Kid Cudi’s newest album, Entergalactic dropped this past Friday alongside the animated 93-minute feature by the same name. Surprisingly, I didn’t see any information about the music side of the project but like many others, I found the show because of the buzz around the animation (following in the footsteps of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with similar visuals).
The special stars Kid Cudi, credited as Scott Mescudi, alongside fellow rapper Ty Dolla $ign as well as actors including Vanessa Hudgens, Timothée Chalamet, Keith David, and Macaulay Culkin. The story centers around a young artist in New York City and his relationship with his new neighbour after moving into a fancy new apartment and securing a respectable job as an artist at a respectable comic book publisher.
In terms of story, Entergalactic isn’t anything particularly interesting but its regularity and depiction of the day-to-day does contribute something unique to the film. It feels relatable and lighthearted, not pushing to be something it isn’t. That being said, it does sometimes feel like Kid Cudi had a daydream (or got really high) and pulled whatever tumbled into his mind into a full-feature film (the project was originally slated as a series before evolving into a tv special). From a dialogue perspective, each character feels unique and realized, and thankfully, none of the dialogue stuck out as uncomfortable or corny.
The acting is great on all sides and the casting is surprising but perfect. Aside from Cudi voicing Jabari, none of the voice actors stood out as distractingly familiar and none of the performances ever pulled me out of the world, lending to a sense of place that the film is clearly working to establish.
On to what may be the most exciting element of the project – the animation. This is the second movie to use the semi-2D-semi-3D visuals we were introduced to with Into the Spider-Verse. The style is really unique and, in this case, really allows the movie to smoothly alternate between reality and Jabari’s thought process, which includes the reactive animations of his street art alter-ego Mr. Rager, a clear nod to Cudi’s own alter-ego of the same name. The character design is great and the locations do an excellent job of putting the story into a world that feels familiar but still a little ethereal.
My one complaint with regard to the animation would be that sometimes it feels a little stuttery. It looks great frame-by-frame but the movement doesn’t feel as smooth as it could be at all times. That being said, the matching of voice to mouth doesn’t feel like it suffers because of this.
Finally, I’m not sure whether the album is accompanying the film or vice versa (or they are a single project – the marketing and promotion didn’t do a great job of explaining it), but this is one of the best Kid Cudi projects we’ve ever had. The last few years have been disappointing for me when thinking about Cudi’s work. Man on the Moon III was a major disappointment and it felt like Cudi was moving away from what made the music unique and trying to rely on only lyrical content. A few months ago we got Dot Da Genius, which had Cudi doing some of his worst vocals all over the chorus then delivering a mediocre verse (relative to what you would expect from a star that big). To me, this indicated that he was experimenting with his singing a little and leaning more towards rap but the Entergalactic album feels like a return to the first two albums of the Man on the Moon trilogy in all the best ways. It fits so comfortably into the film that I didn’t even know it was a while separate project until researching the score. Also, the inclusion of several tracks from Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ made me excited because that might be my favourite Cudi album although it seems to be relatively unpopular with his fans.
I would definitely recommend Entergalactic for a nice, relaxed romantic story but, going into it, don’t expect anything extraordinary or mind-blowing in terms of content. The project has also been labeled by Netflix as a TV Special so I’m looking forward to any potential future episodes. I would love it if they were to lean into the anthology style like Easy or Love, Death, and Robots.
I hope you enjoyed this review and be sure to check out more of our content at ScreenHub Entertainment such as the latest of our weekly Rings of Power reviews or our exploration of Indigenous representation in Prey.