Isle of Dogs

If you love dogs and replaced the foxes in fantastic Mr Fox then you will probably like this

  • Screenplay by Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Directed by Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Starring Bryan Cranston (Kung Fu Panda 3), Edward Norton (Sausage Party) Scarlett Johansson (The Jungle Book) and Bill Murray (Fantastic Mr. Fox)
  • Budget of $30m


My initial thoughts 💭

Slick characters, imaginative setting and a bizarre story, this has all the hallmarks of a film from the creative mind of Wes Anderson. You may not walk out of the cinema really raving much about the film plot, but you will at least come out thinking you have seen a very creative and cool film.

The ‘ccc’ review 💭

Due to an outbreak of so-called ‘canine flu’ in Megasaki City, the Japanese government takes action and bans all dogs from the island, sending them to a former garbage dump to fend for themselves – the Isle of Dogs. Overtime the dogs, many of them previously pampered by their owners, become scavengers. When a boy named Atari turns up looking for his dog Spots, a rag tag assortment of dogs help Atari with this quest to find his dog and with it maybe one last time of having that human connection.

The story itself isn’t strong. In a dystopian Japan, a pro cat political party banishes dogs to a waste island because of a historical legend – hardly the most engaging basis for a story. Unless you are entertained by Anderson’s work (which to be honest we were) you won’t be engaged in the film for very long.

But stepping back from the quality of the story, we can only marvel at the artwork on display here. Isle of Dogs took two painstaking years to make, involving 1,000 handmade puppets, 500 dogs and 500 humans, and a crew of 670, from puppeteering to animation to costume design.

Even if it sometimes took a week to produce even half a second of footage, the fact that this is done in old stop motion fashion is a real art and something you forget that beautiful images can be made without the entire use of a computer.

But let’s revert back to the overall feel of the film. Although a very stylish film led by the coolest dogs we seen since the Beverly Hill Chihuahua, the story is bonkers and the randomness can sometimes lose you. It doesn’t quite grab you from start to finish. As far as dog related films go, it will probably be in the middle of the list, a long way behind the classics of ‘101 Dalmatians’ and ‘Marley & Me’ but definitely way ahead of ‘Bolt’ and ‘Cats and Dogs’.

Wes Anderson again brings together the voices of some of his long time collaborators, including Bill Murray (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Edward Norton (Moonrise Kingdom), along with great voice favourites including Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad [TV]). All of their familiar tones enhance the film and makes you think these are the coolest dogs in town, well at least in Megasaki City.

What are my final thoughts 💭

Another quirky film from Wed Anderson who continues to grow his style – directors like these will forever produce good films where they have such a distinctive styles. However although largely enjoyable, Isle of Dogs is also largely forgettable.

Unless you are a “I must watch anything with a dog in it”, probably worth waiting for when it comes on TV for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon watch 📺 🐶

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