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Kirk DeMicco
Lana Condor, Jane Fonda, Toni Collette
Writing Credits:
Pam Brady, Brian C. Brown, Elliott DiGiuseppi

A shy adolescent learns that she comes from a fabled royal family of legendary sea krakens and that her destiny lies in the depths of the waters.

Box Office:
$70 million.
Opening Weekend:
$5,500,990 on 3400 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English DVS
Spanish DTS 7.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 9/26/2023

• 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
• Deleted Scenes
• “Squad Solidarity” Featurette
• “Myth or Monster” Featurette
• “Meet the Cast” Featurette
• “The Kraken Krew” Featurette
• “Super Sea Girl Besties” Featurette
• “Oceanside Drawing Guide” Featurette
• “Make Your Own Aquarium” Featurette
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Ruby Gillman Teenage Kraken [Blu-Ray] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 25, 2023)

With a prime late June release date and a huge prospective audience of kids home for summer break, one might expect 2023’s Ruby Gillman Teenage Kraken became a hit. One would expect incorrectly.

Indeed, the movie flamed out spectacularly. It made a mere $43 million worldwide, barely half of its already relatively low $70 million budget.

Teenage didn’t deserve such a fate. While not a classic, the movie brings reasonable entertainment.

15-year-old Ruby Gillman (voiced by Lana Condor) lives with her family in the seaside town of Oceanside. They hide a major secret, as all members of the Gillman clan exist as krakens.

The Gilmmans work hard to hide this, but Ruby’s growing independence makes this more difficult. Eventually she realizes that her status comes with massive powers and she needs to cope with these revelations.

If forced to speculate why Teenage failed to find an audience, I suspect some of it stems from a “been there, done that” vibe. Other movies that came with similar concepts hit in the same general chronological vicinity.

For instance, 2021’s Luca looked at a youngster who hid his sea creature origins in human form. Also, 2023’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret delivered a “coming of age” story about a girl who goes through “bodily changes”.

Two films does not a major trend make, but the existence of these other flicks does give Teenage a bit of a “retread” feel. The movie needed to bring something special to the table to stand out, and I guess audiences didn’t find that twist they needed to flock to multiplexes.

Or maybe the movie bombed for other reasons – we can’t always find a concrete explanation for a film’s financial failings. Whatever the case, while Teenage can feel derivative, it does muster enough amusement to keep us with it.

Though Teenage can feel a little… desperate at times. By that I mean that the film becomes so hyperactive that it comes across as too eager to please.

It can seem like those behind Teenage worried that if they ever let the pace slow for a millisecond, the viewers would bail. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of confidence that the audience can muster patience for anything that fails to become wild and weird.

Honestly, I would find it hard to spotlight anything Teenage does that makes it stand out from the crowd. The animation seems lackluster and neither characters nor plot points feel especially creative or fresh.

That said, Teenage does become a breezy and engaging little fable. For all its contrivances, it creates a lively universe with personalities we like, even if they fit stereotypes too narrowly.

Sometimes I find a movie that intellectually shouldn’t work - mainly because of the trite components involved – but I dig it anyway. Teenage falls into that category, because objectively, it comes with issues.

But movies aren’t just the sum of their parts, and Teenage seems earnest and unassuming enough to carry the day. Of course, a good cast helps.

We find talents like Jane Fonda, Sam Richardson, Toni Collette, Will Forte, Colman Domingo and others along for the ride. They add spark to their thin roles.

I can’t offer a terrific recommendation for Teenage due to that list of flaws I already noted. Nonetheless, I enjoyed my time with it, and that seems like enough.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

Ruby Gillman Teenage Kraken appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, this became a strong visual presentation.

Sharpness satisfied. Nary a sliver of softness crept into the image, and that meant a tight, concise picture.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws failed to become an issue.

Parts of Teenage learned blue/green, but the film included plenty of brighter hues as well, so expect pinks, purples, reds, yellows and other vivid tones. The Blu-ray replicated these in fine fashion.

Blacks became deep and dense, while low-light shots felt smooth and clear. The movie offered a terrific image.

