Home Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (PG)

Cast: Colman Domingo, Lana Condor, Jane Fonda, Toni Collette
Genre: Family
Author(s): Kirk DeMicco, Brian C Brown, Pam Brady, Elliott DiGuiseppi
Director: Faryn Pearl, Kirk DeMicco
Release Date: 30/06/2023
Running Time: 91mins
Country: US
Year: 2023

Shy teenager Ruby Gillman is a kraken who lives on dry land in Oceanside with parents Arthur and Agatha and her younger brother Sam. The family has blue skin and gills but tells the coastal community's residents that they look different because they hail from Canada. A failed prom proposal culminates in Ruby plunging into the sea and she finally learns her destiny to inherit the throne from her imperious Grandmahmah.


LondonNet Film Review

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (PG) Film Review from LondonNet

Computer-animated films can take several years to come to fruition so it is inevitable that fantastical features from rival studios might surface in quick succession with similar themes, emotional hooks or aesthetics. Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken splashes into cinemas just over a year after Pixar explored intergenerational angst in Turning Red, a beautifully crafted coming-of-age comedy about a shy 13-year-old who metamorphoses into a giant red panda every time she succumbs to embarrassment or excitement. Kirk DeMicco’s water-based fantasy for DreamWorks Animation, which is co-directed by Faryn Pearl, trades a gargantuan, fluffy bear for a fearsome sea monster and cheekily introduces a self-deluded character with a cinched waist, cascading red hair and a fishtail, who could be interpreted as a cheeky dig at Ariel from The Little Mermaid…

The script co-written by Pam Brady, Brian C Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi remains at surface level for the majority of 91 pedestrian minutes, gradually revealing the titular heroine’s multi-tentacled secret and body image insecurities to friends and classmates under the timely banner of living an authentic life. Ruby is repeatedly urged to “go big” but the film paddling around her remains small in ambition and scope, building to a showdown against a towering adversary that strives for the majesty and menace of fiery Te Ka in Moana.

Shy teenager Ruby Gillman (voiced by Lana Condor) is a kraken who lives on dry land in Oceanside with parents Arthur (Colman Domingo) and Agatha (Toni Collette) and her younger brother Sam (Blue Chapman). The family has blue skin and gills but tells the coastal community’s residents that they look different because they hail from Canada. Agatha forbids her daughter from going into the sea, scuppering plans to attend the end-of-year prom on a boat with best friends Margot (Liza Koshy), Bliss (Ramona Young) and Trevin (Eduardo Franco).

Ruby tries to convince herself that prom is a “postcolonial, patriarchal construct” but she secretly yearns to ask skater boy Connor (Jaboukie Young-White) to be her date. A failed prom proposal culminates in Ruby plunging into the sea and she finally learns her destiny to inherit the throne from her imperious Grandmahmah (Jane Fonda). Historically, krakens are sworn enemies of mermaids, which means Ruby can’t be friends with sympathetic new girl Chelsea Van Der Zee (Annie Murphy), who also leads a secret life beneath the waves. Suffocated by tradition, Ruby angrily vows to break free.

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken is a gently effervescent yarn that dilutes a wholesome and heartfelt central message of self-acceptance and individuality. Every facet of DeMicco and Pearl’s fantasy is polished – vocal performances, colour-saturated visuals, composer Stephanie Economou’s energetic soundtrack – but it’s formulaic and derivative fare that resolves conflict in the flick of a tailfin. A happily ever after without effort and sacrifice doesn’t feel truly deserved.

– Sarah Lee


Popular on LondonNet


London Cinemas Showing Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken


From: Friday 23rd February
To: Thursday 29th February

No cinema infomation at the moment

From: Friday 1st March
To: Thursday 7th March

No cinema infomation at the moment

UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken


From: Friday 23rd February
To: Thursday 29th February

No cinema infomation at the moment

From: Friday 1st March
To: Thursday 7th March

No cinema infomation at the moment