Last year, animated films weren’t exactly that memorable. Granted, Coco was great, and I haven’t seen The Breadwinner and Loving Vincent, but the rest of the genre was completely mediocre in 2017. Luckily, Wes Anderson comes back to prove that animated films can be wonderful pieces of art. This time around, his latest film Isle of Dogs is the second animated movie he directs after the incredibly underrated Fantastic Mr. Fox. The story is set in a futuristic Japanese city called Megasaki, where the mayor decides to ban all dogs after finding out there has been a flu virus coming from dogs. They banish all the dogs to an island called ‘Trash Island’, and a young boy named Atari Kobayashi wants to find his pet Spots while hijacking a plane. Sounds weird? It should be, because that’s the beauty of it.
Wes Anderson clearly has a unique style of his own, and it shows. He knows how to throw out quippy and fun dialogue, and make sure the audience is entertained from start to finish. He clearly has a great sense of imagination, and he’s able to showcase it with the stunning animation. Speaking of that, it’s phenomenal how he’s able to tell a wonderful story with the help of stop-motion animation. The world feels alive thanks to its cinematography, and Anderson does such a good job showcasing the Japanese culture while still respecting it. The movie goes back and forth from the characters speaking in English to Japanese, but it’s never jarring. It would be odd to see a movie that takes place in Japan where they all speak English and not their native language.
All the characters are great, especially since it showcases a talented cast of actors such as Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Frances Mcdormand, Harvey Keitel, Liev Schreiber, and Scarlett Johansson. They all add something fun to their character, and the chemistry between the dogs is one of the best and most memorable aspects of the entire movie. However, Greta Gerwig’s character is the only one that feels like she didn’t need to be there. Her arc is crucial for the story, but at times she becomes so forgettable that she’s the least interesting character out of all of them. The real scene-stealer is Koyu Rankin as the human kid named Atari, and he brings so much likability and relatability. You want him to find his dog, and there are times you just feel bad for him.
However, the most worthy thing to address is the fact that it’s willing to be mature yet tell a heartwarming story at the same time. While Isle of Dogs may be rated PG-13, this isn’t for kids and some scenes might frighten children. Not that it’s scary or anything, it’s just important to point out that the director isn’t afraid to add some things that will heavily appeal only to adults.
Isle of Dogs is another worthy film that Wes Anderson should be proud for making, because it’s easily one of the best animated films in a long time. It has heart, great characters, and beautiful animation that all perfectly showcase his creative imagination as a filmmaker. Anderson is undeniably one of the most charming and talented directors in the film industry.
Isle of Dogs is now playing in theatres.