A Kid Cudi animated trip to remember
“Entergalactic” is a made-for-Netflix animated film with a similar quality to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” with its NYC setting and its combination of computer animation and traditional comic book animation, only the main protagonist isn’t a superhero, but a pot-smoking artist voiced by Kid Cudi.
This movie has been labeled a Netflix special, created by both Cudi and Kenya Barris, (“Black-ish”), but it’s definitely a movie, and I seriously doubt this would be labeled a series. It features a number of songs, most of which are performed by Cudi, and others feel like hallucinating trips with much more vibrant feels than “Cryptozoo.” And it features an A-list voice cast, who don’t act like cartoon voice actors, but humans with eclectic reflections on life.
Cudi voices Jabari, who has a spray paint drawing by the name of Mr. Rager, whom he’s given the opportunity to turn into a comic book character. He has a streetwear clad attire, and does drugs and booze with his buddies-Jimmy (voiced by Timothee Chalamet) and Ky (voiced by Ty Dolla $ign).
He also has gotten out of a relationship with Carmen (voiced by Laura Harrier), who tries to reel him back in her life, but sparks fly when he meets his new neighbor-a cool photographer named Meadow (voiced by Jessica Williams). While he’s turning his art into a comic, she’s sending her work to a museum. They say to their friends they’re not going to start a relationship, but who are they kidding?
Mr. Rager (voiced by Keith David) is traditionally animated in his world, almost like the soul counselors in “Soul.” He also appears in his artist’s hallucinations, and even tries and fails to strangle his co-worker Len (voiced by Arturo Castro).
I’m astonished that Richard Linklater’s “Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood” wasn’t even on Netflix’s Top 10 daily list last April, because that rotoscoped animated feature was filled with endless possibilities. “Entergalactic” also has an anime scene when Meadow’s pregnant friend (voiced by Vanessa Hudgens) scores with her date in a Japanese restaurant bathroom. And romantic segments literally send Jabari and Meadow to the stars.
Cudi, whose real name is Scott Mescudi, has had a great year at the movies, in theaters or online, with “X” and “Entergalactic.” This rapper and actor knows who to play characters and how to bring his music to life. It’s amazing that this fall, there are two movies that show us artists and their music visions coming to life. “Moonage Daydream” honored David Bowie in more ways than you know, while this one shares poetry and animation styles that the geniuses behind “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” or “Sin City” would enjoy.
Besides him, Williams puts all her human characteristics inside Meadow, who shares her passion for life and art. And she also has her questions about relationships as Jabari does. And you also get some big names in the supporting cast like Macaulay Culkin and Jaden Smith as some of Jabari’s friends, Luis Guzman as a mover, and Christopher Abbot as an art dealer. Even Cudi’s sister Maisha Mescudi voices Jabari’s sister.
Sure some trips go on a little long, but most of them are remarkable, and the characters merge well with them. Again, this shouldn’t be labeled a Netflix special, but a Netflix movie, and it better make the Top 10. Because this is original. It can’t get no more original.
Streaming on Netflix