Directors: Kirk DeMicco, Faryn Pearl
Cast: Lana Condor, Toni Collette, Jane Fonda (VOICES)
Release Date: September 26, 2023
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Dive into the turbulent waters of high school with this heartwarming action comedy about a shy teenager who discovers that she’s part of a legendary royal lineage of mythical sea krakens and that her destiny, in the depths of the oceans, is bigger than she ever dreamed. Learning to be an all-powerful sea creature while hiding among humans is hard enough for Ruby, but to make matters worse, her super popular new bestie, Chelsea, is secretly a mermaid! Mermaids have been battling the Krakens for eons to rule the ocean, but Chelsea has come to land to finally put an end to that conflict. However, when Chelsea double-crosses her, Ruby will ultimately need to embrace who she is and GO BIG to protect those she loves most.
Please Note: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ tells the story of Ruby, a normal teenager in almost every conceivable way that’s simply trying to find her place; the one significant difference being that she’s actually a sea creature called a Kraken with royal roots going back generations. After being brought to land to get away from the dangers plaguing them in the sea, Ruby’s family is just trying to fit in with the folks of a local seaside town until some stress and one unexpected situation lead to Ruby going into the water and accidently revealing her true form. As word of her existence and location spreads and threats arise, Ruby quickly begins to learn who she really is and where her family comes from which leads to her being forced to choose her own path, that of a normal teenager or that of an heiress under the sea.
Directed by Kirk DeMicco (The Croods) along with co-director Faryn Pearl who both do a nice job at the helm of ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ guiding along the exciting and somewhat touching animated coming of age tale written by Pam Brady (Team America: World Police) and Brian C Brown (Lucy in the Sky) & Elliott DiGuiseppi (Lucy in the Sky). The film’s notable voice cast includes Lana Condor (Alita: Battle Angel), Toni Collette (The Boxtrolls), Annie Murphy (TV’s Praise Petey), Colman Domingo (Transformers: Rise of the Beasts), Will Forte (Scoob!), Liza Koshy (TV’s The Ghost and Molly McGee) and Jane Fonda (Luck 2022) along with more, and nearly all contributing positively to the tale in their own right.
‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ delivers a fun, generally kind-hearted and consistently amusing animated adventure for the entire family that explores a young teenager who uncovers a destiny that’s been hidden from her throughout her entire life. The film mixes in elements of a family trying to fit in, paired with a coming of age tale and that of a massive destiny; all balanced by some fun twists on water creatures such as mermaids and krakens in order to deliver a fairly clever tale from DreamWorks Animation that may not rival Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon or some of their other greats, but still offers up plenty of rewarding reasons that make it very much worthwhile.
The animated film never becomes dull or unamusing along its course and introduces plenty of fun characters that viewers should enjoy, while even contributing some potentially useful lessons on acceptance, the all too timely reality that appearances can be deceiving and that you should never judge a book simply by its cover. The largely lighthearted adventure is only tremendously boosted by some consistently gorgeous animation and a well selected voice cast that help make it work rather well, while looking quite marvelous at all times. ‘Ruby Gillman’ may have been surprisingly overlooked in theaters, but this one is definitely worth giving a chance if you’re even slightly intrigued by it already.
Overall, ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ is an entertaining, funny and occasionally somewhat thrilling animated adventure that has a little of something for the whole family and a story at its core that may not be groundbreaking or phenomenal but certainly has a lot of heart, all nicely boosted by some tremendous animation throughout that’s a treat in itself. ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ may not be the most outstanding DreamWorks animated film to ever be released, but it still has a lot to offer and is certainly recommended for those who tend to enjoy their animated offerings or have young ones at home that do. It’s a consistently enjoyable animated adventure for the whole family that should at the very least prove worthy of your time and the price of a rental, as well as likely making a great selection for a family movie night at home.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks rather good as a whole and delivers a clean, sharp and vibrantly colored presentation that never falters or disappoints from start to finish. It looks quite stellar for the most part with characters, surroundings and underwater sequences all looking clean and richly detailed down to nearly every animated line, with some bright, warm and well balanced colors dazzling throughout and balanced by deep, clean and fairly satisfying black levels. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation from Universal that may not have that extra pop that the 4K releases tend to offer (one can only assume this one wasn’t granted the 4K treatment due to its lackluster box office performance) but still delivers more than capably and shouldn’t disappoint fans.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack does a great job of complementing the onscreen fun and excitement and provides a clean, crisp and immersive audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly utilizes all seven available channels in order to send music, action and water effects, along with crowd chatter and other tidbits throughout the various speakers at every reasonable opportunity, while always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a very nice Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack that holds up smoothly every step of the way and should satisfy viewers.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ includes a nice helping of bonus content that fans of all ages should enjoy. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Kirk DeMicco, Co-Director Faryn Pearl, Producer Kelly Cooney Cilella, Head of Character Animation Carlos Fernandez Puertolas and Head of Cinematography, Layout Jon Gutman’, along with a few ‘Deleted Scenes with Introductions by Co-Director Faryn Pearl’ (running approximately 10 minutes in length altogether). Also included on the release are various Behind the Scenes Featurettes, how-to and other fun videos that feature interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus some behind the scenes footage and more; they include ‘Squad Solidarity: Adventures in ADP’ (running approximately 3 minutes), ‘The Kraken: Myth or Monster’ (approximately 3 minutes), ‘Meet the Gillman Cast’ (9 minutes), ‘The Kraken Krew: Meet the Humans Behind the Gillmans’ (10 minutes), ‘Prom Stories’ (4 minutes) and ‘Super Sea Girl Besties’ (5 minutes). Also included is an ‘Oceanside Drawing Guide’ for various characters (approximately 14 minutes altogether) and how-to videos to ‘Make Your Own Aquarium’ featuring two different options: ‘Krakenarium’ (8 minutes) and ‘Well of Seas’ (3 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from DreamWorks Animation & Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
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