After an outbreak of canine flu plagues Japan, all dogs are exiled to a deserted island, the Isle of Dogs. When a boy (Koyu Rankin) travels to the island in hopes of rescuing his dog, Spots (Liev Schreiber), he embarks on an adventure with a band of misfit canines to find his dog and expose a government conspiracy.
Isle of the Dogs is a stop-motion animated film with an all-star cast – as most Wes Anderson films do – starring, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Greta Gerwig, and Yoko Ono.
Anderson is one of the most charming and witty filmmakers of all time. It’s one of the main reasons I have become so fond of his work. Fear not, Anderson-fans, the king of quirk conquers once again.
The story feels quite timely considering the turmoil going on in our country. The dogs are incredibly adorable and likable, but, the most notable aspect of the film is its impressive animation.
Anderson is notorious for creating colorful and whimsical worlds, proving that even an island of waste can be aesthetically pleasing. The time spent emphasizing every meticulous detail is astounding – especially if you take the time to watch a behind the scenes bit to understand the hard work that goes into creating something as simple as cutting sushi. There is a sincere appreciation for this type of art form, especially in an age where animation is mainly digital.
My only qualm is the way Anderson approaches portraying the Japanese culture. It was no surprise to me, basing it from the booming drums of the film’s trailer that Isle of the Dogs was taking a more stereotypical approach to Japan. It is at times, distracting, and I can see why some have complained in regards to whitewashing.
In a world where political madness is taking over, Isle of Dogs is a friendly reminder of how dogs are sometimes just too pure and good for us.
Final Thoughts: Despite problematic stereotyping, Isle of Dogs is bound to become another imaginative Wes Anderson classic. Dog lovers will inevitably fall in love with this film, then rush home to hug their own dogs. I know I did.