Outside all its faults, Netflix is really a fantastic place to display some of the weirdest and craziest stuff in the realm of fiction. The streaming service is so big that you will basically get the chance to be watched by millions around the world if you get your movie or TV show on the platform. Netflix is a platform that not only allows for the distribution of your favorite movies and TV shows but also for the distribution of projects that are a bit more experimental. Entergalactic is exactly that, a project that fuses music with animation and creates a wonderful viewing experience.
The Music Television Special is directed by Fletcher Moules and written by Ian Edelman and Maurice Williams. The special tells the story of Jabari and Meadow, two black artists living in the city of New York who meet and fall in love with one another. The series is what we could call a visual album, as it serves as a visual companion to the album of the same name released by the artist Kid Cudi. The special uses songs from the album and basically helps to tell the story that the album tells, but in a more concrete and visual form.
Visual albums are nothing new, Beyond and Daft Punk have done it before with great success, but Entergalactic feels a bit more special because it actually tells a single narrative. One that can be followed without the necessity to listen to the record outside the TV Special or to see it as any sort of unique project that can only be enjoyed by a few. Entergalactic is a proper film, and it can be enjoyed as such.
The first thing you will notice is that Entergalactic has a very similar visual style to the movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. This type of animation style is quite striking, and it was used in a very effective way during the creation of that movie. However, Entergalactic proves that the style can be used for more things than just big action and superhero storytelling. Entergalactic trusts its audience and tells a very adult story of love and the things that falling in love brings to your life, both good and bad.
The main strength of the music special is its storytelling. The characters feel very real, and the conversations flow with amazing ease. You really feel like Jabari and Meadow could be people that you know in real life. It is really fantastic to see how animation is finally catching up to what Anime has been doing for decades in Japan. Animation doesn’t have to mean that it is aimed only at kids. It can also say things and tell stories that are aimed at adults. Animation is a tool that allows you to do things that could not be done in live action, and more filmmakers should learn to use it.
Music is another very important component of the TV Special. Each song tells a story, and then that story is translated into the narrative that you see unfolding on the screen. The songs are a mix of hip-hop and R&B. It will be different for everyone. Music taste is something that is very personal, so if the music is good or not, it is really hard to tell. In my opinion, there are some excellent pieces here, but the songs are quickly overshadowed by the story and the characters.
The animation is fabulous, although it is clear that it isn’t as fluid as something like Spider-Verse. It could be a consequence of not having enough money to animate those extra frames. Maybe the reason was the time allowed for the production to be executed, or maybe it was just a creative decision. But while the Spider-Verse universe used a similar technique, the animation in the movie feels way more fluid than here. It isn’t bad, but it is definitely something that jumps out right away when you start watching.
Because animation can produce some wonderful results, the TV Special is filled with gorgeous backgrounds and amazing transitions. The pacing is also very good and with a runtime of just over 90 minutes, Entergalactic never overstays its welcome. You can sit down and relax as you watch the story unfold. If there is something that will definitely disappoint some people, it is that this is it. The TV special is all that we can see about these characters. I’m sure some people will want an entire series exploring New York with Jabari, Meadow, and their friends.
Entergalactic is a fantastic, successful experiment. The TV Special fusions a solid concept album and takes the lyrics and the sounds and translates them into a set of images, and that is really amazing to watch. The story is quite entertaining and full of emotion. By the end of Entergalactic you will really feel as if you have watched something special.