Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken Movie's 'Woke' Complaints Explained

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken

Months after Universal and Dreamworks' Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken made its way to theaters, many are curious about complaints the film is receiving for being "woke."

Ruby Gillman first took the theatrical spotlight in June 2023, but it did not wind up being a cause for celebration for Dreamworks, becoming the lowest-grossing animated film in studio history.

Not only was it unable to compete with other animated heavy-hitters like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and The Super Mario Bros. Movie, but it also unfortunately fell victim to the "culture war" conversation that so often dominates social media.

Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken's Woke Debate Explored

Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken villain
Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken

Following Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken's debut in theaters on June 30, 2023, numerous critical reviews complained that the animated film was "woke."

This argument came after some reviewers pointed out the feminist themes that were prominent in the plot along with the fact that the main villain was a young white female rather than a POC (person of color).

Additionally, one of Ruby's friends referenced that she would take a girl to the high school prom as her date, with some complaining about LGBTQIA+ themes being pushed onto families and children.

All in all, these elements were only small and quite tame parts of Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken, with some of the complaints coming off as something of a stretch.

Following the film's release, fans shared their thoughts on X (formerly Twitter) about how tame those complaints were.

@themoviefan2004 shared an image of a thumbnail from a YouTube video complaining about "woke" movies, asking the question, "How is Ruby Gillman even woke???"

@Oscarmg8888 warned fans against calling the film "a woke flop," describing it as "possibly the most conservative kids' movie" they had ever watched:

"I better not see anyone calling 'Ruby Gillman Teenage Kraken' a 'woke flop' when it is quite possibly the most conservative kids’ movie I have ever seen"

@TheBlueStarGirl touched on both Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken and Disney's Elemental being called "woke," concluding that the term "just means anything that includes minorities:"

"The fact that 'Elemental' and 'Ruby Gillman' are both considered 'woke' because one said 'racism bad' and the other literally just has a female main character should tell you that 'woke' just means anything that includes minorities regardless of how it's 'handled'

Will "Woke" Complaints Continue to Dominate Fandoms?

Complaints about TV shows and movies becoming too "woke" only seem to be increasing in quantity these days, most recently seen with the casting decisions made for Season 4 of True Detective on HBO.

Marvel Studios has seen the same kind of complaints for the last few years, most recently coming back into the spotlight with The Marvels as it featured three female leads (two of them being POCs).

As unfortunate as it is to see this side of the fandom offer such vocal complaints, representation continues to be an important theme for all the major studios in Hollywood, especially for the 2020s and beyond.

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek even made it clear after Lightyear's release that the company wanted its content "to reflect the rich, diverse world that we live in," with that goal remaining the same across Hollywood for the foreseeable future.

Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken is now streaming on Peacock.

Read more about Universal's other recent films below:

Lisa Frankenstein Movie Online Release Date Revealed: When Will It Start Streaming?

Is Helen Hunt Returning in Twisters 2 2024 Sequel?

Wicked Movie: Who Is Elphaba? Actress & Character Details Explained

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.