Where to stream it? Disney+
Starring: The voices of Úrsula Corberó, Luis Tosar, Eva Whittaker, Anjelica Huston, Julia Oviedo, Valentina Muhr, Jang Ye Na, Ashley Park, Lee Kyung Tae, Eugene Lee Yang, Yun Yong Sik, Daniel Dae Kim, Camille Cottin, Kaycie Chase, Rudi-James Jephcott, Daveed Diggs, Jordyn Curet, Milo Jantjie, Tumisho Masha, Cynthia Ervio
Directed by: Rodrigo Blaas, Paul Young, Gabriel Osorio, Magdalena Osinska, Park Hyeong Geun, Julien Chheng, Ishan Shukla, Leandre Thomas, Justin Ridge, Daniel Clarke, and Nadia Darries
Written by: Rodrigo Blaas, Will Collins, Jason Tammemägi, Gabriel Osorio, Antonia Herrera, Francisco Ortega, Magdalena Osinska, Holly Walsh, Barunka O'Shaughnessy, Chung Se Rang, Julien Chheng, Gabrielle D'Andrimont, Ishan Shukla, Leandre Thomas, Nadia Darries, Daniel Clarke, and Julia Smuts Louw
Intro: Star Wars: Visions Volume 2 Review
Over nineteen months since its first release of collective short films, Star Wars: Visions returns with a second volume. Whereas the first volume showcased a variety of Asian-centric storytelling through the anime form, Volume 2 is comprised of a mixture of animation techniques from studios located on other continents as well. This time around the diverse narratives focus on more than just the uncovering of kyber crystals and sometimes the stories overlap with one another.
In “Sith”, Lola's (voiced by Úrsula Corberó) narrative centers on an abstract theme of “art imitates life” by using her environment as a canvas. It is unclear as to what her path forward is, but she is resolute. Meanwhile, in “Screecher's Reach”, a protagonist who lives closer to or amongst the stars confronts psychological phantasms. These two stories are easily outdone by the volume's following narrative.
Enlivenment and Posthumanism in Star Wars: Visions
“In the Stars” is a bold tale about an indigenous people's re-connection with the stars and how they paint their stories by chronicling both their past and their future. The protagonists' fight against their colonizers is unique, demonstrating how the scarcity of a specific kind of resource can profoundly affect the colonized. This short's conclusion contains a handful of touching moments that share a similar theme of critical posthumanism with a few other entries in Visions.
The volume's longest narrative, “Journey to the Dark Head”, delivers a realist message about inevitability as a neutral facet of life. The short depicts strong imagery, symbolism, logos, and kairos that are clearer than in a previous short. There are really great juxtapositions between the shorts' different atmospheres, and in “Journey to the Dark Head”, we see a disparity in two different shots of Dolgarak's hidden temple, one which opens the episode and another upon a return to the temple.
Likewise, “The Pit” is another merit-worthy narrative about enlivenment. Its allegory for the liberation of the enslaved is akin to the Biblical story of Moses and the Israelites. Whereas in “Journey to the Dark Head”, a character asserts, “Nothing is fixed. Light and dark will always coexist”, in “The Pit”, a man tells a child, “Everyone has an inner light. No matter how dark…” These are the darker, yet more mature and meaningful episodes of Visions, teaching viewers that there is a longer-term purpose in striking a balance in life within the galaxy.
“The Spy Dancer” is an interesting short centered on performance, reminiscent of the opening scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. If we have learned anything about performance and the darkness, it is that a person will keep failing until they discover the truth. It is not necessarily that Loi'e (voiced by Camille Cottin) herself is a failure. Rather, what is excellent about this narrative is the flaw in her plan and her failure to execute it properly.
Crux (voiced by Daveed Diggs) plays a role in a powerful episode of Star Wars: Visions Volume 2. This is a character who serves as a symbol of hope, just like others in the anthology. However, what makes him stand out is his voice and how he is able to persuade others to begin a movement. Leandre Thomas's writing of this Crux's rise and fall proves to be stunning but effective, and with enough attention, this could possibly earn the series some awards nominations.
Similarly, Aau (voiced by Milo Jantjie and Dineo Du Toit) is another character whose voice is a gift. Although sort of clichéd, her voice plays an important role in her fate. She is taught, “We cannot choose where our calling takes us. Only whether or not to answer”. I feel as if her calling to a certain side of the galaxy produces better results than, say, Daal (voiced by Eva Whittaker), another character in the volume. In comparison with sisters Tichina (voiced by Julia Oviedo) and Koten (voiced by Valentina Muhr), Aau's aspiration for the stars is one that will take her out of her element.
Final Thoughts: Star Wars: Visions Volume 2 Review
In Volume 2, Star Wars: Visions continues to provide exciting animation and musical scoring, along with rich themes of focused on subjects such as classism and colonialism. Some episodes' wide shots and landscape views are truly enrapturing to gaze at. While I do favor some shorts over others, I believe that all nine are prolific in the morals they aim to convey.