Entergalactic (2022) ☆☆☆(3/4): A charming television special with lots of style

I must confess that it is a bit hard to categorize “Entergalactic”, which was released on Netflix a few days ago. According to Wikipedia, it was originally planned as a TV adult animation series which serves as a companion piece to the eighth solo album of the same name by Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, but it is eventually presented now as a TV special which may be followed by more episodes in the future. To be frank with you, I do not know whether I can regard it as a single animation feature film or not, but I can tell you right now that it is one of the better animation works I saw during this year because of many good reasons besides those fairly nice songs by Mescudi.

At the beginning, we are introduced to a young African American man named Jabari (voiced by Scott Mescudi). He is a promising artist who has just been hired by some big comic book company in New York City thanks to his bold and striking graffiti works on streets, but he is not so sure about how to develop his own original comic book series from the recurring figure in many of his graffiti works, and he instead finds himself aimlessly spending time along with his two close friends Ky (voiced by Tyrone Griffi Jr.) and Jimmy (voiced by Timothée Chalamet).

When he moves into his new apartment in Manhattan, Jabari happens to come across a young African American female photographer named Meadow (voiced by Jessica Williams), who incidentally lives right next to his new apartment. Their Meet Cute moment is pretty brief in addition to being rather awkward, but Jabari comes to meet Meadow again when he cannot sleep due to the loud noises from a night party held in Meadow’s apartment, and, what do you know, she looks quite different to him this time. As he looks at her, the whole universe seems to swirl around her right in front of his eyes, and he comes to desire and yearn for her a lot as shown from a humorously embarrassing private moment of his in the very next morning.

Anyway, Meadow comes to him in that morning for apologizing for disrupting his sleep at last night, and, what do you know, it turns out that she is also quite interested in getting close to him. As they talk more with each other at a favorite hamburger shop of hers, both of them find themselves more attracted to each other, and we soon see them seriously consulting with their respective close friends on their immediate matter of heart. They understandably hesitate a lot about whether they should take the next step, but then they instantly go for each other when they meet again, and that is the beginning of their lovely romantic relationship.

As our two young main characters fall in love with each other more and more along the story, the film often delights us with a series of stylish moments to be savored for considerable style and spirit. Clearly influenced by that bold and colorful animation style of Oscar-winning animation film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse” (2018), the film constantly fills the screen with vivid colors and details, and it also tries a bit of several different animation styles at one point to our amusement. In addition, it has some naughty fun in its broad depiction of the art industry in New York City, and I was certainly amused by one particular scene full of sexual stuffs which will tickle you for good reasons.

In case of the soundtrack of the film, several songs from Mescudi’s aforementioned album are mostly effective as organically accompanying a number of key moments in the film. In one certain scene where our two young main characters ride a bicycle together, their romantic mood is enhanced further by sensitive music as well as lively animation, and the following lovemaking scenes feel frank and tender without showing too much of, uh, their carnal details.

Of course, like many other romance flicks out there, the film becomes a bit too predictable when its two young main characters’ romance happens to be interrupted by a problem associated with Jabari’s ex-girlfriend, but it thankfully does not dwell too much on that. Yes, once our two main characters come to realize that they really love and care about each other, we surely get what was expected right from the beginning, but the eventual finale is handled well with enough wit and humor at least, and it surely helps that Mescudi and his co-star click well with each other throughout the film. I am not that familiar with his musical career, but I can tell you at least that Mescudi is fairly good in his likable voice performance, and he is complemented well by Jessica Williams, who is warm and spirited in her charming voice acting.

In case of several other main cast members of the film, they bring some extra life and personality around Mescudi and Williams. While Timothée Chalamet and Tyrone Griffin Jr. are constantly amusing as Jabari’s two dopey friends, Vanessa Hudgens has her own little fun as Meadow’s best female friend, and a number of notable performers including Christopher Abbott, Keith David, Macaulay Culkin, and Luis Guzmán are also solid in their small but colorful supporting parts.

Overall, “Entergalactic”, directed by Fletcher Moules, did a good job of imbuing its rather familiar romance tale with enough charm and personality. Although it looks rather modest on the surface, it is definitely worthwhile to watch if you are looking for something more distinctive than those passable Hollywood blockbuster animations films, and, like me, you may end up hoping for more after enjoying its many impressive moments.

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