Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken

June 30, 202340/1006 min
Starring
Jane Fonda, Sam Richardson, Toni Collette, Annie Murphy
Written by
Pam Brady (story by/ screenplay) Kirk DeMicco, Elliott DiGuiseppi, and Brian C. Brown ( screenplay)
Directed by
Kirk DeMicco and Faryn Pearl
Run Time
1h 30min
Release Date
June 30th, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary

            Being a teenager is a difficult thing to experince, I know from my time there, that it can be a lot on your plate. often, you are walking that line of trying to please your parents, while you are trying to impress your friends and look cool. For me that wasn’t a lot, but for some they are trying to hide a lot more about their life than acne. That is nothing compared to Ruby Gillman, as she is about to have a real big thing to hide that will change her life completely.

           Ruby ( Lana Condor) is just a typical teenager trying to fit in , but her family is a little different from everyone else. No, she is not from Canada , instead she, her mother, Agatha (Toni Collette), her father Arthur (Colman Domingo) , and her brother Sam (Blue Chapman) are krakens, just trying to have a normal life on dry land. Things though always get in the way of what we want. While Ruby is trying to muster the courage to ask her crush to the prom, she discovers her true potential. When the proposal goes bad and her crush is thrown into the sea, Ruby has to ignore her mom’s warnings about getting in the ocean, so she can save her crush’s life. It is in the water that she turns into a giant kraken, and while she saves his life, she also doesn’t know what is happening. It is only after she talks to her mother that she finds out the truth, and is upset that she wasn’t informed, rushes out to the sea to discover her new abilities. It is on the journey that she meets her Grandmamah (Jane Fonda) , who tells her the story on why her family is where they are at. She also learns of the kraken’s war with the mermaids, as Ruby is going to soon need all her power to save everyone she knows.

Written by Pam Brady, Kirk DeMicco, and Elliott DiGuiseppi, at its core, Teenage Kraken is a classic coming-of-age story. With that comes the usual troupe that involves the parents not understanding and in the kids eyes not letting them be who they really are. Pixar’s Turning Red treaded a lot of the same ground last year, but did it in a much better way. They both share traits passed down by the family, but that is about all they share in common. last year Turning Red used the transformations as a metaphor for gender maturity and generational conflicts, Teenage Kraken lacks such narrative ambitions. It’s used as more of a jumping off point to tell a funny light story.

               I have to say, that Teenage Kraken is not a bad movie at all, in fact it’s often enjoyable and a fun movie for the whole family. Where it disappoints is in its execution, as it settles on being just another coming-of-age story, rather than striving to be something more. It is not the worst thing to be called bland, but that is what Tennage Kraken ultimately is. Sure you can put it on in front your kids and they will love it, and while sometimes it’s ok to have a film that doesn’t say much, I like my films to challenge the viewer to think outside the box we all live in. Not everything can be a masterpiece, and while Teenage Kraken can be entertaining, it’s just too bland for my taste.

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