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Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken is a 2023 American computer-animated action-comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Universal Pictures. It was directed by Kirk DeMicco, co-directed by Faryn Pearl, and written by Pam Brady and the writing team of Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi. The film stars the voices of Lana Condor, Toni Collette, Annie Murphy, Colman Domingo, and Jane Fonda, with Sam Richardson, Liza Koshy, Will Forte, Jaboukie Young-White, Blue Chapman, Ramona Young, and Eduardo Franco being featured in the supporting roles. The film follows a shy but kind 15-year-old girl named Ruby Gillman (Condor) who is desperate to fit in at Oceanside High, but when she went into the ocean by breaking her mother's (Collette) rule with any would-be friends, she discovers that she is a direct descendant of battle-hardened krakens who have protected the land and sea from evil mermaids for generations, and is also destined to inherit the throne from her commanding grandmother, the Warrior Queen of the Seven Seas (Fonda).

The film was first pitched to DreamWorks Animation by Brown and DiGuiseppi, and had been in the works for several years. It was announced in June 2021 as its original title Meet the Gillmans, with casting taking place to play the role and an expected release year of 2022. Paul Tibbitt came on board to direct, with Brady signing on to write with Brown and DiGuiseppi, and production was expected to start in 2022. The majority of the voice cast members were announced in March 2023, along with DeMicco replacing Tibbitt as director, as well as the official title. The film draws inspiration from Easy A (2010), Lady Bird (2017), and Booksmart (2019), and the different John Hughes films. The musical score was composed by Stephanie Economou, in addition to two original songs performed by British singer-songwriters Mimi Webb and Freya Ridings.

Plot[]

In the seaside town of Oceanside, fifteen-year-old Ruby Gillman lives with her family who are trying to fit in with humans despite being krakens. Her mother, Agatha, forbids her from going to prom because of its location being on a ship in the ocean. At Oceanside High School, Ruby originally decides not to go, but her friends Margot, Trevin, and Bliss convince her to ask out her crush, Connor. Before she can ask, Connor falls into the water because of a mishap. Ruby jumps in and saves him. Instead he believes he was saved by the new girl, Chelsea Van Der Zee, who tries to befriend Ruby. When Ruby goes to hide in the library after seeing suction cups on her fingers, she transforms into a monstrous giant kraken as a result of her touching sea water, accidentally destroying the library in the process of her transformation after being startled by the librarian. Chelsea stares in awe at Ruby's kraken form while Ruby runs to the lighthouse. Agatha finds out and chases her, reuniting with her brother Brill along the way. Agatha calms a distressed Ruby down and she shrinks down to her normal size. Back at the house, Arthur, Ruby's father, and Sam, Ruby’s little brother, find out about Ruby's transformation. Agatha tells Ruby that she also turns into a giant kraken.

Angered that Agatha never told her about what she was capable of, Ruby runs away to meet Grandmamah, the Warrior Queen of the Seven Seas, along with Brill's help. Grandmamah tells Ruby that she is a princess and next in line to take the throne. She also tells Ruby that mermaids are actually the most evil creatures in the seas and that they found a powerful trident called The Trident of Oceanus to defeat some of the krakens, and how her mother trapped them for all eternity. Ruby declines the throne but is thankful to have finally met her grandmother. But on her way home, she is trapped by elderly sailor and Oceanside's tour guide Gordon Lighthouse, who almost kills her. However, Chelsea reveals herself to be a mermaid, saves Ruby, and helps her escape, much to Gordon’s disappointment.

The next day, Ruby tries to return to her normal life, but footage of her in her Kraken form becomes viral. She ditches school with Chelsea, who tells her that her mother, the malevolent mermaid Queen Nerissa, was supposedly killed trying to get the Trident back. She asks Ruby to get it to help unite the Kraken and Mermaids, so Ruby trains with her grandmother to be powerful enough to get it. On prom night, Ruby goes to tell her mother about Chelsea. However, disappointed and outraged that Ruby made friends with a mermaid, Agatha forbids her from seeing her grandmother, leading to a frustrated Ruby running away to grab the trident for Chelsea. However, when she is able to retrieve it, Chelsea reveals that she is actually Nerissa and that she escaped her imprisonment to manipulate a Kraken into helping her claim the trident in order to exact her revenge on the Kraken Kingdom. As she takes on her true form, she traps Ruby before going to destroy Oceanside. Agatha and Grandmamah try to fight her off while Brill finds a demoralised and wounded Ruby. After he gives her some words of encouragement, she goes to the surface to stop Nerissa. Nerissa overpowers Grandmamah and Agatha but is distracted by Ruby, who engages her in a duel over the trident, revealing her secret to her friends and Connor.

Nerissa gains the upper hand, but Ruby disarms her, realising that the trident can be destroyed with enough power. Ruby attempts to reason with Nerissa to no avail, so she, Agatha, and Grandmamah use their laser eyes to destroy the trident together, defeating Nerissa and shrinking her down to her normal size, where she is captured by Gordon. Ruby reconciles with her mother, reunites with her friends and asks Connor out to prom, to which he accepts. Some time later, everyone goes back to their normal lives, with Ruby and Connor becoming a couple as she becomes the protector of Oceanside.

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