Isle of Dogs
Dog lovers get upset when people describe their furry friends as merely “pets”, because they are more than that. They are eternal companions who offer their loyalty, unconditional love and protection to their masters, asking for little in return. No film understands this more than Isle of Dogs.
The movie begins in Megasaki City, where, after an outbreak of a highly dangerous dog flu, all dogs are quarantined to an island of trash, left to perish. The city is ruled by the corrupt tyrant, Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura), who does everything in his power to quash the pro-dog rebellion. His adopted son, 12-year-old Atari (Koyu Rankin), is determined to locate and rescue his exiled, canine friend, Spots (Liev Schreiber), and is joined by a pack of loyal hounds as they scour the island for an answer and a way out.
Using stop motion animation as his primary medium, Wes Anderson has widened his scope. His imagination is unhampered by physical or financial constraints, giving him unlimited freedom to create the fantastic world in which the story takes place. The city of Megasaki, the island of trash and the characters themselves are teeming with gorgeous detail that CGI could only hope to mimic. Each frame is charged with dynamic movement and character that hurtles the plot forward without a dull moment. The charming puppetry and meticulous décor tell a modern story using traditional techniques, constructing a resplendent homage to Japanese animation and cinema.
Anderson has added a few welcome names to his regular ensemble with Bryan Cranston taking on the lead as the troubled, rebel hound, Chief, who is the only stray in a pack of former pets. The illustrious cast breathes electric life into the already alluring puppets and models. Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton and Scarlett Johansson animate Wes Anderson’s script, delivering witty dialogue that elevates us through every color of the emotional rainbow.
Isle of Dogs is surprisingly Anderson’s most overtly political picture to date. The tension between the demagogue Kobyashi and the revolutionaries touches on totalitarianism, anti-intellectualism and the freedom of the press. The political backdrop imbues the film with palpable stakes and leaves the audience with a lot more to dwell on than a mere battle between good and evil.
Anderson masterfully strums the heartstrings in this dream-like adventure. The journey Atari and his pack embark on acts as a tender call-to-action for those who believe there is no compassion left in the world. The intricately crafted Isle of Dogs sits triumphantly next to the director’s finest work.
Isle of Dogs is released nationwide on 30th March 2018.
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Watch the trailer for Isle of Dogs here: