Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs is a movie to be reckoned with. This incredibly unique piece of stop
motion animation is totally different from the norm of today’s films. Written and directed by Wes
Anderson, it stars the voices of Bryan Cranston as Chief, Edward Norton as Rex, Bill Murray as
Boss, Liev Schreiber as Spots, Bob Balaban as King, Scarlett Johansson as Nutmeg and Jeff
Goldblum as Duke. It also stars Koyu Rankin as the young boy, Atari. It is the second animated
film from Wes Anderson, after the wonderful Fantastic Mr. Fox.In future Japan, where dogs are viewed as savage and disease ridden creatures, a young boy,Atari, searches for his dog, Spots. This dystopian world, created by his guardian, Mayor
Kobayashi, disparages dogs but worships cats. Atari defies his guardian and along the way
befriends some loyal, passionate pooches who help him on his fateful journey of finding his lost
dog.One thing I particularly adore about Wes Anderson’s filmmaking is his irreverent humour and
creativity. It’s almost as if Anderson has a patent on an new genre of filmmaking, that’s entirely his
own. During the making of this film, Anderson was influenced by his love for Japanese cinema
and two of the most monumental Japanese directors – Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki.
In an interview about his many influences for the film, he states “with Miyazaki you get nature and you
get moments of peace, a kind of rhythm that is not in the American animation tradition…”. Later
on, Anderson explains that during the scoring of the film he and his composer, Alexandre Desplat,
had to rethink their approach to the soundtrack because the movie longed to be quiet. He later
specifies that this aspect of the film also comes from Miyazaki. The stop motion animation style pairs perfectly with the pure grittiness of its creativity. In most animated films you don’t hear the roughness or coarseness of the actors’ voices, but in
Anderson’s film you do and it is the most lifelike. Also, despite the humor, Anderson doesn’t
sugar coat the seriousness of the story. His films are always truthful and cut to the heart of the
matter.I recommend Isle of Dogs for ages 12 to 18, due to its violence and sophisticated humour.
Younger kids might not understand the ironic tone. I give it 5 out of 5 stars for bringing an
incredibly unique vision to the mostly mundane animation of today
Isle of Dogs
By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12
Isle of Dogs is a genius concept that only Wes Anderson could conjure up and makes for an
enjoyable animated film with a quirky aesthetic.Isle of Dogs takes place 20 years from now in a futuristic Japan. A disease spreading among dogs ravages Megasaki City and the mayor issues a decree that banishes all dogs to a vast,
sickening wasteland called Trash Island. The film focuses the story on a pack of dogs who spend
their days roaming, trying to stay alive among fierce competition. Ayoung boy named Atari
crashes onto the island one day in search of his dog and the pack decides to help him.
Wes Anderson’s direction is excellent. He thrives in stop-motion animation because he can
meticulously craft each shot. His sometimes bizarre, yet charming style remains resonant, despite
it being a change of pace from the stories he usually tells. Isle of Dogs is an homage to Japanese
filmmaking, especially the films of Akira Kurosawa, and relies on Japanese language and culture
to tell its story.
The film’s voice cast includes a range of famous actors, including longtime Wes Anderson
partners Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton, as a pug oracle, as well as Yoko Ono as Assistant
Scientist Yoko-ono and Jeff Goldblum as Duke, one of the dogs in the film’s showcase pack.
My favorite character is Chief (Bryan Cranston). He is a stray dog who goes through a moving
transformation as he starts off dreading the idea of having a master. But through his adventure
with Atari, Chief starts to learn what it is to care about people and open himself up to them.
Cranston gives Chief a weariness that lets you know his character has been through a lot.
I recommend this film for ages 11 to 18, due to some violence involving dogs, some suggestive
content and minor offensive language. Note that, despite animation and dogs as main characters,
this is not a kids’ film. It’s really geared pre-teens to adults.I give Isle of Dogs 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this film for Wes Anderson fans and those wholike a good adventure featuring man’s best friend. Although this film misses the chance to develop
really interesting ideas and characters, it is still fun and hilarious in all the right ways. Isle of Dogs
opens in theaters March 23, 2018 so check it out.