Most Enchanting Sci-Fi Movie of 2021 Reveals Enduring Scientific Debate


Visit almost any big zoo and you’ll see witnesses to the standard menagerie: lions, tigers and bears, insects, monkeys – maybe a seal or two.

Visit the International Cryptozoology Museum In Portland, Maine, you’ll find museum exhibits like hair samples from abominable Snowmen and Bigfoots, feces from a little yeti, and a letter written by actor Jimmy Stewart.

But what if a real Did “cryptozoo” exist? The answer might sound a lot like animator Dash Shaw’s bizarre new movie Cryptozoo, in which a group of conservation-conscious humans opens a zoo filled with mythological creatures like gorgons, griffins, dryads, tengu, luz mala, manticores and a tarascan.

They are the creatures of myth and legend. But then again, the film stars Shaw – an animated adult drama that premiered at Sundance in january – might be more real to some than we are ready to admit.

“I met a woman in the Czech Republic who said that she had seen some of the mythological beings in my film in real life,” says Shaw. Reverse. “They looked like the way they appeared in our movie, but they were semi-transparent in real life and not as solid.”

She may be telling the truth. She might think she’s telling the truth. Or it could be full of hokum. Thanks to null hypothesis (basically: you can’t say something doesn’t exist if there’s no evidence to say it), there’s no way to prove that she or any of the many other cryptid believers are wrong.

Either way, cryptids – animals some believe to exist despite a lack of evidence – are on full display in Cryptozoo. The film sidesteps the whole question of whether these creatures exist and instead focuses on what should be dealt with. In the process, this wild new film sheds light on a decades-long debate in the real-life cryptozoology scene.

In Cryptozoo, Lauren (voiced by Lake Bell), travels the world in search of cryptids she collects for the zoo’s idealistic founder, Joan (Grace Zabriskie). Joan’s concept is simple – it’s in the name. The Cryptozoo is a refuge where various creatures can live under the protection and care of Lauren and Joan. But care comes at a cost.

The Cryptozoo needs paying customers, which means it’s a business first and a sanctuary second. Ideals, as well as the preservation of creatures, are easily compromised when money is needed to keep the lights on. This lively cryptozoo is certainly not a vast reserve of game, but it is not King tiger That is.

Lauren and her partner in animal liberation, Phoebe (Angeliki Papoulia), disagree over the Cryptozoo’s purpose. To Phoebe, the place feels like a mall instead of a haven. For Lauren, the garish and loud setup is a necessary evil to make sure the zoo stays open, because if it doesn’t, what good is it?

For Loren Coleman, American cryptozoologist and the founder and director of the International Cryptozoology Museum (the one in Maine and the only one of its kind), it’s a complicated question.

“It’s a big debate that has raged in cryptozoology, at least since the 1930s,” Coleman said. Reverse.

The burning question was whether or not to kill the cryptids. As time passed and ecological conservation movements took hold, this question faded and gave way to new concerns.

“A friend of mine, Mark Hall, actually coined the word telebiology“says Coleman. It’s” where you would capture a sasquatch, say, for example, and you would take blood samples or photographs, measurements, all kinds of things, keep it in a stash, then let it go. – capture and release. “

There is a certain surreality to this discussion, which is appropriate given that CryptozooThe surprisingly crude art gives the film a psychedelic quality all its own. Cryptozoology is both a real field of study and a pseudoscience, focusing on topics that are treated by most as hoaxes perpetrated by crooks and senseless weirdos.

But for the cryptozoologist, any animal is technically a cryptid until it is discovered. History is full of cryptids becoming non-cryptids: Komodo dragons, giant squids, and even mountain gorillas. If Mother Nature can produce such awkward and frightening creatures as the duck-billed platypus, then maybe anything is possible.

