This Summer, DreamWorks Animation will blow the myths about mermaids out of the water and introduce a new hero from the ocean depths! From the studio that brought you Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon comes Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, starring Lana Condor as a mythical creature on the verge of discovering her hidden powers and becoming a legend.
When it comes to DreamWorks movies, there have been a number of good and bad examples to choose from over the years. There are even some DreamWorks films fans will unfortunately never get to see, but luckily for them, “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken” is not one of them. The film is yet another collaboration between DreamWorks Animation and Universal Pictures, which has worked out well in the past when it comes to launching a franchise, and the property potentially could be destined for that same outcome, opening up a whole new world for audiences to explore with plenty of remarkable characters introduced along the way.
What typically comes to mind when you hear the word “Kraken”?
Odds are, if you’re at least somewhat familiar with the sea beast of legend, some pretty scary visuals come to mind. Examples from movies in particular that ring to mind include the time Zeus (Laurence Olivier) ordered the monster’s release onto the Greek world in Clash of the Titans (1981), not to mention the time that Davy Jones used the tentacled creature to drag his enemies to the ocean depths in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006). With such a rich history in folklore and mythology, it’s no wonder that the Kraken has become an iconic antagonist in various stories. There certainly aren’t that many friendly Kraken in movies and television, and there are even fewer that end up as main characters, but it appears that is set to change thanks to an animation studio well-known for flipping classic tropes on their head. That studio, of course, is Dreamworks, and they’re set to deliver a different take on the Kraken with their next feature film, Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (2023).
The Trailer for Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
Universal Pictures dropped the first trailer for Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken on March 16, 2023. The footage opens with a monologue from Ruby’s grandmother (Jane Fonda) explaining that the myths and legends told about the notorious Kraken have been greatly exaggerated. Instead of being bloodthirsty beasts that scour the seas in search of ships to prey on, they’re not so different from the average human. We see that with young Ruby, who lives life as a normal teenager despite her whole body being colored blue, showing that this world possibly runs on Invader Zim (2001-2006) rules, with out-of-this-world lifeforms posing as school children.
Things take a major turn when a popular new student arrives on the campus, the snobby Chelsea (Annie Murphy), who also has an aquatic secret of her own. Chelsea is actually an undercover mermaid, and in what feels like a cheeky nod to another animated redheaded merperson, mermaids are actually the ancient enemies of the Kraken. After learning that Chelsea has grand ambitions to conquer the entirety of the surface world, Ruby decides it’s time to acknowledge her all-important heritage and learn the ways of the Kraken and save the day.
The Plot of Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
Many people hear the word “Kraken” and most likely immediately think of the giant mythical beast seen in films like “Clash of the Titans” or the professional hockey team from Seattle. But as far as Ruby Gillman is concerned, everybody has a lot to learn about the Kraken, especially the teenage ones. The DreamWorks animated feature looks to completely alter people’s thoughts on the underwater dweller.
This new animated adventure from the studio behind the Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon franchises sees the titular character of Ruby Gillman (Lana Condor) trying to live life as a normal teenage girl. That becomes more difficult when Ruby learns her family history and the fact that she’s the direct descendant of a long line of royal Krakens, who, in this world, are the sworn protectors of the ocean.
At a glance it looks like Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken will be an aquatic superhero story, but under the surface, it looks more like a story of growing up and accepting responsibility.
The movie centers around the titular 16-year-old high school student Ruby Gillman, who is either being ignored by her crush or most of the student body at Oceanside High. And to make matters worse, the poor girl has an overprotective mom that, oddly enough, will not allow her under any circumstance to even venture into, of all things, the water. But teenagers rarely listen, and her rule-breaking results in a game-changing discovery — Ruby is actually a Kraken. But instead of destroying ships, these super-powered sea creatures are the chosen guardians of the ocean, with one major enemy they are charged with keeping at bay. It turns out mermaids are actually evil creatures that must be stopped at all costs, and with the help of her warrior queen grandmother, Ruby will have to prove she has what it takes to live up to her family’s legacy as a teenage Kraken.
Who’s In The Cast
Filling in the titular role of Ruby Gillman is Lana Condor, who became a breakout success story after starring in All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018). Condor is joined by a hugely impressive supporting cast, with her main nemesis being someone who has plenty of experience playing popular rich kids, Schitt’s Creek (2015-2020) star Annie Murphy. The Gillman family members are also star-studded, including legendary Oscar-winner Jane Fonda voicing Ruby’s grandmother, Knives Out (2019) star Toni Collete as Ruby’s overprotective mother, Fear the Walking Dead (2015-2023) alum Colman Domingo as Ruby’s more supportive father, and Council of Dads‘ (2020) Blue Chapman as Ruby’s younger brother.
Other members of the supporting cast are Jaboukie Young-White (Ralph Breaks the Internet), Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth), Nicole Byer (Nailed It!), Liza Koshy (Liza on Demand), Ramona Young (Never Have I Ever), Eduardo Franco (Stranger Things), and Echo Kellum (Arrow).
Who’s Making Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken?
Co-directing Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken are Kirk DeMicco, who previously directed Dreamworks’ The Croods (2013), and Faryn Pearl, who will be making their directorial debut with the project. DeMicco will also be co-writing the film with South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) screenwriter Pam Brady.
The rest of the film’s crew is rounded out by composer Stephanie Economou (Jupiter’s Legacy), editor Michelle Mendenhall (Fox and Hare), and production designer Pierre-Olivier Vincent (How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World).
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken: Release Date
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken will be swimming into theaters just in time for the Summer, as the next film from the animation juggernaut has its premiere date set for Friday, June 30, 2023.
Dreamworks struck gold with their latest animated hit, that being the Oscar-nominated Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022), which raked in some more-than-healthy box office returns. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken will be premiering exclusively in theaters once it releases this Summer. After Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken‘s theatrical run concludes and is available on VOD, the film will more than likely make its streaming home on Peacock, as that’s the service owned by parent company NBCUniversal.