If you were to ask me who are some of my favorite film directors, then I would most likely say people like Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Hayao Miyazaki, Brad Bird, Edgar Wright, and several others. But of all my favorite directors, none have a more distinct and well-known style more than Wes Anderson. Wes Anderson is well known amongst film experts for his distinct style with his use of symmetrical framing, colorful palettes in the cinematography, and a recurring group of actors. No matter what film of his it may be, rather it be The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore, or many others, you can say “Oh. That is a Wes Anderson film.” Now, Wes returns to animation with his latest animated creation, and first since Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009, with Isle of Dogs.
Set in the city of Megasaki, the movie is about Atari Kobayashi, a young boy who is on a quest to search for his lost dog Spots after his uncle Mayor Kobayashi issues a decree banishing all dogs to an island when a dog flu virus spreads. Atari hijacks a plane and crash lands on Trash Island and is rescued by five dogs, Rex, King, Duke, Boss, and Chief. Now Atari must find Spots before Mayor Kobayashi wipes out the dog population.
Isle of Dogs is another fantastic addition to Wes Anderson’s filmography. The story has a lot of heart, some great humor, and a great social commentary on political corruption added in. The stop-motion animation is undeniably gorgeous and perfect for the Wes Anderson style with every dog having a different design from each other and even features some hand drawn animation whenever a television screen is in the frame. The score composed by Academy Award winner Alexandre Desplat is also very well done with amazing usage of various Japanese instruments to capture the feel of the country. And as with all of Wes Anderson’s films, the movie has another fantastic ensemble cast all playing their roles extremely well including Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Liev Schreiber, and Tilda Swinton. Another nice touch they had is that all of the Japanese human characters in the movie all speak in their native language. And don’t worry for those who don’t speak Japanese, which I’m sure is a majority of the people reading this, you can both either tell what is happening without knowing what they are saying or a character in the film who is a translator can help you understand. Also, one last thing I want to mention is that despite the movie featuring dogs, this movie is not for young children mostly because of its well deserved PG-13 rating with sparse violent imagery.
Overall, Isle of Dogs is another great entry of Wes Anderson’s consistently great library of films with a charming story, fantastic animation, and a stellar cast. If you are a fan of Wes Anderson’s previous works or you love and want to support stop-motion animation, this is a must-see for you…that is, if a theater close by is playing the film. I’m going to give Isle of Dogs a 10/10 with the Edward’s Seal of Approval and my highest recommendation. It’s also kind of ironic that I loved a movie about dogs despite living in a family of cat people with 3 cats at home.