The giant squid was a cryptid, until it wasn’t.ilbusca / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images

In Cryptozoo, Shaw’s protagonists fall in the middle of the spectrum Coleman describes: they’re certainly not the “kill” type and they’re not what he calls “bigfoot contactees.” These are people who, in Coleman’s words, “would never share with any scientist where these creatures live” if they managed to locate one. Bigfoot contactees seek encounters with Cryptids, but their ultimate goal is to prevent anyone from finding them and harming or catching them.

Linda S. Godfrey, journalist, investigator and author of 18 books on supernatural and paranormal subjects, including Haunted Wisconsin, Real wolves, and I know what i saw – is familiar with contactee psychology.

“It’s hard not to get addicted to going for these things.”Courtesy of Linda Godfrey

“It’s hard not to get addicted to the idea of ​​going for these things,” Godfrey says. “A nice side effect of being able to hike and camping, and having that experience with nature and the outdoors, is that you would hopefully see the creatures in their natural habitat and not locked up in zoos. or places that wouldn’t really be nice to them.

For the person Godfrey and Coleman describe, the only way to see a cryptid is in the world, not behind glass barriers. A Cryptozoo would be anathema to a contactee.

However, the other side of the contactee’s behavior is not particularly benevolent.

“I wouldn’t want the first bigfoot to end up at the Saint Louis Zoo.”Magnolia Pictures

While Coleman is resistant to the “kill and capture” approach, he favors verification because “verification is a means of preserving and retaining people.”

Denying science knowledge of the existence of a cryptid does not really protect it against, say, hunters, or in the case of Cryptozoo, Nick (Thomas Jay Ryan). The diametrical opposite of Lauren, Nick is a Belloq figure of speech who stalks Lauren in an attempt to steal her finds on behalf of the US military.

Cataloging cryptids in the scientific canon would better isolate them from the patterns of men like Nick, while still allowing them to roam freely in their own environment. There is no need for a Cryptozoo if the cryptids can be properly verified.

This conflict between defending cryptids against harmful interests and treating them as commodities is embedded in Cryptozoo. But point a gun at filmmaker Shaw’s head and demand that he unveil the allegory of the film, and he’ll tell you it’s all about imagination and radical ideas.

“Often in the good intentions of presenting radical ideas to the general public, something about those ideas is damaged,” says Shaw. “If ideas flow freely, they could damage each other. There is a chaotic, possibly dangerous world to free the imagination.

Imagination, just like dragons and centaurs, should not be confined.

Shaw and Cryptozoo to side with the “wild” imagination. The imagination, much like dragons and centaurs, should not be confined. The film echoes that of Steven Spielberg jurassic park arguing that there is no value in putting such creatures in captivity because, in the end, the whole business is going to collapse anyway.

“Nature has a way,” Coleman jokes, “but humans have a way to mess it up.”

He points out that he is not a crypto-evangelist. Coleman isn’t against capturing cryptids for study, but he’s not in favor of keeping them in zoos forever.

“I wouldn’t want the first bigfoot to end up at the Saint Louis Zoo or anything like that,” Coleman said.

He points out that some of the first giant pandas were taken to zoos immediately after their discovery. It was only years later that China came up with the idea of ​​moving them to breeding centers in wilderness reserves.

These concerns are all found in Cryptozoo, but the conclusions drawn after chewing it are due to the beholder. Coleman sees merit in a broader concept of captivity, where cryptids can live unbound under watchful eyes. Shaw believes that cryptids, like human creativity, shouldn’t have borders. The film, of course, argues that efforts like the cryptozoo in Cryptozoo would end in chaos.

For Godfrey, it doesn’t matter whether such an establishment is moral or ethical. She believes that a cryptid zoo wouldn’t actually help humans understand these creatures or give us the answers to the questions their existence raises.

“What are these things?” she asks. “Are they creatures from another dimension? Are they spirit animals of the Earth? “

We’ll never know. We could try anyway. But we’ll learn as much about cryptids in zoos as we do about rainbows.

Cryptozoo is in theaters and available for rental online.


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