Latest YA hero rises in DreamWorks’ animated film ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’

DreamWorks Animation dives into the turbulent waters of high school with a hilarious, heartfelt action comedy about a quirky 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 in “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken”, with the titular role voiced by Lana Condor, who skyrocketed to global stardom as Lara Jean from the highly-successful YA (young adult) franchise, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

 The ocean is a mysterious world—one that land dwellers can only begin to imagine. That world—and the fantastic creatures that make their home beneath the waves—has long been a source of fascination for Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Kirk DeMicco. With his fourth animated feature, Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, DeMicco borrows the best ideas from folklore and myth to tell the relatable story of a not-so-ordinary teenager who, after discovering a surprising truth about herself and her family lineage, learns to embrace her inner hero.

“As a filmmaker, I’ve always been interested in subverting expectations in my storytelling,” DeMicco says. “When it came to Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, one of the things that excited me most was the opportunity to do just that with the mythology of the krakens and mermaids. Traditionally, the kraken has been portrayed as a monstrous creature, something to be feared and avoided at all costs. But in this film, we wanted to explore the idea of krakens as powerful and benevolent protectors of the sea. Similarly, we wanted to take the traditional image of mermaids and turn it on its head, creating a more complex and nuanced mythology that challenged audience expectations.”

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken beautifully walks the line between character-driven comedy and larger, impactful themes of identity, family responsibility, love and honest acceptance. When the film opens, Ruby is a charmingly awkward, insecure 16-year-old who spends time with her close-knit group of friends when she’s not tutoring her crush, Connor. She’s desperate to invite him to prom—even if it is a post-colonial patriarchal construct—but her mom, Agatha, has forbidden her to attend. The event is being held on a boat, and if Agatha has one rule, it’s that Ruby cannot go near the water. Which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t live in Oceanside, where, you know, hanging out on the pier is essentially the number one pastime.

“The film is an inter-generational story that taps into the cultural chorus surrounding teen empowerment,” DreamWorks Animation President Margie Cohn says. “We feel that Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, has the potential to become the girl-power movie of the summer, and, we hope, a touchstone for the generations of girls still to come.”

From DreamWorks and Universal Pictures International, “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken” will finally open in local cinemas nationwide this holiday – June 28. 

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