Successful animator Richard Williams—you probably know his work best from Who Framed Roger Rabbit—wanted to make a film that would elevate the art of animation to the next level. After nearly three decades of continuous work, that film was never finished. Filmmaker Kevin Schreck tells the story of the project through a series of interviews with animators who worked on the film over its long life, with one notable exception: Williams, presumably heartbroken over the death of the movie he openly referred to as his masterpiece, refused to be interviewed for the documentary.
Vision doesn’t get too maudlin, and it doesn’t glorify its subject, either. While Williams is portrayed as a genius—and plenty of examples of his commercial and artistic work pepper the documentary to support that claim—he’s also a difficult man to work with, seemingly willing to sacrifice an unending supply of his workers in the name of perfection. The real star of Vision is the collection of clips from Williams’s doomed project, which really are beautiful and unlike anything you’ve ever seen in an animated film: a clever blend of optical illusions, formal constraints, and pure, unfettered talent. Vision documents a sad chapter in movie history, but it leaves you glad that, at least, someone finally managed to tell the story behind the story.