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‘Entergalactic' Review: A 'Full on Monet'

3 Stars

Scott Mescudi as Jabari and Jessica Williams as Meadow in "Entergalactic," an adult animated TV special from Netflix.
Scott Mescudi as Jabari and Jessica Williams as Meadow in "Entergalactic," an adult animated TV special from Netflix. By Courtesy of Netflix
By Marley E. Dias, Contributing Writer

Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi’s animated Netflix special “Entergalatic” chronicles the life of cartoonist Jabari (Mescudi) as he navigates love, drugs, and making a living as an artist. The special is presented as a series with five chapters with a total runtime of 92 minutes. The show’s soundtrack is performed by Mescudi, which he recently announced will be his last Kid Cudi album.

In the words of the iconic Cher Horowitz of 1995’s “Clueless,” “Entergalatic” is “a full-on Monet… It's like a painting, see. From far away, it's okay, but up close, it's a big ol' mess.”

While Mescudi creates a visually appealing and modern adult animation, its simplistic plot makes the show feel like a monotonous combination of montages backed by his original music. Ultimately, “Entergalatic” is best enjoyed as a beautiful series of moments, as its writing lacks substance.

The viewers meet Jabari at an important moment in his life. After starting his new job and meeting Meadow (Jessica Williams), Jabari spends most of the series smoking weed and debating whether or not he should date her: This lack of stakes makes the series feel aimless, as none of the characters have real arcs. From the very introduction of Meadow, it is clear that they will end up together by the end of the special.

The special is nonetheless important for its portrayal of Black love, critique of the corporatization of art, and its costume design, which draws from the work of the late Virgil Abloh. Mescudi has cited the legendary Louis Vuitton artistic director as an inspiration and consultant for the project.

This attention to detail is notable, as each character feels realized in their personal style: Jabari’s crew necks, cargo pants, and muted tones compliment his stubbornness and insecurities about starting a new job. Conversely, his two love interests Meadow (Jessica Williams) and Carmen (Laura Harrier) exist on opposite sides of the fashion spectrum — a choice that reflects their different roles in Jabari’s life. Whereas Meadow — a photographer who is Jabari’s next-door neighbor and key love interest — rocks a leather jacket and cool tones accompanied by chunky silver jewelry and locs, Jabari’s clingy ex Carmen sports a baby pink lip, an all-white loungewear set, and no jewelry.

These details help make up for what the writing lacks. As the plot slowly sputters out into the classic “will they/won’t they” arc of a romantic comedy, the costume design and set design help viewers make important inferences about the motivations of the characters. These detailed visual elements end up being the backbone of the special. For example, when supporting characters tell stories, the animation style changes to complement their style, ranging from comic book style to crayon to anime.

“Entergalactic”’s animation style is similar to that of the 2018 Academy Award-winning feature “Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse,” which uses vibrant colors that make the art feel alive. This style works particularly well for animating New York City, where both stories are set.“Entergalatic” garnered interest because of these similarities, but sadly lacks the merit plot-wise.

The unsatistyling plot is the most frustrating element of the special. Although “Entergalatic” is full of talented actors and celebrities like Timothée Chalamet, Jaden Smith and Vanessa Hudgens, the end result is not on par with the rest of their work. The names attached to this project are a huge draw for audiences, yet feel insignificant due to the unexciting story.

“Entergalactic” is the kind of Netflix movie you might put on at a kickback with a group of friends and strangers. It will make you appear tasteful and has musical breaks that allow for conversation between serious moments, but the plot is unsubstantial enough to fade into the background of a social setting. It is designed with Netflix’s signature no-rewinding, no-pausing binge watching experience in mind.

The show appeals to both the History & Literature concentrator or the hype beast next door, and Kid Cudi celebrates art, hip hop culture, skateboarding, and romance with eye-catching animation that help viewers tolerate the often disinteresting dialogue.

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