'Entergalactic' review: A treat for the senses
The lead characters fit like a glove because they’re both dreamers, retreating into their world of artistic expression or their own consciousness or both.
Published: 07th October 2022 01:35 AM | Last Updated: 07th October 2022 01:35 AM | A+A A-
Entergalactic appears as an animated television special, complimenting Kid Cudi’s album of the same name. Set in present-day Manhattan and focusing on the lives of two young artists on the cusp of success, this colourful, trippy and musical exploration of modern romance through the eyes of the universe speaks to the senses.
It tells an endearing story of unlikely love next door, with the montages of music and space meant to be an escape from the complexities of reality. Entergalactic is the sort of animated special that grows on you with its groovy, relaxed sound.
Divided into several chapters, it begins with Jabari (Kid Cudi), a graffiti artist who’s found success with a comic book deal for his popular character, The Rager. We join him as he’s about to move into his fancy new Manhattan apartment. Dressed in his favourite streetwear, he’s either on his BMX bike on the New York streets or hanging out with his three friends smoking and listening to their “worldly” advice.
A chance meeting with his ex has his boys’ crew up in arms, imploring him to stay away. His next-door neighbour, an up-and-coming photographer named Meadow (Jessica Williams), takes him to a conciliatory lunch after throwing a wild party that disrupted his sleep the previous night. She, too, is on the verge of something big, with her work about to be showcased in an exclusive Manhattan gallery.
A strong romance seems to be brewing but their reservations about getting involved with one’s neighbour are high; this, despite much advice to the contrary from his crew and her pregnant best friend.
It is an endearing tale of love made all the more engaging by its alluring visuals.
Add the right beats, melody and lyrics to its soundtrack and you have yourself a soothing vibe. This vibe takes over with the music and all the surreal shots of the characters in space. The universe montages come off as metaphors for escape when one has to take some time before important realisations, steps or decisions.
The lead characters fit like a glove because they’re both dreamers, retreating into their world of artistic expression or their own consciousness or both. While it has this relaxed and calming feel to it, Entergalactic also touches something deep in its exploration of love.
The complexity and fear of letting someone in, even someone your heart and mind believe to be right for you, is at the centre of this seemingly simple feel-good story. The animation complements the music, paying homage to New York City’s bustling streets and sidewalks, its restaurants, bars and clubs, and mainstays like the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and the inimitable subway. When these elements mesh with the intergalactic shots of the universe, you experience one heady, colourful high.
Another major theme explored is the hopes, dreams and aspirations of a diverse set of young New Yorkers. Almost every primary character is in the age group of twenty-five, and finding their feet, so to speak…not quite kids but not fully formed adults, either.
Jabari and his friends enjoy doing stunts on their cycles and smoking up in their free time while philosophising about life. Meadow and her pregnant best friend, Karina (Vanessa Hudgens), converse about sex, relationships and the dating game more often than not. Art plays a key role in Entergalactic.
Jabari has his own notions as to the origin story of his character, something in direct contrast to the ideas of the publishing house. A well-meaning colleague gives him advice about toning The Rager down, making him more popular and less raw.
Meadow warns Jabari of being careful about his character’s authenticity and that the company shouldn’t be allowed to transform it for its own monetary gains. She, in turn, exhibits a lot of anxiety ahead of her grand opening. An influential friend (introducing her to the who’s who of the art world) gives her constant encouragement about her work and the upcoming show.
It is evident she finds the outlandish parties and dinners with patrons terribly fake, but in it lies an uncomfortable lesson of playing the game to get ahead.
By training a spotlight on New York’s elite and pseudo-art scene and two original creators within it, the narrative deals with questions of young success and everything associated with the tag.
Exploring love, artistry, success, calm and complexity through a visual and musical extravaganza set against the backdrop of the Big Apple, Entergalactic ends up being a treat for the senses.
Director: Fletcher Moules
Cast: Kid Cudi, Jessica Williams, Timothée Chalamet, Tyrone Griffin Jr, Laura Harrier,
Streaming on: Netflix