Quirky director Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Fantastic Mr. Fox) returns with his latest and it’s a return to the stop motion animation we saw him do with The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
The Isle Of Dogs sees Atari, Koyu Rankin (Juken (Short), The Mojo Stars (Short)), head to Trash Island where all of Japans dogs have been sent as a form of quarantine.
Atari is searching for his own dog Spots, Live Schreiber (The 5th Wave, Spotlight), who was also his bodyguard. He steals a small plane and crash lands on Trash Island where he meets Chief, Bryan Cranston (Trumbo, Argo), Rex, Edward Norton (Sausage Party, Birdman), King, Bob Balaban (Gosford Park, Capote), Boss, Bill Murray (Ghostbusters, The Jungle Book) and Duke, Jeff Goldblum (Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2).
Together they set off to reunite the young Atari with his long lost dog. They travel across the island meeting various other dogs along the way including Nutmeg, Scarlett Johansson (Ghost In The Shell, Avengers: Age Of Ultron), Gondo, Harvey Keitel (Youth, The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Oracle, Tilda Swinton (Okja, War Machine).
Meanwhile, back on the mainland, US exchange student Tracy, Greta Gerwig (Jackie, Frances Ha), teams up with other fellow students to expose the ruling clan who actually just hate dogs and want to kill them all and replace them with robots, and cats.
As you’d expect from Mr. Anderson, the story and the telling of the story, is as crazy as anything you’re likely to see. It’s very funny, in typical Wes Anderson, dry humour style and the animation, whilst not cutting edge, is beautiful.
All of the humans speak Japanese whilst the dogs speak English. When the humans are speaking there’s occasional subtitles or translation usually done by Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Good Dinosaur) as an actual TV translator. Sometimes though, there’s none.
That’s not a criticism, Anderson does warn us in the Prologue (yes, the movie is split as per Anderson’s usual style), it’s just a note. I feel I should also note that this isn’t a kid’s film, I was surprised by the amount of younger viewers going to see it.
What Isle Of Dogs is is a wonderful, quirky and lovely looking film. The voices are superb and, as we’re watching this from the dog’s point of view, it makes complete sense that we (and by we I mean English speakers) can’t understand what the humans are saying. After all, dogs can’t whatever the language.
The film moves at a great pace and I hardly noticed the one-hour 41-minute run-time. It flew by as Anderson builds and builds the film to the final crescendo.
As per usual, if you haven’t liked previous Wes Anderson films you probably aren’t going to get on with Isle Of Dogs. However, if you did like them, then I feel confident you’ll love this just as much.
It has the cast we expect, the quirky comedy we expect and now the stop motion animation style we expect. As someone, like me, who has begun to really appreciate Wes Anderson and loves dogs then Isle Of Dogs should be high on your watch list.