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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Without dreams, there is no future. Suggests that societies try to control or destroy animals, people, or cultures they don't understand -- and that it's better to respect them and let them exist in their own space, rather than "discover," protect, and inevitably exploit them.
Positive Role Models
Main character shows great compassion and courage by risking her own life to keep cryptids safe, works to make it possible for them to be accepted in society.
Theme is about creating a world where everyone has equality and respect. All-female team in charge of keeping cryptids safe includes a senior citizen, a strong and brave female, and a woman who's specially abled. Interracial (and interspecies) romances.
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Violence & Scariness
Guns are often brandished, sometimes ending in bloody shootings and death. Mythological creatures -- including some that are beloved -- are shot, wounded, bludgeoned to death. It's gory, although simply animated. Human characters are killed by fantastical means, including goring.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Extensive animated full-frontal male and female nudity. Orgy scene that includes both sex acts and nudity, with bodies on top of bodies. Sex between a monogamous couple, including nudity, facial expressions, and noises. Interspecies sex.
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Very strong language throughout, including "ass," "bitch," "s--t," and many uses of "f--k." "Jesus!" used as an exclamation, sometimes flanked by profanity.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke pot for a long time. Drinking in a night club.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cryptozoo is a very mature animated fantasy set in a world in which cryptids -- legendary creatures such as dragons and unicorns -- exist. It's definitely not for kids: In the first few minutes alone, a couple strips down and has sex, smokes pot, and has a very violent, gory encounter with a cryptid that children adore. There's extensive full-frontal animated nudity -- including an orgy -- and encounters with a trigger-happy army that injures and kills precious creatures. A counterculture activist speaks wistfully of his dream of "storming the Capitol" and overtaking the "pigs" who were protecting it (the story takes place in 1967, and production was completed in 2020). Characters also use very strong language ("s--t," "f--k"), drink, and smoke pot. While the movie won't be everyone's cup of tea, its message of whether or not people should capture and display creatures for educational purposes is worthy of discussion. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Comic book illustrator Dash Shaw's second film is a true original and bound to be polarizing: Many likely won't care for it, but for some, it could become a touchstone. The animation, the story, and the characters are certainly different and definitely imaginative. Colorfully and creatively assembling all of the world's legendary creatures is an idea so tantalizing that it's baffling no one has thought of it before. Why wouldn't there be a special organization focused on providing a safe home for these unique, often powered legendary creatures? (Wait, maybe this has been done before, and it was called X-Men?) Here's hoping a similarly themed, kid-appropriate tale eventually gets made -- not only does the concept seem like a natural for kids, but thinking about the ethics of zoos is a great way to inspire critical thinking -- because Cryptozoo is very much not for young ones.
While existing in pure fantasy, the harsh realities that Lauren and Phoebe encounter are more real than what we see in many TV shows and movies, such as entering seedy environments in which a special agent pretending to be a stripper has to get nude to gain information, or where everyone's favorite fantasy creature is brutally murdered by a sympathetic character. The movie's orgy scene, while roughly animated, is far more graphic than would ever be OK'd for a commercial theater. And while the main characters have warm feelings about saving and protecting cryptids, they also seem to be fine with exploiting and commercializing them to fund their care. The experience is a constant push and pull of the sensibilities, leaving viewers with vibrant images they can't get out of their head, even if they'd very much like to. Adults can decide whether this is an animated journey they want to experience, but, even if you don't like it, it's impossible not to respect it. In the world of animated films, Cryptozoo is as rare as a unicorn.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.