MOVIE PREVIEW – Ruby Gillman is an average teenager who just wants to fit in at school. But when she discovers that she is a descendant of the legendary sea monsters, the krakens, her life turns upside down. Will she be able to protect the oceans from evil forces and find her place in the underwater world? Get ready for a hilarious action-comedy from DreamWorks Animation!
Sometimes the hero you’re meant to be lives beneath the surface. This summer, DreamWorks Animation dives into the murky waters of high school life with this wild, heart-filled animated action-comedy in which a shy teenager discovers that he’s part of the legendary royal family of the mythical sea kraken, and destined for greater things in the depths of the ocean than he ever knew. he would have dared to dream.
Kind, awkward 16-year-old Rudy Gillman is desperately trying to fit in at Oceanside High School, but mostly he just feels invisible. She tutors the skateboarding guy she has a crush on in math, but it seems the boy only admires her for her fractals; and she can’t hang out with the cool faces at the beach because her over-anxious mom has forbidden Ruby from going in the water. But when she breaks Mommy’s number one rule, Ruby discovers that she is a direct descendant of the Kraken and will inherit the throne from her no-nonsense grandmother, the Warrior Queen of the Seven Seas. Krakens have sworn to protect the world’s oceans against vain, power-hungry mermaids who have been at war with Krakens since ancient times. There is only one big and immediate problem to overcome: the beautiful and popular new girl at school, Chelsea, happens to be a mermaid… So Ruby must accept herself and bring her best form to protect her loved ones.
Unleash the host inside you
The ocean is a mysterious world – people on land have only a vague idea of it. This world and the fantastic creatures that live in the depths of the waves have long excited the imagination of Oscar® nominee Kirk DeMicco. In his fourth animated feature, Ruby Gillman, teen kraken, DeMicco draws on the finest traditions of folklore and myth to tell a compelling story about a not-quite-ordinary teen who learns a startling truth about herself and her origins¸ and unleashes the hero within.
“As a filmmaker, I’ve always strived to tell stories that defy expectations,” says DeMicco. – In the case of Ruby Gillman, teen kraken, I was most interested in what I could get out of the mythology of krakens and mermaids in this sense. According to tradition, the kraken is a giant sea monster that must be avoided at all costs. In our film, I wanted to exploit the idea that krakens are actually invincible and well-intentioned protectors of the seas. Similarly, I wanted to turn the usual image of mermaids on its head, creating a much more complex and detailed mythology that will surprise the audience because it was not what they expected.”
The result is a visually stunning, emotionally gripping, very funny and very wet coming-of-age story about a teenage girl who finds her place in the world and learns more in the process than she ever dreamed of. “At DreamWorks Animation, it’s a long-standing comedy tradition to reinterpret the heroic adventures of heroes: this is what we did with the ogre who saves the princess, the panda who becomes a warrior, and the progressive Viking teenager and his wounded dragon who change the fate of their loved ones,” says Margie Cohn, president of DreamWorks Animation. . “Ruby Gillman opens a new chapter in this tradition: we have a teenage girl with extraordinary abilities.”
Ruby set out for the canvas more than three years ago. The creators initially focused on the things worn by the Gillman family, but then they decided that the young heroine should be placed at the center of mythologically inspired adventures. “When you work with mythological creatures, you are not bound by the laws of the real world,” explains DeMicco. – You can let your imagination run wild and create completely unique creatures. But more importantly, mythological creatures allow us to say fundamental truths about questions of existence. For example, about our fear of the unknown, or how we struggle to find our place in the world – these creatures help unfold the answers to these questions, and in a memorable way.”
Producer Kelly Cooney Cilella joined the project back in 2019, early in development, and was impressed by how cleverly the story reinterprets the ancient myth, while also focusing on family togetherness. “The comedy concept is very original from the start: the kraken-mermaid confrontation, which the audience may have certain preconceptions about, is well wrapped and placed in a high school setting,” explains the producer. “But what really got me into this story is the mother-daughter-grandmother relationship and its development during the plot.”
DeMicco and Cooney Cilella tapped Faryn Pearl, who originally joined the production as a story writer, to co-direct. “Faryn is a lot like Ruby,” says Cooney Cilella. – His humor is incredibly mischievous, which fits the style of the film perfectly. In addition, he brought such deep emotions to the story, with which our story can really soar.”
