My first animated feature from this years Sundance, ‘Cryptozoo’ stars Lake Bell as a Cryptozookeeper Lauren Gray, dedicating her life to rescuing these human animal hybrids and providing a sanctuary in the form of a zoo. The zoo is meant to introduce an unforgiving and quick to judge world to these creatures, to show they are harmless and beautiful. When Lauren is finally close to rescuing a Baku, a dream-eating creature, she begins to consider maybe these animals need to be hidden from the world instead of acclimated to it.
The film delves into what it means to be different, the social norms and what people tolerate and don’t based on what they know vs what’s unfamiliar. The concept is similar to last years ‘Wolfwalkers’, and while both films have powerful performances from their voice actors, ‘Cryptozoo’ seems to be missing the heart and focuses on the abstract imagery more than story.
‘Cryptozoo’ has an extreme animation style that you will either be able to appreciate or feel like you have been sold an acid trip instead of a movie. There are some scenes that intentionally look unfinished, and the panning in scenes feel like you are watching the idle screen on your Roku, but with more choppiness. Michael Cera getting top billing credits is kinda laughable, as he is only in it for the first few minutes. Lake Bell does a really good job and carries the film.
Overall, I don’t think I’ll be revisiting this anytime soon. The animation was not for me, and the story didn’t delve deep enough in it’s characters and world for me to recommend.