Here’s a whole lot of kraken wise cracks in this weekend’s big DreamWorks Animation release, Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a lover of kraken, or even mythical sea creatures in general, to enjoy the film.
“You don’t have to be a fan of krakens to see this movie. You don’t even have to be a fan of or not a fan of mermaids to see this movie,” star Lana Condor (SYFY’s Deadly Class, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), who voices the titular teenage kraken, told SYFY WIRE at the film’s press junket. Perhaps that’s because aside from being an epic seafaring adventure, the spectacularly vibrant film is also a family drama, a high school comedy, and a coming-of-age story, among other things.
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“If you enjoy adventure or action or romance or comedy or drama, there is something in it for everyone,” Condor says. “So depending on your preference, as far as like what kind of genre you like to watch, I do feel like we have aspects of all of that in our film.”
What is Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken about?
The film revolves around Condor’s Ruby, who is indeed a teenage kraken, just trying to fit into the very human community of Oceanside, alongside her overbearing and overachieving mother, Agatha (Toni Collette); her way-less-formidable father, Arthur (Colman Domingo); and her little brother, Sam (Blue Chapman). Ruby is thoroughly rapped up in typical high school drama – friends, tough moms, prom – when she’s forced to jump into the ocean to save her drowning would-be prom date, thus breaking Agatha’s #1 rule. When she finally makes contact with the sea, Ruby really finds out what it means to be a kraken. And a big one at that.
As if that’s not complicated enough, the popular new girl, Chelsea (Annie Murphy), is actually a mermaid who’s got a multi-generational vendetta . Yeah, no one ever said high school was easy, but it’s particularly hard on a kraken who also happens to be a direct descendant of the Warrior Queen of the Seven Seas, Ruby’s long-lost Gramamah (Academy Award winner Jane Fonda).
Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken is DreamWorks Animation’s first female-led film
“As the first female titled lead of DreamWorks Animation, it’s a great mother-daughter story,” director Kirk DeMicco (Vivo, The Croods) tells SYFY WIRE. “And it’s a story for girls of all ages, but especially for young women like my own daughter, there’s a message of… standing tall, taking up as much space [as possible], and like her Gramamah says, not shrinking away from greatness.”
While Ruby’s full kraken power is indeed part of her greatness, it’s her ability to hang out with a bunch of human high schoolers which perhaps makes her more relatable.
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“It’s a very human movie at the core of it all. I think there are a lot of experiences that people will be able to see themselves in, and a lot of relationships that I think are going to be very familiar to people,” says Murphy, who won an Emmy for playing Alexis on Schitt’s Creek (alongside SurrealEstate stars Tim Rozon and Sarah Levy). “And it’s so fun and sweet and funny… and the animation! The brains of these people who animated the movie are so spectacular. And there’s so much to look at, it’s so vivid, there’s constantly a thousand things happening on the screen. So it really is a very exciting movie to watch.”
The film is co-directed by Faryn Pearl, and also stars Emmy nominee Will Forte (Saturday Night Live), Emmy nominee Nicole Byer (Nailed It!), Emmy nominee Sam Richardson (Veep), Liza Koshy (Transformers: Rise of the Beast), Ramona Young (Never Have I Ever), Eduardo Franco (Stranger Things), Echo Kellum (Arrow), and Emma Chamberlain (Anything Goes podcast).
Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken opened in theaters everywhere this Friday, June 30.