Rent Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (2023)

3.0 of 5 from 64 ratings
1h 27min
Rent Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (aka Meet the Gillmans) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Dive into the turbulent waters of high school with this heartwarming action comedy about a shy 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. Learning to be an all-powerful sea creature while hiding among humans is hard enough for Ruby (voice of Lana Condor), but to make matters worse, her super popular new bestie, Chelsea (voice of Annie Murphy), is secretly a mermaid! Mermaids have been battling the krakens for eons to rule the ocean, but Chelsea has come to land to finally put an end to that conflict.
However, when Chelsea double-crosses her, Ruby will ultimately need to embrace who she is and GO BIG to protect those she loves most.
Kelly Cooney
Voiced By:
Jane Fonda, Lana Condor, Toni Collette, Colman Domingo, Blue Chapman, Will Forte, Liza Koshy, Ramona Young, Eduardo Franco, Jaboukie Young-White, Annie Murphy, Sam Richardson, Nicole Byer, Echo Kellum, Brianna Paige Arsement, Juju Green, Preston Blaine Arsement, Jordan Matter, Ricardo Hurtado, Randy Thom
Pam Brady, Brian C. Brown, Elliott DiGuiseppi
Meet the Gillmans
Anime & Animation, Children & Family
Release Date:
Run Time:
87 minutes
English Audio Description, English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.35:1
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Super Sea Girl Besties
  • Make Your Own Aquarium
  • And So Much More!

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Critic review

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (aka Meet the Gillmans) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

There’s a softened charm to Ruby Gillman that teeters somewhere between being positive allegories and playful, kid-friendly fun. It has the look and feel of an exaggerated Saturday morning cartoon, complete with noodle arms and bean mouths to fit the vibe of modern cartoons. It has solid storytelling elements tapping into womanhood, immigration, bigotry, and social castes. While not everything works to be as enduring as something like Turning Red, there is a simple sweetness to its charm that feels tailor-made for the matinee family crowd.

It helps that a lot is going on in this colorful tale. Ruby (Lana Condor) is established as a teenage girl with a lot going on. Residing with her family in a seaside town, she’s grown up knowing that her family came from the sea, which is hard to overlook with their family having blue skin and a lack of spine and bones (though their stretchiness seems to lend well to this cartoony world). Having to conceal her gills and her stretched limbs, Ruby tries to integrate into high school life and meet the human standards of normal. That seems doable since her mom, Agatha (Toni Collette), has lived a nice life as a real estate agent.

Of course, Ruby can’t quite abide by mom’s no-swimming-in-the-sea policy and discovers that she comes from a long line of Kraken. With the human stigma of Krakens being monsters that devour ships and people, it’s understandable why Agatha kept her family’s secret under wraps. Ruby comes to learn more about her powers and the politics of the underwater world. She gains some knowledge and history from her estranged grandmother (Jane Fonda), a Kraken queen, and she starts gravitating more towards a relationship with the prissy and popular mermaid Chelsea (Annie Murphy). But there’s still much to learn, and the lack of honesty may need to catastrophe under the waves and on dry land.

The animation of Ruby Gillman is unique in that it doesn’t appear as a lukewarm clone of Dreamworks’s previous films in their stable. It has a zippiness to its slapstick that is to be expected but also a free-flowing vibe to its character designs of bulbous noses, wiry limbs, and various wild hairstyles. The town has a chipper charm to its seaside vibe, and there’s a believable (if not overbearing) sensation to making this teenage minefield relatable, even for a story where the lead transforms into a giant Kraken. There are also some solid, if not predictable, voice roles from such experienced voice actors as Sam Richardson and Will Fortre providing support comedy backup.

The biggest problem with the film is that its thematic elements jump around as much as the characters. Just when it seems like there’s a solid allegory for immigration, the film shifts to the social pressures of a teenager. Before the hormone-fueled desire for love sets in, we get a womanhood story with how Ruby’s family only has the women transform into giant Kraken, which they struggle to manage and conceal. And before you can even find the queer coding in that narrative, the film’s already onto its background of a war between mermaids and Kraken.

Even with its many crowding messages and characters, Ruby Gillman Teenage Kraken still manages to pull off a cute animated tale. It’s pretty to look at, fast enough for modern kids to appreciate, and has a decent foundation of strong messages to pull from (take your pick). It’s not a must-watch film in the realm of animation, but for seeking something closer to the likes of Turning Red and Encanto, this is a decent picture to pursue next for family viewing.

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