Turning Red appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Though not one of the all-time great CG animated presentations, Red nonetheless looked very good.
Overall sharpness seemed satisfying. Nary a sliver of softness emerged in this accurate and well-defined image.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws failed to appear.
The film’s palette opted for a fairly heavy teal orientation, as it usually saved orange/reds for Meiline’s transformation. The colors felt subdued but appropriate. HDR gave the tones added impact and range.
Blacks appeared deep and firm, while shadows felt smooth and clear. Whites and contrast received boosted power due to HDR. While the image lacked a certain dazzle factor, it still became highly satisfying.
With a fairly strong character orientation, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Red tended to seem somewhat low-key. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, a smattering of more action-oriented scenes – usually related to Meilin’s transformation – opened up the mix to a moderate degree, but these failed to turn into anything especially impressive.
Still, the soundscape felt appropriate for the material, and it created an appealing sense of place. Music also offered engaging use of the various channels.
Audio quality came across well, even with the unsurprising slightly reduced volume level that we get from some Disney releases. Speech always sounded natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.
Music felt lush and warm, while effects offered accurate, rich material. Though not memorable, the track suited the story.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The Atmos track added some kick to the BD’s 7.1 track.
Visuals showed the usual uptick, as the 4K seemed better defined and more vivid. The Blu-ray looked too good for the 4K to deliver a radical improvement, but it still became the more satisfying edition.
No extras appear on the 4K, but the two included Blu-ray discs offer some materials. Disc One starts with an audio commentary from director Domee Shi, producer Lindsey Collins, and director of photography Mahyar Abousaeedi. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story and characters, animation, design choices, music and editing, cast and performances and related topics.
For the film’s first act, this becomes a pretty good chat, as we find useful notes about story/character domains as well as Shi’s autobiographical areas. Unfortunately, happy talk takes over the piece as it goes, so after that initial 40 minutes or so, the discussion works less well.
We still learn about to make the commentary worth a listen. However, it disappoints since so much of the piece fails to deliver more than praise.
Life of a Shot runs 14 minutes, 36 seconds and offers notes from Shi, Collins, production manager Lisa Fotheringham, associate producer Sabine Koch O’Sullivan, editorial manager Emily Davis, assistant to the director Ellalorraine Greely, story supervisor Rosana Sullivan, writer Julia Cho, story artist Wesley Fuh, film editor Wesley Smith, script supervisor Rachel Slansky, production designer Rona Liu, sets co-supervisor Eric Andraos, set dressing lead Alison Leaf, graphics art director Laura Meyer, sculptor Greg Dykstra, character designer Maria Yi, character modeling and articulation artists Bill Sheffler and Lou Hamou-Lhadj, character shading and groom artists Ethan Dean and Athena Xenakis, character designer and Drawover artist Tom Gately, character groom lead Christopher Bolwyn, layout lead Sylvia Wong, animator Jaime Roe, animation FX lead Michael Bidinger, simulation supervisor Jacob Brooks, simulation artist Audrey Wong, lighting sets lead Charu Clark, color and shading art director Carlos Felipe Leon, rendering sequence lead Daniel Garcia, and dailies and rendering supervisor Susan Fisher Fong.
As implied by the title, “Shot” breaks down a slew of elements involved in the creation of one specific scene. It delivers a strong investigation of how much work even a single sequence in an animated movie requires.
With Build Your Own Boy Band, we get an eight-minute, 38-second reel that features Shi, Collins, Cho, Liu, Meyer, production music editor Rachael Bigelow, story supervisor Bill Presing, songwriters Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, lighting lead Mitch Kopelman, creative consultant Momo LeBeau, and animator Teresa Falcone.
Here we learn how the filmmakers created the movie’s boy band. Though not as informative as “Shot”, “Build” becomes a fun look at the topic.
Disc One opens with an ad for Lightyear.
On Disc Two, we launch with a featurette called Ani-Mei-Tion. It lasts nine minutes, 38 seconds and offers comments from Shi, Falcone, Collins, directing animator Guilherme Jacinto, animation supervisors Patty Kihm and Aaron Hartling, directing animator Dovi Anderson, animators Cody Lyon and Bruce Juei, and character development and animation Amanda Wagner.
“Ani-Mei-Tion” looks at character design and animation. It packs a lot of info into a brief running time,
Including introductions from Shi, six Deleted Scenes fill a total of 23 minutes, 40 seconds. These offer a mix of alternate paths that seem interesting in the abstract, but they probably wouldn’t have worked in the context of the film.
Shi’s introductions offer info about the sequences as well as why they didn’t make the final cut. Shi offers some useful thoughts.
Under Trailers, we get three promos: “Global Teaser in English” (1:56), “Global Trailer in German” (2:26) and “Japan Payoff Trailer” (1:47). These offer interesting variations.
And that’s all she wrote for Disc Two! I have no idea why Disc Two’s roughly 30 minutes of content couldn’t have fit onto Disc One, especially because that platter only involves about 130 minutes of content, including the film itself.
Though I will not claim that Pixar finds themselves on a losing streak, they seem stuck in neutral most of the time, and Turning Red becomes another watchable but lackluster production. It works well in its first act but soon suffers from too much filler and too little inspiration. The 4K UHD boasts excellent picture along with appropriate audio and a mix of bonus materials. Red offers occasional charms but nonetheless winds up as another Pixar disappointment.
To rate this film visit the Blu-ray review of the TURNING RED