‘Star Wars: Visions’ review: Disney+ brings George Lucas’ galaxy full circle in striking anime shorts

Working 13 to 22 minutes, the shorts characterize Lucasfilm’s first foray into anime, working with seven totally different studios. The various auspices rapidly change into evident, with every using distinct animation types and principally authentic characters, though just a few acquainted faces from the fringes of the “Star Wars” universe — reminiscent of a notoriously heavy Hutt — do present up infrequently.

The movies do not have to be watched in any specific order, however the first entry, “The Duel,” properly encapsulates what these tasks obtain, evoking the texture of Kurosawa’s “The Seven Samurai,” and economically telling a narrative with valuable little dialogue, vibrant visuals and a complete lot of motion. On this case, there is a mysterious warrior wielding a lightsaber who involves the protection of a village descended upon by bandits, though the twists thereafter supply just a few fairly vital surprises.

One other, “Tatooine Rhapsody,” presents a extra cartoonish and comical take a few musical band hoping for its huge break, whereas in “The Elder,” a stoic Jedi and his keen padawan sq. off towards a shadowy determine with extraordinary abilities.

The cinematic connections could be misplaced on youthful youngsters, and the tales lack connections to main “Star Wars” characters; nonetheless, they seize its tone and epic qualities — consider it as “Tales of the Jedi and the Sith” — whereas establishing distinctive appears and voices, in a manner that is distinctive from animated efforts like “Rebels” and The Clone Wars,” which supplied the muse for “The Mandalorian” and have offered among the greatest “Star Wars” tales for the reason that authentic trilogy.
When “The Power Awakens” opened in 2015, Lucas grumbled about Disney’s aggressive enlargement plans for his creation after buying Lucasfilm, earlier than walking back those remarks.

Disney’s transfer into streaming has solely fueled the studio’s urge for food for extra “Star Wars” content material, which makes such offshoots inevitable. Fortunately, “Star Wars: Visions” does certainly current distinctive and intriguing visions, indicating there’s loads of room to experiment with the model — on this case, in a manner that even ol’ George ought to respect.

“Star Wars: Visions” premieres Sept. 22 on Disney+.

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