Disney’s brand was always thought to have been family-friendly. Not so anymore.
Now the Mouse House’s products actually have to be pre-screened to determine whether or not they are suitable options for children’s viewing.
With all the digital devices and content providers that have permeated the media universe, it is difficult for parents to even keep up with what is out there for kids and adolescents to access with a simple click.
Disney, via Pixar, is currently streaming a movie that is over-the-top in terms of its unsuitability and potential to cause outright harm to our youth.
The film “Turning Red” is being marketed as a coming of age story. The setting is a Chinatown community located in Toronto, Canada. Lead character Meilin “Mei” Lee is 13 years-old and is in the process of transitioning to full-fledged womanhood.
Curiously, in this new state of transition, Mei discovers that whenever she feels angry, upset, or otherwise emotionally charged, she turns into a giant red panda. This condition is oftentimes accompanied by an unpleasant scent and some unfortunate occurrences.
The cinematic tale is apparently meant to be an allegory about female puberty, a kind of symbolic representation of the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that occur in a female’s life as she journeys from youth to adolescence.
The panda manifestation, red in color, problematic, and emotionally intense, only happens to the women in Mei’s family.
The representation of the menstruation process is disrespectful and debasing in nature. But this is far from the worst of the film’s flaws. Adding to the potential mind, body, and soul-altering mix are the exploration of sexual urges and blatant participation in occult practices.
The movie is directed by Oscar winning Chinese Canadian filmmaker Domee Shi. As if on cue, mainstream media critics are showering it with praise. On the other hand, a whole lot of parents are not. Faith-filled folks in particular are really riled up.
The red panda is depicted in promos as cute and cuddly, which is seemingly designed to appeal to small children. However, there are numerous scenes in the film that in no way should be viewed by this demographic.
Christian parents should be especially concerned with the depictions of ancestor worship, polytheism, ritualistic practices, and supernatural transformations.
In the film, the transformation of little girl to panda is viewed as a curse. The only way for Mei to be relieved of the curse is to have the oldest male in the family, which in her case happens to be her grandfather, perform a ritual ceremony that coincides with the next red moon.
Prompted by the themes in the film, one prominent pastor is warning parents about the movie. Mike Signorelli, founder and lead pastor of the multiple location V1 Church in New York City, recently released a video on social media and conducted an interview with CBN’s Faithwire, all in an effort to inform parents of his religious concerns over “Turning Red.”
A former atheist, the pastor was led to Christianity by a friend after a year of faith discussions.
According to Pastor Signorelli, the sexual content of the movie as well as the menstruation metaphor are enough, in and of themselves, to make the film inappropriate for the younger demographic.
“If you extract the spiritual aspect of this movie, just on the basis of the content being about menstruation and this coming of age, it’s not appropriate for children,” he advised.
However, Pastor Signorelli finds the occult-related content even more disturbing.
“Even within the first eight minutes, you have chanting, communication with ancestors, and immediately a red flag should start to go off,” he stated.
He also noted that scenes in the film contain numerous concepts that conflict with a biblical worldview. He warns of danger in the fact that “the movie contains an intermingling of spirituality and ritual.”
This intermingling occurs, for example, during the ritual to rid Mei of the red panda spirit. She crosses into another “dimension” and encounters a deceased ancestor.
It occurs in a nightmare sequence too, one in which statues with glowing red eyes appear to be tormenting her, a scene that the pastor believes would be highly disturbing to an audience of children.
During his clerical tenure, Pastor Signorelli has had extensive experience in a deliverance ministry, one in which he has had a key role in confronting evil itself. This enables him to recognize imagery in the film that is not merely inappropriate, but dangerous to the spiritual well-being of our young ones.
“I believe that every parent — not just a pastor, but a parent — has a mandate to actually screen material, because every single device you have in your home is a portal, either a window into the things of God or, unfortunately, things that I believe are demonic,” he said.
In his post, the pastor offered a summary of his major concerns.
“I cannot in good faith allow you to show this to your children knowing what I know about demonic spirits, knowing what I know about the cultures that demons create,” he said.
Parents, relatives, and guardians of children and teens would be wise to take heed of Pastor Signorelli’s words regarding this film and other youth-oriented media that have hidden agendas embedded within.