor for balancing self-discovery and duty to family is pretty straightforward.

Turning Red plays a bit like a spiritual successor to Pixar’s Oscar-winning 2008 short film Bao, another quirky look at a Chinese-Canadian family that told the story of a woman who imagines a dumpling coming to life as a stand-in for her child that moved out. Bao writer-director Domee Shi also directed and co-wrote Turning Red.

The film’s subject matter and an array of eccentric characters lend themselves to a number of imaginative and colorful sequences that provide plenty of fodder for Pixar to maintain its reputation for visual splendor, and Turning Red is one of the most distinctive efforts from the venerated animation house.

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The Blu-ray Disc edition includes a number of fun extras that offer plenty of behind-the-scenes information.

First up is an audio commentary with Shi, producer Lindsey Collins and director of photography Mahyar Abousaeedi that covers most of the bases, from the character designs to the film’s musical flavors.

The 14-and-a-half-minute “Life of a Shot” delves into the creative process by focusing on seven shots from the film, from conception to completion.

The nine-minute “Build Your Own Boy Band” featurette looks at how filmmakers pieced together the boy band that helps drive the story, from style to sound to choreography — a process that begins with listening to a lot of boy band music.

A Blu-ray bonus disc includes 23 minutes of deleted sequences, some of which are fully animated, and a 10-minute “Ani-Mei-Tion” featurette about the film’s visual style and anime influences.

The 4K disc contains just the movie and no bonus materials. All the extras in the 4K combo pack are on the two Blu-ray Discs, which are the same discs as the regular Blu-ray combo pack.

‘Turning Red’ to Debut on Digital April 26, Disc May 3

Disney and Pixar’s animated Turning Red will be available for digital purchase April 26, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD May 3 from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

In the film, confident, dorky 13-year-old Mei (voice of Rosalie Chiang) must balance being a dutiful daughter with the chaos of adolescence. Her slightly overbearing mom (voice of Sandra Oh) is never far from her daughter. And, as if changes to Mei’s interests, relationships and body aren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited, she “poofs” into a giant red panda.

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Bonus features, which vary by product and retailer, include seven deleted scenes, three featurettes and audio commentary with director Domee Shi.

Turning Red is also streaming on Disney+.

Disney+ to Exclusively Premiere Pixar’s ‘Turning Red’ March 11

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution has announced that Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red will premiere exclusively in homes worldwide on Disney+ March 11.

In international markets where Disney+ is not yet available, the film will be released theatrically, with premiere dates to be announced.

“Disney+ subscribers around the world enthusiastically embraced Pixar’s Academy Award-winning Soul and the critically-acclaimed Luca when they premiered exclusively on the service, and we look forward to bringing them Pixar’s next incredible feature film, Turning Red,” said Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. “Given the delayed box office recovery, particularly for family films, flexibility remains at the core of our distribution decisions as we prioritize delivering the unparalleled content of The Walt Disney Co. to audiences around the world.”

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Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red introduces Mei Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang), a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter — an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited, she “poofs” into a giant red panda. The film is directed by Academy Award winner Domee Shi (Pixar short “Bao”).

‘Luca’ Tops August Disc Sales

Disney’s Luca earned top honors on the top 10 list of combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales for August 2021 according to the NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking service.

The Pixar Animation Studios film, which bypassed theaters domestically in favor of a Disney+ streaming debut, arrived on disc Aug. 3, giving it nearly the full month to accumulate retail sales.

The No. 2 seller for the month was Lionsgate’s Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. The action-comedy sequel was released on disc Aug. 17 and was a top disc on the weekly sales charts for two consecutive weeks.

The No. 3 August seller was Paramount’s suspenseful sequel A Quiet Place Part II, which had been No. 4 in July after just four days of the disc being available that month. It moved up a spot in its first full month of availability.

No. 4 in August was Warner’s 1996 sports comedy Space Jam, which had been No. 3 in July after getting a boost from a new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition and the release of a new sequel, Space Jam: A New Legacy. Its sales were strong enough over the past two months to enter the year-to-date top 10 at No. 6.

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The top July title, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Mortal Kombat remake, dropped to No. 5 in August, though it did crack the top 10 for top-selling titles of the year to date.

Other newcomers in the monthly top 10 included Warner’s Batman: The Long Halloween — Part Two at No. 6, Warner’s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It at No. 8 (after being released the last week of the month), and Warner’s Those Who Wish Me Dead, which took No. 9 after an Aug. 3 disc release.

On the year-to-date chart, August results didn’t alter the top five at all, with Universal’s The Croods: A New Age remaining the year’s top-selling title. But Space Jam and Mortal Kombat climbing into the top 10 pushed Warner’s The Meg and Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection off the list.

