Kid Cudi’s ‘Entergalactic’ enters the list of hidden television gems

Kid Cudi releases a feature-length animated Netflix special in tandem with his new album, merging the auditory and visual experiences into one original package.

Visual of Jabari and Meadow from the “Entergalactic” trailer. (Photo courtesy of Netflix)


Visual of Jabari and Meadow from the “Entergalactic” trailer. (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Aiden Salk

“Entergalactic” may have set a new trend in creative media: a unique blend of film and music. Released on Sept. 30, Kid Cudi’s Netflix special and album of the same name are testaments to his willingness to experiment with original ideas. This bout delves into themes of romance and sticking to one’s beliefs.

Cudi’s story follows Jabari (Scott Mescudi)—a bachelor graffitist living in New York City—and his sudden romantic relationship with his next door neighbor, Meadow (Jessica Williams). This rom-com isn’t Cudi’s debut in the world of film. It follows other ventures, including roles in “Entourage” and “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” as well as his recent performance in the dark comedy flick “Don’t Look Up.”

This film’s special relationship with its soundtrack sets it apart from others. More than just timing shots of the movie to the beat of the catchy, psychedelic music, the soundtrack highlights the current emotions of the film, allowing one to truly sympathize with the characters on a level unachievable by other movies. Created especially for the film, this album put Cudi’s imagination and skill to the test.

After taking a new job as a comic book writer, Jabari moves into a “bachelor pad” in the center of NYC. On his first night trying to survive city life, he runs into his ex-girlfriend, Carmen, rekindling some old sparks. Jabari’s friends Ky and Jimmy (Ty Dolla $ign and Timothée Chalamet, respectively) tell Jabari, much to his disagreement, how his random encounter with his ex may be fate bringing them together. As Jabari leaves and bikes home, “New Mode” from the “Entergalactic” album starts playing. Despite not explicitly saying it, one can tell exactly what’s flowing through Jabari’s mind via the lyrics, pacing and genre of the song.

This unique implementation of music is abundant throughout this special. Some other tracks from the album that stood out to me in the film are “Angel” and “Willing to Trust.” These are played when Jabari encounters his neighbor, Meadow. It’s love at first sight for both of them, and most of the plot and music are about their connection, which is put under stress with the return of Carmen.

In a similar vein to “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse,” the characters of this film are fluid and pop out of the film. Yet, “Entergalactic” differs in the sense of being blockier and more three-dimensional in its animation. Words and thoughts occasionally run across the screen as they are mentioned by the characters, allowing for interesting emphasis and even a few transitions. New York is portrayed with a vaporwave-esque, colorful ambiance. The presence of the cosmos dominates the film, transpiring at just the right moments. Whether it’s during his ride home after leaving his ex’s apartment or his climactic bike ride with Meadow, the space backdrops accentuate the character(s)’ emotions. These moments resonated with me most.

There are also copious symbolic figures and representations explicitly and implicitly present that are only visible to an attentive viewer. For example, Jabari paints and writes about Mr. Rager, a key staple of Cudi’s music and the eponymous character from his second studio album “Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.” Mr. Rager’s suit changes between dark black to a “Bright, Lite, and White” color during the film, an allegory of how the single New York life has been influencing Jabari’s mind. More symbolism is noticeable after Jabari takes Meadow home one night on his bike. Meadow had been shown taking taxis before meeting Jabari and while being angry with him. A bike versus taxi dichotomy becomes present following their bike ride together. Upon rewatching the start of the special, it became evident that this theme had actually existed even before this specific scene made it apparent.

Meadow on the back of Jabari’s bicycle, riding through the cosmos. (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Overall, although the love triangle plot may be simple, the coupling of the feature-length special with the music of the album makes “Entergalactic” an unforgettable experience, just like the classic Cudi song it’s named after.  If you’re a fan of Cudi or movies in general, this film is for you.