There has always been a gentle rivalry between Disney-Pixar and DreamWorks Animation –– it’s never hostile, but there is competition there.
While it reached its peak around the time of ‘A Bug’s Life’/’Antz’ the concept been less present in more recent releases.
Yet with DreamWorks’ new offering, ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’, it’s hard not to see it surface again, particularly with a movie that makes mermaids the main villains (surely a coincidence that Disney’s live-action interpretation of animated classic ‘The Little Mermaid’ is on its way this year… or is it a sly dig?)
Plus, the basic plot for this one gives off vibes of Pixar’s ‘Luca’ with its coming of age story of a young sea “monster” looking to fit in on the surface.
What’s the story of ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’?
Sweet, awkward 16-year-old Ruby Gillman (Lana Condor) is desperate to fit in at Oceanside High, but she mostly just feels invisible. She’s math-tutoring her skater-boy crush (Jaboukie Young-White), who only seems to admire her for her fractals, and she’s prevented from hanging out with the cool kids at the beach because her over-protective supermom (Toni Collette), has forbade Ruby from ever getting in the water.
But when she breaks her mom’s #1 rule, Ruby will discover that she is a direct descendant of the warrior Kraken queens and is destined to inherit the throne from her commanding grandmother (Jane Fonda), the Warrior Queen of the Seven Seas.
The Kraken are sworn to protect the oceans of the world against the vain, power-hungry mermaids who have been battling with the Kraken for eons. There’s one major, and immediate, problem with that: The school’s beautiful, popular new girl, Chelsea (Annie Murphy) just happens to be a mermaid. Ruby will ultimately need to embrace who she is and go big to protect those she loves most.
In addition to the main cast, the film also features Colman Domingo (as Ruby’s supportive dad, Sam Richardson as Ruby’s enthusiastic uncle and Blue Chapman as Ruby’s cool little brother. And adding to the ensemble is Liza Koshy, Will Forte, Eduardo Franco, Ramona Young, Echo Kellum and Nicole Byer.
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Who made the new movie?
‘Ruby Gillman’ comes from veteran DreamWorks Animation direct Kirk DeMicco, who has worked on movies such as ‘The Croods’, but outside the company worked on ‘Space Chimps’ and ‘Vivo’.
This film is likely a surprise to most people, as it is only surfacing now and DreamWorks has largely kept it in Davey Jones’ Locker. Even the IMDb still lists it as “in development”.
It’ll have to work to show it has fresh ideas to offer around the theme of supernatural youngster discovering the hero within themselves as metaphor for human life lessons, but the voice cast is solid and the trailer looks fun.
‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ will be in theaters on June 30th.
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‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ is produced by Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation. It is set to release in theaters on June 30th, 2023.
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