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According to NPD, the August 2021 top 10 by units sold were:

  1. Luca (Disney)
  2. Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (Lionsgate)
  3. A Quiet Place Part II (Paramount)
  4. Space Jam (Warner)
  5. Mortal Kombat (Warner)
  6. Batman: The Long Halloween — Part Two (Warner)
  7. Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner)
  8. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Warner)
  9. Those Who Wish Me Dead (Warner)
  10. E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial (Universal)

 

Year-to-date Top 10 (through August 2021):

  1. The Croods: A New Age (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner)
  3. Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner)
  4. Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney)
  5. Monster Hunter (Sony Pictures)
  6. Space Jam (Warner)
  7. News of the World (Universal)
  8. Soul (Disney)
  9. Tom & Jerry (2021, Warner)
  10. Mortal Kombat (2021, Warner)

 

‘Mortal Kombat’ Tops Disc Sales for July

Luca

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Disney;
Animated;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for rude humor, language, some thematic elements and brief violence.
Voices of Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Saverio Raimondo, Marco Barricelli, Maya Rudolph, Jim Gaffigan, Sacha Baron Cohen.

With Luca, Pixar delivers a wonderfully realized rumination about growing up, exploring the joys of the world and finding friends who also might be just a little bit different.

The film follows the tradition of earlier Disney tales such as Splash and The Little Mermaid, but with a distinctly Italian flair. Luca (Jacob Tremblay) is a young sea monster who yearns to learn about the wider world, but is limited to a life shepherding goatfish under the sea. One day, while looking through a number of human objects that fell from a boat, he encounters Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), an orphaned sea monster who teaches Luca that when they go onto land and dry out, their bodies become human.

They have fun with their misadventures on the lonely island where Alberto lives, dreaming of one day obtaining a Vespa so they can travel the world. But when Luca’s parents take notice of his time on land, they threaten to send him to live with his uncle in the ocean deep. So, Alberto convinces Luca to run away to the sleepy Italian fishing village nearby to hide out. There, they meet Giulia (Emma Berman), who recruits them to form a team for an upcoming race, hoping to defeat the bully Ercole.

But they also learn there is a bounty for killing sea monsters, which they are revealed to be whenever they get wet. In addition, Luca’s parents come ashore themselves to search him out, leading to a funny bit in which they assume every boy they encounter could be Luca because they don’t know what he looks like as a human.

Director Enrico Casarosa based much of the film on his boyhood in Genoa, Italy, using the concept of the sea monster as a metaphor for not quite fitting in.

The film is beautifully animated in typical Pixar fashion, and so evocative of its oceanside environment that viewers can virtually feel the sun on their face and the water at their feet.

The Blu-ray includes a compilations of storyboards for about 30 minutes of deleted sequences, included a couple of alternate openings. There are also three making-of featurettes running about 35 minutes total.

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‘Luca’ Swimming to Digital and Disc Aug. 3

The Pixar animated film Luca will come out on digital and on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Aug. 3 from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

The film is available now on the Disney+ streaming service.

Set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Luca is a coming-of-age story about a young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer. Luca shares his adventures with his friend Alberto, but their fun is threatened by a deeply held secret: They’re sea monsters from a world below the water’s surface.

The release touts a variety of bonus features including never-before-seen featurettes, deleted scenes and two alternate openings.

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‘Soul,’ ‘The Undoing,’ ‘Our Friend’ Among Top New Disc and Digital Releases March 23

Disney’s Soul, HBO’s The Undoing and Universal’s Our Friend top the slate of new releases available for home viewing March 23.

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution will release the animated movie Soul on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and through digital retailers. Directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray, Soul tells the story of Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who lands the gig of his life at the best jazz club in town. But one misstep lands Joe in a fantastical place: The Great Before. There, he teams up with soul 22 (Tina Fey), and together they find the answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

The latest feature from Pixar Animation Studios was held back from its planned domestic theatrical release as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and instead was made available to subscribers of the Disney+ streaming service on Christmas for no additional charge. In limited release internationally it made $116 million at the global box office. It also won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature and is nominated for the Academy Award in the same category.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the six-episode HBO limited series The Undoing on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 23. Based on the novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, The Undoing stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as a married couple whose lives are upended by a violent death and a chain of terrible revelations.

The drama Our Friend will be available for digital sellthrough March 23. The film tells the true story of the Teague family — journalist Matt (Casey Affleck), his wife Nicole (Dakota Johnson) and their two young daughters — and how their lives are upended by Nicole’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. As Matt’s responsibilities as a caretaker and parent become increasingly overwhelming, the couple’s best friend Dane Faucheux (Jason Segel) offers to come and help out. As Dane puts his life on hold to stay with his friends, the impact of this life-altering decision proves greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined. It arrives on DVD March 30 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

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Universal’s News of the World arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 23. Tom Hanks stars as a former Army captain in the 1870s who moves from town to town sharing the news from the far reaches of the globe. In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl (Helena Zengel) taken in by the Kiowa people and raised as one of their own, and agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces. It was released for digital purchase March 9.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Breaking News in Yuba County on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 23. Directed by Tate Taylor (The Girl on the Train, The Help), the film stars Allison Janney as a suburban housewife who becomes a local celebrity in Yuba County when she embarks on a city-wide search to find her missing husband. Along the way, she encounters her half-sister (Mila Kunis), a local news reporter desperate for a story, and also stumbles into a wannabe mobster (Awkwafina), a relentless local policewoman (Regina Hall), her husband’s deadbeat brother (Jimmi Simpson), who all set out to uncover the truth behind the disappearance.

