Isle Of Dogs: For his next foray into stop-animation, director Wes Anderson calls upon some of his usual cast of collaborators for his Japanese inspired film, Isle of Dogs. Since his venture into the medium in 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson has worked on creating an original story inspired by dogs and Japanese cinematic masterminds Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki. Along with Roman Coppola, Kunichi Nomura and Jason Schwartzman, Anderson gives us a wildly imaginative and poignant ode to Japan and man’s best friend with Isle of Dogs.
A long standing feud between cats and dogs, along with their respective owners, plagues Megasaki City and finally comes to a head when an epidemic of a suspicious canine flu sweeps through the canine population. Eventually, an Executive Decree by Mayor Kobayashi, a typical cat person, leads to all dogs – pets and strays, being quarantined to a nearby garbage island. The first pet to be shipped off is Spots (voiced by Liev Schreiber), the security dog for the mayoral household’s young ward. As all the city’s pets are banished, infected or not, a growing movement of pro-dog forces and scientists work tirelessly to cure and return their beloved companions. In their seclusion, dogs are left to fend for themselves as they deteriorate from the canine flu. A pack of scavenging dogs led by Rex (Edward Norton) and Chief (Bryan Cranston) witness the crash of a small aircraft carrying a little pilot and mayoral ward, Atari (Koyu Rankin) who lands on the island to find his beloved dog Spots. The pack, some reluctantly, assist the little pilot in his seemingly futile search throughout the wasteland and its many dangers.
The pack of dogs is rounded out by some typical Anderson players – Bill Murray as Boss, Jeff Goldblum as Duke, and Bob Balaban as King. The rest of the film’s voices are provided by other Anderson usuals we’ve come to expect such as Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, Tilda Swinton, and F. Murray Abraham. Scarlett Johansson, Yoko Ono, Greta Gerwig, Courtney B. Vance, Kunichi Nomura, Ken Watanabe and many more also contribute their voices. As with Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson pairs his chosen voice actors well with their given characters.
As with every Wes Anderson film, the visual elements, every shot and choice in art direction, are artfully and meticulously crafted. At any given scene, you could pause this film and have a new poster quality still. Having taken inspiration from the classic holiday stop-motion films we grew up, the filmmakers behind Isle of Dogs create a movie that will attract adults for its nostalgic qualities and witty dialogue, and kids for its whimsical plot, characters and visuals. The soundtrack choices made moments more melancholic or playful. At certain times I wished I had subtitles to translate some of the Japanese dialogue, but I understand the choice in order to force the audience to infer what was going on.
What I appreciated and enjoyed the most was the careful attention to detail in replicating dogs’ mannerisms. I could see my dog Shredder in Rex’s spastic behavior. You could tell that the film was a labor of love, especially given the chosen format, and a lot of time was spent carefully replicating every move. It’s a movie that will strike a chord with dog lovers but also remind some audiences about our current political climate. Though it may not have originally set out to mirror certain aspects of our society now, some themes from Isle of Dogs highlight what we are witnessing as far as corrupt politicians and subverting the media and opponents. I will be re-watching it as soon as it’s released in theatres.
Isle Of Dogs Movie Review
|Isle Of Dogs|
|RELEASE DATE:||March 23 2018|
|AUTHOR:||Roxy de La Rosa|