Review: Cryptozoo is lively mayhem for the indie movie crowd


Cryptozoo keepers attempt to capture a Baku, a legendary dream-eating hybrid creature, in Cryptozoo.

Courtesy of Mongrel Media

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  • Cryptozoo
  • Written and directed by Dash Shaw
  • With the voices of Lake Bell, Michael Cera and Alex Karpovsky
  • Classification R; 95 minutes
  • Available on application, including TIFF Digital Lightbox, from August 20

Animation for adults is a difficult genre to master. Although, I guess the existence of Adult Swim, Cartoon Network’s mature, focused programming block that spawned a genre in its own right, proves that there is a booming market and a multitude of talent in mind. gonzo. If the words “Adult Swim” are completely new to you, you probably won’t get much out of it. Cryptozoo, the endless comedy / fantasy / drama from writer-director Dash Shaw starring all manner of animated mayhem.

CryptoZoo keepers are starting to wonder if they should show these beasts or keep them hidden and unknown.

Courtesy of Mongrel Media

After making its Sundance Film Festival debut last January, Shaw’s film gained acclaim for its defiantly hand-drawn animation, particularly striking in the cartoon age of all time. But its narrative substance – a plot involving mythical creatures, evil game hunters, and kind-hearted scientists hoping to preserve the natural order – felt like a Sundance indie prototypical filled with fantasy steroids.

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There is a certain charm to Shaw’s tongue-in-cheek comedy – and I really enjoyed what I can only assume was an intentional reminder of Michael Cera’s fate in 2013. It is the end – but a visit to Cryptozoo was enough for me.

In the interest of consistency across all critical critics, The Globe has removed its star rating system in film and theater to align with the coverage of music, books, visual arts and dance. Instead, Works of Excellence will be noted with a Critics’ Choice designation throughout the cover.


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