Cinedigm March 23 will release the Super Bowl LV Champions highlight film on DVD and Blu-ray, presenting highlights from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Timed for Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max, Warner Archive releases a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — Ultimate Edition remastered to match the 4:3 aspect ratio of the Snyder Cut.

Paramount March 23 releases a Blu-ray collection of 10 Best Picture Oscar winners, including Wings (1927), My Fair Lady (1964), The Godfather (1972), Terms of Endearment (1983), Forrest Gump (1994), The English Patient (1996), Titanic (1997), American Beauty (1999), Gladiator (2000) and No Country for Old Men (2007).

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Coming to Disc and Digital Sellthrough March 23

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution will release the animated movie Soul on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and through digital retailers March 23.

Directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray, Soul tells the story of Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who lands the gig of his life at the best jazz club in town. But one misstep lands Joe in a fantastical place: The Great Before. There, he teams up with soul 22 (Tina Fey), and together they find the answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

The voice cast also includes Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Angela Bassett, Daveed Diggs, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Wes Studi, Fortune Feimster, Zenobia Shroff, Donnell Rawlings and June Squibb.

The latest feature from Pixar Animation Studios was held back from its planned domestic theatrical release as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and instead was made available to subscribers of the Disney+ streaming service on Christmas for no additional charge. In limited release internationally it made $85.2 million at the global box office.

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Extras on the disc and digital versions (subject to retailer) include filmmaker commentary; deleted scenes with introduction; and several featurettes:

  • “Not Your Average Joe” — About how filmmakers crafted the story of Joe, Pixar’s first black leading character;
  • “Astral Taffy” — A look at the artistry and technical innovation that went into creating the sets and characters in the world of Soul;
  • “Pretty Deep for a Cartoon” — An examination of the philosophical questions posed by the film;
  • “Into the Zone: The Music and Sound of Soul” — An exploration of how the film uses music to enhance Joe’s journey;
  • Soul, Improvised” — A look at how the filmmakers finished the film during the pandemic;
  • “Jazz Greats” — Giants of the jazz world who consulted on Soul share their passion and wisdom about what music is and does for us all.

 

Soul will also be available as a collectible Steelbook at Best Buy, and packaged with a limited-edition gallery booklet at Target.

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Vudu, FandangoNow Offering Discounts on Pixar Titles for ‘Toy Story’ 25th

To celebrate the upcoming 25th anniversary of the animated classic Toy Story, Fandango is offering 50% off pricing on more than 20 of Disney and Pixar’s movies through its transactional VOD services Vudu and FandangoNow.

The offer, good through Nov. 22, includes the following films in 4K Ultra HD at $9.99 each: Toy Story 4Toy Story 3Toy Story 2Toy StoryFinding NemoFinding DoryThe IncrediblesThe Incredibles 2CocoInside OutMonsters Inc.Monsters UniversityRatatouilleWALL*EUpBraveCarsCars 2Cars 3A Bug’s Life and The Good Dinosaur.

Movie bundles include the Toy Story four-movie collection at $34.99; the The Incredibles two-movie collection at $19.99; the Finding Nemo two-movie collection at $19.99; and the Cars three-movie collection at $29.99.

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“With the holiday season upon us, it’s a great time to expand your movie library and pick up some of your all-time favorite films,” Fandango managing editor Erik Davis said in a statement. “My family loves collecting classics like The Incredibles and Toy Story so we can watch them over and over again, and this week’s sale gives fans a chance to grab some favorites to enjoy during the holidays.”

Toy Story, released theatrically in 1995, was the first feature film from Pixar. It marked the directorial debut of John Lasseter and was the first fully computer-animated feature film. The film holds a rare 100% approval from Rotten Tomatoes, the review-aggregation website for film and television shows.

Toy Story earned three Academy Award nominations (Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song for “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” and Best Original Score) and won a Special Achievement Academy Award. In 2005, its first year of eligibility, it was inducted into the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

Amazon Launches ‘Prime Cinema’ for Early Digital Movie Releases

Amazon early on Sunday, March 22, announced via email the launch of Prime Video | Cinema, a new online hub where the company says “you can watch the latest movies just released in theaters — without leaving home.”

Disney/Pixar’s Onward is available to buy for $19.99, while Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma are available to rent at the same price. The price is also the same for HD or SD.

All four films were made available for home viewing earlier than expected due to the closure of movie theaters in response to the escalating novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Consumers who digitally rent a film have 30 days to start watching it, and must finish watching the movie within 48 hours.