Movie review: Isle of Dog

Theatrical release poster for Isle of Dogs (photo: Fair Use Wikipedia and Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Theatrical release poster for Isle of Dogs (photo: Fair Use Wikipedia and Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Director Wes Anderson has outdone himself again in his stop-motion animated film, Isle of Dogs.

Based on an island off of the fictional city of Megasaki, Japan, a country-wide exile of all dogs goes into place. This exile sends all canines to Trash Island, including a dog named Spots who belongs to main character Atari Kobayashi, an adventurous 12-year-old boy. When Atari and Spots are separated, Atari makes the brave journey to Trash Island in order to rescue his beloved pet. Upon arriving on the island, Atari befriends a group of strays who, along with a few other inhabitants of the island, assist Atari in reuniting with his best friend.

The film, although animated, displays a unique and mature take on the relationship between a boy and “man’s best friend.” It completely immerses the audience into the universe created by Anderson with an incredible star studded cast. Voices in the film include huge Hollywood names such as Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Yoko Ono, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand.

Multiple scenes of the film tie into and parallel past Anderson films such as Moonrise Kingdom (2012), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)and Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009). The work of animator Paul Harrod takes the genius idea of this film and brings it to life with vibrant colors and diverse angles, making the film appear as if it were live action and filmed by a real camera crew.

Anderson’s stylistic ideas truly shine throughout this film. His creative style takes this authentic idea and delivers it in an unexpected way that captivates and excites anyone who watches it.

This film won’t just impress past Wes Anderson fans. The relationship between Atari and dogs featured in this film counteract the government officials in the film, adding a cuteness factor to the typical movie protagonists.

The music and sound effects of this cinematic masterpiece also contribute to the beauty of this film. Alexandre Desplat, known for four-time Academy Award-winning film The Shape of Water (2017) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), also working alongside Anderson, composed the score seemingly effortlessly. It adds a solidified element to the film that drastically changes the tone. Had he not been a part of the crew, the audio aspect of the film would have been completely different, as Desplat’s musical signature is an alternative combination of both classical and modern music styles. He elevates the film without taking away from animated visual aspects.

All in all, Isle of Dogs is yet another hit from Wes Anderson and has something positive that appeals to everyone. Whether it be a love for dogs, stop-motion animation, rebellion, friendship or action, Isle of Dogs will captivate and entertain viewers of all kinds.