“Cryptozoo” broke out of the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year as one of the most innovative animated features of the year. Animator turned director Dash Shaw (“My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea”) builds a psychedelic world like you’ve never seen, envisioning hallucinatory creatures and casting voice talents Lake Bell, Zoe Kazan, Michael Cera, Louisa Krause, Peter Stormare, Thomas Jay Ryan, and Grace Zabriskie. Watch the exclusive official trailer for the film below.
A moving collage of rich, hand-drawn animation, where nearly every frame is a visual stunner, the film follows “cryptozookeepers through a richly drawn hallucinatory world as they struggle to capture a baku (a legendary dream-eating hybrid creature) and begin to wonder if they should display these rare beasts in the confines of a zoo, or if these mythical creatures should remain hidden and unknown,” according to the synopsis.
IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote that “Cryptozoo” is “a total joy to immerse in Shaw’s expansive look at conflicting worldviews and environmentalist feats, bound together in a delightful consolidation of storytelling conventions that suggests ‘Yellow Submarine’ by way of ‘Jurassic Park,’ with a dose of ‘Tomb Raider’ for good measure. It’s an overwhelming combination loaded with giddy, infectious creativity at every turn. Four years after his John Hughes-inspired teen disaster movie ‘My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea,’ Shaw has cemented his place as one of the most exciting new voices in animation.”
Also releasing August 13, just a week ahead of the film, is the movie’s original soundtrack by acclaimed composer John Carroll Kirby, previously a collaborator with Solange, Harry Styles, and Frank Ocean. The soundtrack melds sounds from New Age, exotica, library music, and electronic music. You can listen to “Phoebe’s Theme” from the soundtrack on Spotify ahead of the release. A vinyl edition of the soundtrack will follow.
For “Cryptozoo,” Dash Shaw won the Special Mention in the Generation 14plus section of the Berlin Film Festival this year, and before that, took the NEXT Innovator Award at Sundance.
Magnolia Pictures releases “Cryptozoo” everywhere on August 20.