No spoilers here!
Written and directed by Wes Anderson, Isle of Dogs takes place in a dystopian near-future of Japan, where the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island. Frustrated by such drastic action, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone and flies across the river to search for his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the help of a pack of newly-found mongrel allies, Atari begins a journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire species.
With Isle of Dogs, Anderson marks his return to the stop motion world, a territory that he has previously ventured into for his 2009 film, Fantatic Mr. Fox. With meticulous attention to detail, Anderson is able to create a world that’s not only visually stunning, but satisfyingly original. The landscape of garbage canyons is oftentimes grim and depressing, which makes individual characters the more notable and captivating.
Aside from its visual splendor, Isle of Dogs also shines with its brilliant ensemble of cast. Perhaps a result of Anderson’s amazing direction, many members of the cast are able to exude their own personality and charm into the roles they play. Particularly Bryan Cranston, who is able to deliver an astounding performance full of emotions in his role as Chief. Through brilliant direction and characterization, Anderson is able to elevate the film to spectacular heights.
Conversely, the plot of Isle of Dogs can at times be a little slow paced, a result of the film’s excessive reliance of telling its story through flashbacks. In addition, certain human characters are criminally undeveloped, making their subplot at times uninteresting to unfold. However, each and every frame of the film is so painstakingly crafted with thought and care, it’s hard for the audience to keep their eyes off the screen.
Yet despite such bleak settings, Isle of Dogs retains an earnest and playful heart throughout the entirety of the film. At its core, Isle of Dogs is a story about loyalty and friendship. The movie does a spectacular job in illustrating the importance of companionship through the eyes of its charismatic canine pets. The additional storyline concerning political corruption is also integrated admirably into the narrative of Atari’s search for his dog, providing a great sense of depth to the film.
All in all, Isle of Dogs is another successful addition that continues Anderson’s reputation as an auteur. As he brings his signature style to a quirky and endearing story, Isle of Dogs is surely a delight even to the most casual of moviegoers. Heartwarming, visually stunning, and oftentimes hilarious, Isle of Dogs is definitely a fun watch from start to finish.
Special thanks to 20th Century Fox Malaysia