Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken

Certificate: PG

Voices of: Lana Condor, Toni Collette, Jane Fonda, Colman Domingo

Release date: 2023

3 out of 5


An animated coming of age comedy drama that owes a debt to both Pixar’s Turning Red and Luca, this colourful adventure may not be that original but it is fun nonetheless.

The title gives it all away, of course – teenager Ruby is actually a creature of the deep, but she doesn’t know it just yet. She’s more interested in going to her prom, and doesn’t understand why her mum Agatha (Collette) doesn’t want her to go. It could be because the dance is being held on a boat, and when Ruby jumps in the water to save her crush the day before the prom and transforms into a giant kraken princess, she realises why she’s never been allowed in the water before.

The twist here is that the krakens’ job is to protect the sea from other creatures, including nasty mermaids, and Ruby’s grandmother (Fonda) is keen to teach Ruby how to use her aquatic powers. And she needs to learn fast, as the new girl in school (Annie Murphy) may not be as lovely as she seems.

Adults – and kids – who have seen film like Turning Red, Teen Wolf, The Princess Diaries and any romcom involving a high school prom will be able to predict the plot from the outset, but it all moves along merrily enough and there’s plenty of bright visuals, snappy dialogue and fun performances from the voice cast.

It’s nothing ground-breaking, perhaps, but as a summer diversion with a sweet moral centre and engaging characters, it’s definitely worth a look.

Is Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

Very young viewers may find a mermaid that transforms into a scary giant (and not very nice)  mermaid frightening. Most over-8s should be fine.

There are a couple of scenes where Ruby is in danger, and a fight scene, but they are not too intense.


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