Pixar's newest film, Turning Red, is now streaming on Disney Plus, and if you lived through the early 2000s in Canada, you're definitely bound to recognize a few hilarious and nostalgic throwbacks.
The film follows Mei, a young Chinese-Canadian girl growing up in Toronto, Ontario. And while being 13 is tough enough as it is, it definitely doesn't help that she turns into a giant red panda whenever she feels a strong surge of emotion.
Turning Red is a treasure trove of iconic Toronto landmarks and hilarious references that only Canadians will understand, but there are also some other long-forgotten fashion accessories, games, and other items from the late '90s and early 2000s that make the nostalgia so real.
Here are just a few that will remind you why growing up in Canada was actually the best.
Tamagotchis, flip phones and walkmans
Mei in the 'Turning Red' movie walking in Toronto's Chinatown, with her Tamagotchi.
The technology of the early 2000s was quite the advancement at the time, now with how reliant many of us are on our computers, phones and apps, we can appreciate how simple and personal it was twenty years ago.
From the top of the film, you'll notice Mei carrying around her pet Tamagotchi. She carries this with her everywhere and even when she forgets it at a party, her friend finds the virtual pet and feeds them on her behalf. We all know you can't forget to feed them!
The year 2002 was also a simpler time for listening to music. A boombox and walkman make appearances in the movie, and Mei receives a burnt CD from a friend of one of her favourite bands.
You'll also notice photos being taken with polaroid cameras and teens carrying around flip phones. Ah, to think back to before our phones were mini computers and we weren't staring at them constantly.
Y2K stickers, stuffed animals and lava lamps
The colourful decor of the year 2002, had a lot of 70s inspiration we likely didn't realize while growing up. In addition to Mei's stuffed animal collection, she has an epic sticker collection that goes from her notebooks to her instrument case. You'll spot bright happy faces, flowers and peace signs, as well as a "Y2K A'Ok" sticker, reminding us of some peoples' panic at the end of 1999. There's also a 'talk to the hand" sticker, a phrase that any teen from this era can likely recall saying at some point.
The decor and throwbacks go beyond her stickers. There is floral wallpaper, fluffy toilet seat covers, and clock radios in Mei's parents' home, reminding us of the questionable choices our parents or grandparents made while decorating all those years ago. She also owns a very groovy lava lamp in her bedroom.
Friendship bracelets, chokers and butterfly clips
Mei and her group of girlfriends know how to accessorize, and many of these pieces of jewelry are coming back into fashion already. Especially if you were a teen growing up in the early 2000s, you will easily spot the friendship hemp bracelets, jelly bracelets and choker necklaces worn by the various characters.
You can count on seeing a number of butterfly clips worn by teen girls in Turning Red, in a variety of different colours. Hair clips, in general, were a fashion statement back then and Mei is seen sporting a metal snap clip throughout her story. She's also seen putting on a pair of sticker earrings. Do you remember all the colours and shapes you could get in one pack? It was a great compromise before your parents let you get your ears pierced.
The teen boys are not forgotten, and one that all the girls seem to have a crush on sports a puka shell necklace. He's always seen wearing a hat but you could almost put money on him rocking some frosted tips underneath.
Uggs, leggings and overalls
The late 90s and early 2000s had iconic outfits, beyond fashion accessories. Mei's main look throughout the film is wearing a plaid skirt with leggings. Not tights, leggings, with sneakers of course. One of her best friends sports overalls throughout the film with a matching headband and digital watch to boot. The footwear makes a statement all on its own, with slip-on Vans and the original Ugg boot being popular at the time, and making appearances in Turning Red.
You will notice plaid tees, cargo shorts, and polos on different characters in the movie. Anyone with glasses is seen wearing primarily circular frames, this is definitely before the times thicker frames and square-shaped styles became cool. Oh, and that cute boy the girls all have a crush on, he's always seen wearing a bucket hat to go with his puka shell necklace.
Fandoms and boyband mania
Teen girls in Turning Red movie dancing to the boy band 4Town.
"It's also that beautiful time when friendship and music really become in the forefront, as a young person, on what you depend on and how you find your identity," Sandra Oh beautifully states in a recent interview. Mei and her girlfriends are absolutely obsessed with the popular boy band 4Town, and the strategy of getting to their concert at the Skydome in Toronto becomes a major playing theme in the film.
They sing their songs, burn CDs of their past concerts and essentially drool over the boys in the band, reminding all of us 80s and 90s babies of the past love for bands like Backstreet Boys and N'Sync. There are some fandoms that are less prominent in the film as well, one of Mei's friends is spotted reading a fictional Vampire novel.