Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Review: "Cryptozoo"


"Cryptozoo" feels like a throwback to the late 1970s or early '80s -- an animated movie that is very much adult in tone and content, presenting a story that is both fanciful and cutting. There's lots of violence and nudity, though leavened with an environmental/moral message, making the whole enterprise seem like a more enlightened version of "Heavy Metal."

The story, set in the late 1960s, is about the world hiding multitudes of cryptids, or mythological creatures, that various factions of humanity want to exploit or help. Some of the cryptids are dangerous and beastly, others very human-like and intelligent. They're constantly in danger of being discovered, captured and sold into servitude.

There are mammoth scorpions, tiny imp-like critters, a South American snake as big as a skyscraper, figures with no head but a face on their torso, unicorns, pegasi, dragons and cryptids that are just dancing balls of light.

The film features voices by some name actors including Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Zoe Kazan and Peter Stormare. Written and directed by Dash Shaw, it features an animation team led by Jane Samborski. At first glance, the animation (largely hand-drawn, I believe) may seem to lack the sharpness and polish of what we've become used to, possibly even bordering an amateurish.

Read the rest on Substack!

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