Review by Sean Boelman
Initially envisioned as a short-form television series, the Scott Mescudi (aka Kid Cudi) and Kenya Barris-created Entergalactic is now being released as an animated special, and it’s a surprisingly excellent work of animation. A lovely, charming romance, this is the perfect culmination of all the talent involved.
The special follows a carefree, charming artist about to make his break in the industry as he has a chance meeting with his successful photographer neighbor, kicking off a whirlwind romance that he doesn’t know if he even wants. Although the title might suggest that this is a sci-fi of some sort, in reality, it’s a very grounded romance, with the title coming from the stargazing metaphors in the art world-based aspects of the story.
One of the highlights of the special is its animation, gorgeously brought to life by Fletcher Moules. The style splits the difference between something like Waking Life and Into the Spider-Verse, with realistic character design but settings and atmospheres that are impressionistic and fantastical.
Entergalactic is very much centered around vibes more than anything else, and it does a great job of creating an atmosphere that is immersive and lovely. However, this is by no means experimental animation — it has a traditional, accessible narrative that allows it to have wide audience appeal, even beyond Mescudi’s core fanbase.
Of course, the aspect of the special that most people are likely looking forward to is the soundtrack, given the involvement of Mescudi. It’s good — even if it isn’t anything particularly memorable. This isn’t a musical, the songs largely relegated to the background or being an accompaniment to a montage, and while some are catchy, they all have a generically poppy vibe to them.
Audiences will undoubtedly connect with this romance that is very low-key, if altogether straightforward. The story hits all of the expected beats, but it’s more than charming enough to overcome its genericism. The only distracting issue is that, given the fact that this was a short-form animated series turned into a single feature, the pacing is a bit uneven and rushed.
Mescudi’s lead voice performance is really solid, better than any of the acting work he has done in the past. His chemistry with Jessica Williams, who plays his love interest, is great — and she is perfect in her own role. The supporting cast is filled with big names, like Timothée Chalamet, Vanessa Hudgens, Keith David, Laura Harrier, Christopher Abbot, and more, although these are more cameos than anything else.
Entergalactic might not be the flashiest animation to come out this year, but it works in its restraint. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that Entergalactic manages to do the Richard Linklater animated film better than the actual Richard Linklater animated film to come out this year.
Entergalactic streams on Netflix beginning September 30.