When you think about middle school, you probably think of striving to achieve excellent grades, hanging out with your best friends, and fantasizing over dreamy boy bands. Meilin Lee, the protagonist of Disney Pixar’s Turning Red, is well-versed in these, but she has one quirk that sets her apart from the rest: she has the unwelcome ability to turn into a gigantic red panda when she feels tremendous emotion. The lively 13-year-old mysteriously mutates owing to her family’s mystical links with red pandas in Pixar’s 25th and most current original feature. Growing Red offers a fresh perspective on the world of awkward adolescence, and while turning into “a nasty, red monster” may not be something everyone can identify with, the film nonetheless managed to keep people entertained. Mei learns essential lessons about family, friends, and growing up along the road – she, by the way, will not hesitate to execute a spontaneous cartwheel if she feels so moved.
This isn’t the first time a human character in a Disney – or any animated – animation has transformed into an animal. The popular theme has been utilized to create drama, teach an individual, or just to entertain children and families. Here are 8 films like Turning Red to see next, whether a character transforms into an animal or just deals with pre-teen antics.
8. The Emperor’s New Groove
The Emperor’s New Groove is an underappreciated Disney picture about a pampered young emperor who receives his fair desserts when a potion turns him into a llama. Kuzco, played by David Spade, joins forces with Pacha, played by John Goodman, on a quest to return to his palace and restore him to his human form. Pacha’s humility rubs off on the emperor, teaching him a lesson or two about kindness.
7. Brother Bear
In 2003, Disney released Brother Bear, in which the main character, Kenai, is transformed into a bear. Kenai is enraged as he searches for the terrible animal who killed his brother in order to safeguard his younger siblings. A supernatural spirit alters him when he kills it, allowing him to see the world through the eyes of the animal. The film, like many classic Disney cartoons, contains dark themes while being family-friendly.
6. The Princess and the Frog
Being the first Disney film featuring a Black lead and princess, The Princess and the Frog had a cultural influence. Tiana, a diligent aspiring cook, puckers up to a prince who has been changed into a frog, and, according to popular belief, she is the one who is converted – into a frog as well. The duo must break the curse and return to their human form as two slimy green monsters, meeting new animal friends along the way.
Merida, the protagonist of Brave and the first Pixar Princess, is not the one who transforms into an animal in this 2012 film. Merida seeks aid from a strange witch after being tired of her mother’s arbitrary ways, and she receives an enchanted cake, which transforms her mother into a gigantic black bear after she eats it. Brave is a touching film about mother-daughter relationships, coming-of-age, and adhering to your convictions and views regardless of what others think.
4. Inside Out
Although no one in Pixar’s Inside Out transforms into an animal, the film nevertheless follows the experiences of a pre-teen as she grows up. Riley, an 11-year-old who moves to a new state, leaving behind her friends, interests, and all she knows, is the protagonist of Inside Out. Riley struggles to adjust to her new existence with the visual metaphor of five emotions dwelling in her mind, which is made much more difficult by the loss of one of her most vital feelings: joy.
3. Spies in Disguise
Spies in Disguise, the lone non-Disney nominee, was produced by Blue Sky Studios and released by 20th Century Fox in its final picture before shutting. The film stars Tom Holland and Will Smith as Walter and Lance, respectively, a brilliant adolescent and a successful spy, the latter of whom get changed into a pigeon. Lance retains his espionage skill while in the form of a bird, but he must continue to battle crime as a winged animal.
Except for Mirabel, every member of the Madrigal family is given a supernatural gift. Encanto tells the story of a close-knit family whose enchanted past has an impact on their present existence. When Mirabel discovers that Encanto’s magic is in jeopardy, she realizes that it is up to her to rescue her family’s abilities. Encanto examines familial love and generational pain against a backdrop of bright animation and charming characters and features top-charting songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
1. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid (2021)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid doesn’t have any animal transformations, but it is a wonderful story about middle school life for youngsters. Disney+ took Greg Heffley’s original narrative and computer-animated it for a new motion feature, following a popular children’s book series and four live-action films. The one-hour video is largely a cartoon version of the original 2010 film, with Greg, a creative middle schooler, and his closest pal Rowley recounting their exciting lives.