I also felt pleased with the exciting DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Teenage, as it kicked into higher gear a lot of the time. Of course, the aspects of Ruby’s high school life didn’t manifest much in terms of involvement.

However, the kraken parts allowed the soundfield to sizzle. The movie upped the action as it went and created a lot of scenes with plenty of impact from all the channels in this well-blended mix.

Audio quality worked well, with speech that felt natural and distinctive. Music showed nice range and punch as well.

Effects delivered a good punch, with clean highs and deep lows. The soundtrack became an active and vivid part of the experience.

When we move to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from 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. All sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, design and animation, music, editing, and connected areas.

Historically, commentaries for DreamWorks animation films have been spotty, and that remains true here. While we get more than enough insights to make the track worth a listen, we also find too much happy talk for this to be a genuinely good discussion.

Including intros from Pearl, three Deleted Scenes take up a total of 10 minutes, four seconds. We get “Prologue” (2:43), “Walk to School” (3:03) and “Crab ‘n Skate” (4:18).

Obviously “Prologue” brings an alternate opening. It sets up the movie’s themes and foreshadows later events but seems less than engaging.

“School” gives Ruby the ability to talk to aquatic critters, a feature that doesn’t appear in the final film. It seems mildly amusing but also slightly horrific to see a bunch of creatures desperate to survive.

Finally, “Skate” makes Ruby more of a “mean girl”. It feels too out of character and was a good cut.

Pearl gives us basics about the scenes and lets us know why they didn’t make the movie. She adds useful info.

Many featurettes follow, and Squad Solidarity spans three minutes, two seconds and shows the actors in the recording studio. It becomes a fun glimpse behind the scenes.

Myth or Monster goes for three minutes, 32 seconds and provides info from actors Lana Condor and Annie Murphy.

They provide a lesson on the history of krakens. We get a short but useful summary.

Next comes Meet the Cast. This nine-minute, three-second reel involves Condor, Murphy, and actors Toni Collette, Jane Fonda, Colman Domingo, Sam Richardson, Jaboukie Young-White, Liza Koshy, Eduardo Franco, Ramona Young, and Will Forte.

They offer basics about their characters and performances. Other than a little more enjoyable recording studio shots, this turns into a forgettable reel.

The Kraken Krew occupies nine minutes, 58 seconds. It offers statements from Pearl, DeMicco, Condor, Fonda, Murphy, Richardson, Collette, Cilella, Gutman, Puertolas, head of story Glenn Harmon, production designer Pierre-Olivier Vincent, character look development supervisor Megan Lea Walker, location modeling supervisor Emilie Austin, VFX supervisor Dave Walvoord, editor Michelle Mendenhall and co-producer Rachel Zusser.

“Krew” examines story issues, character and environment design, cinematography, animation and music. This turns into a fairly good overview.

After this we find Prom Stories, a four-minute, 37-second clip with material from Condor, Murphy, Fonda, Franco, Pearl, and Harmon.

As expected, the participants tell us of their prom experiences. It gives us a fun collection of memories.

And for what it’s worth, when I was in high school, “promposals” didn’t exist – we just asked! For which I’m thankful – I was nervous enough about asking out girls back then without the pressure to Put On a Show.

Super Sea Girl Besties fills five minutes, five seconds. It comes with notes from Pearl, Murphy, Collette, Cilella, Mendenhall, Condor, Zusser, Austin, Walker, and head of lighting Joanna Wu.

“Besties” discusses the female-centered crew of the film. It leans fluffy.

Tutorials follow. We find Oceanside Drawing Guide (five sections, 14:28 total) and Make Your Own Aquarium (two sections, 10:36 total).

The “Guide” features Harmon as he teaches us how to drive five different characters. We get a fun exploration, as even for those of us who don’t play to sketch anything, we learn about visual choices.

“Aquarium” features an unnamed narrator who instructs us on some arts/crafts experiences. Kids may enjoy these activities.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Teenage. It includes all the same extras as the Blu-ray.

A box office flop, I cannot claim Ruby Gillman Teenage Kraken offers an ignored cinematic classic. Nonetheless, it gives us a fairly charming and entertaining effort that deserved a better fate. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio along with a good array of bonus materials. This turns into a likable – if derivative – animated effort.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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