The constellations shone between the dark blue streaks of the black sky while the forest folded over a pair of hippies, and, no, they didn’t have to trip over their heads. That’s how the film would turn out. They were lost forever, they joked, then undressed and purred around the bonfire. Matt (voice of Michael Serra) is either a very convinced idealist, sad one, or both! – it’s clear from her husband far away, blah blah, how she dreams of storming the US Capitol (aaa!) and turning the country into a utopia.
Amber (Louise Krause) is more pragmatic and uses its leaves to cleanse sensitive areas post-coitus:
Then I hope he doesn’t itch. But it’s natural, and anything natural is significant, Matt insisted, and then he pointed out that wolves are natural and will kill you. According to Hoyle, they didn’t bother getting dressed when they found a very high fence and climbed it, and all they saw was a unicorn. “THIS IS MAGICAL!” Matt passed out, and then the unicorn pierced his horn. Being matte is annoying.
But this film is not about Matt and Amber. After World War II, Lauren Gray (Lake Bell) presents herself as a rogue adult soldier on Okinawa. A mythological creature named Baku appears, shown here as a blue and pink pig. Beasts with elephant trunks devour their nightmares and let them sleep peacefully. Since then, he has dedicated himself to saving animals like Baku from brutal black market traders. Who understand the value of animals that shouldn’t exist. Lauren frees creatures — some of which are humanoid and intelligent. We meet at the Fauna Gustav (Peter Stormare) while watching an orgiastic bacchanal. And then ushers them into a haven cryptically named Cryptozoo by its creator, Joan (Grace Zabriski).
In Cryptozoo, crocodiles, hydras, griffons and more. It’s somehow free to move around, as it’s also a place like an amusement park. Where these misfit creatures make a living, letting onlookers buy adorable mini versions to strangle some fancy stuff. You know, yeah, headless people but with faces on—chest, not scary at all – and the minotaur and the like. Joan firmly does believes that this is the best way to make the world accept cryptids.
After all, Lauren wanted her whole life to catch Baku and keep him “safe”:
As a reward for helping him years ago, he heads to Kentucky with Phoebe (Angelica Papalia). A Gorgon who disguises herself as a human, wears contact lenses to avoid immediately petrifying people, and soothes a crush when things sound precarious. And spooky of a thousand green stops in your park, F is the right place for you.
Cryptozoo is bloody, beautiful, distinctive, weird, confusing, surprising, funny, kaleidoscopic, inventive, surreal, and many other adjectives. I’d add “good” if not “great” to the list. However, the film sometimes borders on its jittery visual creativity, so insane it sounds a mix of naive astonishment and dreadful loathing. Its willingness to apologize succumbs to the stranger without apologizing. Be warned, Shaw presents horrific scenes of violence and introduces the concept of relationships and male s*xual secrets as if these are all just accepted truths of this reality.
Thematically, Shaw deals with well-known ideas about exploitation and trade. By comparing well-meaning and idealistic cryptocurrency custodians to the crypt hunters of the US government. They naturally want to use animals as weapons. It’s a bit like the old fashioned hippie versus lily tale, complicated by the feeling we feel when we’re at an orangutan exhibit at a zoo and are amazed and delighted to be so close to these fantastic animals. Still, they’re also sad that they can’t live freely in the zoo. their natural habitat. Should we protect our house cats by keeping them indoors and suppressing their natural desire to roam around the environment or allowing them to experience the joys and dangers of freedom? I don’t have an answer for that. (Maybe life finds a way?)
Although Shaw’s story can be pretty flat and transparent:
She places Lauren Gray’s character at the centre of sentimentality and logic. Even if the film never evokes our emotions, your point of view matters a lot. The story needs a mundane starting point. So we don’t get lost in the horns of exploding visual esotericism. To say the animation style is unique is an understatement. Shaw’s torn pencil drawings show little regard for traditional notions of perspective, colour, form, or speed. And the creatures are designed in such a way that one leans over a screen to examine their beauty. But then shies away from their whimsical nature. Enough wasn’t enough for Shaw, though he stopped right after too much. If Cryptozoo were any longer, I might scare our senses. You may not have seen a film like Cryptozoo before. Take it for the crazy art.