Kid Cudi’s career has made him an influential mainstay for millennials and his work as a solo artist has made him incredibly valuable to the music industry, despite the controversies he’s held with bigger stars like Kanye. However, his music has allowed him to transition between the music and film worlds as he has been involved with shows and movies, though mostly through collaborations with other film producers and directors. Through Entergalactic, Kid Cudi’s creativeness and expressionism is fully injected into this special narrative that utilizes the themes of love to create an amazing visual and auditory experience.
Adapted as a television special from Kid Cudi’s album of the same name, Entergalactic follows the life of Jabari (Kid Cudi), a street artist who finds success after his work gets noticed and published. After running into his next door neighbor, Meadow (Jessica Williams), the two begin a journey into a relationship that could change their lives. However, with Jabari’s new job and returning exes, Jabari must decide whether or not he could maintain his newfound relationship with someone he could relate to and enjoy life with. Entergalactic also stars Timothée Chalamet, Tyrone Griffin Jr. aka “Ty Dolla Sign”, Laura Harrier, and Vanessa Hudgens.
As a visual and auditory experience, Entergalactic manages to knock it out of the ball park. Utilizing a combination of street and graffiti art with an oversaturated color scheme and look a la Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, this Netflix special manages to create the life within New York City while creating an independent tone for this movie’s story. As this story follows the growth between Jabari and Meadow, the color palette manages to add on to the mood of those scenes, from the mix of neon lights in the club to the dark purple and blue hues of sensual closeness to the grey and pale clouds of sadness and separation. As said by Nadia (Daniella Balbuena), “People equate New York with gray and darkness when the city’s mad colorful. Like even the people are so colorful.” This movie successfully gives life to its characters and its world through its visuals and the auditory aspects of this movie give this movie that edge of modernity.
In addition to its visuals, this movie relies heavily on Kid Cudi’s soundtrack for that musical support in specific scenes. There’s this one sequence in the middle of the movie following the art exhibition Jabari and Meadow accidentally meet at and this happens to be a turning point in the duo’s relationship. The winding and twisting trail under Jabari’s bike as the two travel into “unknown territory” spirals into this reflection of New York through the perspective of space mixed with this feeling of wonder. As Cudi’s In Love plays in the background, the two spin in a dance of excitement as they both know that this is where they want to be together: in this eternal embracement of love. The music here definitely compliments what this sequence wants to achieve through the a special lens of reality.
However, while the animated visuals and story around this movie are amazing, the flow of the story feels cliché since it does feel like your usual run-of-the-mill love story. You have that beginning awkwardness between the main characters, their growing progression through montages, and the supposed love triangle to create a problem in the third act. You also have the group of supportive friends who know that you really want to get into that relationship, and even though the dialogue has that touch of realism, this movie seems to take a safe route rather than pushing what it can do. However, I can commend the movie by having that addition of stress between different aspects of life as seen from Jabari’s perspective, but Meadow’s growth is relegated to the second half of this movie. I would’ve loved to see both of these characters fully developed so it could have that emotional resonation.
Though not as big of a problem as the main story itself, the movie’s tackling of the social issues it presents are good for the most part, but have a sense of directness. There’s this one scene before Jabari is formally introduced to Meadow where he’s approached by a near-drunken Reed (Christopher Abbott) who takes Jabari for someone who’s about to make trouble until Meadow stops the two. There’s another scene where Jabari’s co-worker, Len (Arturo Castro), wants to make a good impression on Jabari’s first day at his new job by explaining the two’s contribution to the company’s diverseness despite Jabari’s disinterest in Len. Having this directness, the movie feels like it wants to tackle other subjects on top of its love story, but doesn’t have the time until their respective conclusions to do so. And even then, there is still this feeling of inconclusiveness from scenes like these in particular, but some other scenes, like Jabari and Ky at the art exhibition, make their ideas clear.
Nonetheless, Entergalactic manages to be creative visual and auditory experience that Kid Cudi successfully derives from his own work as a music artist. Even though the narrative of this movie follows the foundations of your usual love story, there is some substance within this special that does a great job reflecting the life and passion of these urban communities. With a little more depth and interpretation of the ideas and topics it wants to cover, Entergalactic may have been one of Netflix’s best animated specials.
Entergalactic is available to stream on Netflix.