Ruby Gillman, teen kraken beautifully balances character-driven comedy with serious family film, exploring themes such as self-identity, family responsibility, love and honest acceptance. At the beginning of the film, Ruby is a charmingly clumsy, self-confident 16-year-old who either spends her time with her close circle of friends or tutors her secret crush, Connor, in math. He wants to dance with her at the prom – despite the fact that this custom stems from the patriarchal tradition of the continent’s colonizers – but his mother, Agatha, forbids him to go to the event, which is considered a defining event in the life of every teenager. The prom is held on a boat, and Agatha insists on one thing at all costs: Ruby can’t go near the water. This wouldn’t be a problem if they didn’t live right on the Oceanfront, where romanticizing on the pier is of course the number one pastime.
Ruby is the world champion of conflict avoidance, she always obeys her mother, but this trend is overshadowed by an event: the invitation to the prom goes wrong, Connor falls into the water, and Ruby has to jump after him to save him. Much to Ruby’s surprise, he transforms underwater into a huge kraken. He realizes that his mother hasn’t told him everything about their family, so he sets out to find out exactly who she really is. As a result of his research, to his loss, he befriends Chelsea, who has her own secret plan, and also finds her grandmother, Queen Kraken, blessed with a grandiose personality, whose only desire is for Ruby to take her place on the throne. But before she can become queen, Ruby has a lot to learn. You have to rise above the constant self-deprecation, you have to love and accept yourself, completely regardless of who or what you are. This is the only way you can become the true hero you were created to be.
The visual and the animation
The visuals of Ruby Gillman, the teen crab, have been dreamed up so that every moment of it is eye-catching and awe-inspiring. The creators of the film asked visual designer Pierre-Olivier Vincent (How to Train Your Dragon, Elvitte a vyzur), a long-time employee of DreamWorks, to the task.
The visual team thought in loud, vibrant colors, broad gestures and a large scale. They tried to make the view of Ocean Beach and Water World a dazzling experience, so they used a kaleidoscopic style.
The octopus was the main source of inspiration, which is why every element in the film is winding, round and fluid, from objects such as cars and refrigerators to the characters themselves.
According to co-director Faryn Pearl, the city of Oceanside resembles an amusement park. “There is a lot of emphasis on the pipes, everything is permeated by the sea view, it’s a water dream world. Oceanside is almost tangible, as if it was made by hand, sometimes you have the impression that you are watching a film made with stop-motion technique.”
The Gillmans live next to the city harbor, their house is full of things that remind them of their previous underwater life. The interior of the house is resplendent in ocean blue and other cool colors; Ruby’s room is located in a tower that resembles an old lighthouse. “That’s typical of a lot of people who live in exile — they try to create an environment around them that reminds them of their cultural origins, and that’s the ocean for the Gillmans,” explains Vincent.
The biggest attraction of the underwater world is Grandma’s Kraken Castle, where there is not a single straight line. The luxurious setting was designed by Vincent to be worthy of the Queen of the Seven Seas, all glass and green nephrite that shimmers beautifully in the light. “It’s a celebrated center of power,” asserts Vincent.
The visual designer wanted the castle to radiate an ancient atmosphere, but at the same time it had to meet the expectations of a modern teenage girl. “We wanted to avoid it being depressingly old-fashioned when Ruby moves into the kraken world, because then she wouldn’t want to live there,” explains the visual designer.
When it comes to character movement, krakens maneuver differently on land than humans. Animation manager Carlos Fernandez Puertolas drew inspiration from the movement of octopuses gliding in the water, and he was also given important clues by the work of Max Fleisher, who, for example, dreamed Popeye into an animated character – this is how the Gillmans’ bodies became very flexible and flexible.
In contrast to them, the human characters in the story have become as rigid and angular as can be imagined. “Behind closed doors, the Gillmans move with a gentle undulation, but once they leave the house, they’re not much different from humans,” says Pearl. “However, in the world of straight lines, Ruby’s twisting movement immediately draws attention to her.”
Each giant crab has a completely unique look, and despite their huge size, they glide through the water with breathtaking charm and elegance. “They are like giant kaiju characters, but they move like ballet dancers, whose every gesture is carefully choreographed.
(The kaiju is a genre of Japanese monster movies, in which Godzilla, Mothra and their friends destroy entire cities. Hollywood has been producing similar movies for a long time, recently Ring of Fire or Godzilla vs. Kong have been a great success. – the ford.)