THE YIPS, GROWLS AND HOWLING OF ADAM DICKSTEIN
Sunday, June 4, 2023
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Lower Decks and Behold
Friday, May 26, 2023
I Hope Your Hungry
Monday, May 15, 2023
Saturday, May 6, 2023
Studio: El Guiri (Madrid, Spain)
Writer/Director: Rodrigo Blaas
Writer: Director: Paul Young
Studio: Punkrobot (Santiago, Chile)
Writer/Director: Gabriel Osorio
An intriguing aspect of Volume 2 is that many of the entries seem to take place around the time of the Galactic Civil War and battle of the Rebels against the Empire. This is definitely true of this episode and yet it seems to take place in a timeless period of desperation independent of the greater Rebellion. This story occurs in that eternal dark place of struggle between indigenous peoples and greedy foreign invaders.
Director: Magdalena Osinska
As a huge Wallace and Grommit fan I was ecstatic to learn that Aardman would be participating in this new season of VISIONS. The episode itself was charming, humorous, and even a bit irreverent. I liked it very much. At the same time, I can't help but feel it wasn't as great as it could have been. I hate to feel this way but there is just something missing from the episode that could have put it over the top. I can't put my finger on what. I almost feel like they should have leaned even harder to everything that did but shortened each sequence making it all funnier and punchier.
Some of the background alien and droid designs are really cool and I wish we'd gotten to see more of them up close. Overall a positive and hard-warming short worthy of a few chuckles.
Director: Hyeong Geun Park
The entry that most resembles the first Volume in both its look and narrative is 'Journey to the Dark Head'. The art, animation, and narrative are cool but the dialogue, voice acting, and character development were a tad weak and as such the episode wasn't executed to its fullest. I would what the original Korean dub sounded like if indeed there was one.
One thing I found intriguing about this short was its setting, which seems like it could take place in canon or perhaps a bit beyond it. It postulates an interesting 'era' of the Star Wars universe, possibly one akin to the Old Republic. It could also be taking place further into the past or far into Star Wars' future (like Volume 1's 'Ninth Jedi').
Title: “The Spy Dancer” (8.5/10)
Writer/Director: Julien Chheng
'Sith' may be my favorite episode but the one that impressed me most was actually 'The Spy Dancer'. A well crafted and suitably melodramatic work of espionage fiction (Spy Opera?) that I must say felt quintessentially French.
The look of it, the characters, the plot were all engaging, exciting, melancholy, and practically perfect. The pacing was spot on and the ending just magnificent. It also feels like you get a lot of it for its runtime. Another entry to Volume 2 that I would very much like to see continue. There is definitely room for more of this story.
It doesn't hurt that the main protagonist reminded me of my friend Lynn's character, Kashpa.
Director: Ishan Shukla
It is a difficult to give a review of this one. I found myself wanting to like it more than I did and make no mistake, I thought it was interesting and quite well done. The look of it is beautiful, with a fascinating depiction of the culture of a far off planet inspired by Indian history, fashion, mythology, and architecture.
Unfortunately, the design and CGI animation are remarkably similar to the latter seasons of the Clone Wars, especially in the way they depicted some of the technology and alien species. Almost a little too much so. The villain of this one is one of the most menacing I've seen from a design standpoint but he didn't amount to being especially dangerous.
The biggest weakness of this episode for me is the young girl character. She is portrayed as either much younger and less mature than images makes her out to be or she's simply very foolish, bratty, and even dumb. Her personality and attitude made the finale feel undeserved. It was as if the dim and self-concerned were rewarded with enlightenment while the steadfast and pure-hearted is left behind, which didn't feel quite right for an Indian folktale. It just didn't work for me.
Studios: D’art Shtajio (Tokyo, Japan) and Lucasfilm Ltd. (San Francisco, California, USA)
Writer/Director/Executive Producer: LeAndre Thomas and Co-Director: Justin Ridge
My least favorite of Volume 2, this short simply didn't make a lot of sense to me. I mean I got what they were going for, what they wanted to say but too much of it is just 'Assume this all works the way we say it does, OK?'.
A lot of the episode shows how terrible the Empire is, how they don't value Human life, and how little they care about those who they used to achieve their ends. Then in one sequence a group of Stormtroopers with Blasters don't open fire on an incoming rich people attempting to free the mistreated because...unknown. None reason is given for this. The episode has a lot of that. You can't climb out of the titular Pit until...one guy can. Why? He can.
The art and animation on this one was fine, a bit underwhelming actually, but the real issue is the writing and direction. Maybe it was rushed.
Writer/Directors: Nadia Darries and Daniel Clarke
The final short is the extremely endearing 'Aau's Song', which I really liked a lot. It's just the kind of story that is very much in my wheelhouse. It doesn't have a villain, doesn't feature any battles, but it has wonderful world building, a breath-takingly beautiful setting, great character designs, and shows what can be done with the Star Wars universe without wars and stars. I mean, I love me some stellar battles but its nice to focus in on a distant world doing a neat thing every once in a while to say, "this too is Star Wars".
Another Stop Motion Animation project, this one distinguishes itself with its puppet-like figures, brilliant colors, and amazing backgrounds. I want to play a Korbian in a Star Wars game now.
Korbian? Korban? Korbaian? Oh well.
Those are my reviews, such as they are. Excited to share further thoughts and ideas brought on my this series.
See you soon,