Whatever Happened to Man's Best Friend?: Isle of Dogs
Isle of Dogs is a Fun Though Crowded Experience
Over the last decade, Wes Anderson has been unstoppable. His last three films (The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel) have all been energetic, creative and surprisingly emotional experiences. With that being said, I had very high hopes for his new film Isle of Dogs and those hopes were unfortunately only halfway met.
Taking place in a Japan of the near future after an outbreak of canine flu, the film follows a group of dogs living on a garbage-filled island after the government has banned all dogs. This pack teams up with a 12-year-old boy who has come to the island in order to find his missing pet. Their friendship leads to an eventual revolution against the corrupt mayor and his band of cat-loving cronies.
The stop-motion animation in the film looks absolutely incredible, keeping consistent with Anderson's storybook-style worlds and every dog has a real charm and character in their designs. Also, much of the voice acting is surprisingly effective. Harvey Keitel in particular manages to give one of the most emotional performances in his career using only his voice. However, my biggest problem with the film is that there's just too much going on. So many characters are introduced only to slink away into the background for the rest of the film. The budding friendship between the little boy and a stray dog named Chief (voiced by Bryan Cranston) is the real heart of the film, but as a result, much of the other subplots get swept aside when they could have been given more time to resonate with the audience. Still, Isle of Dogs has enough adventure and imagination to make any viewer happy ... unless you're a cat lover. — Forest Taylor
Written and directed by: Wes Anderson // Features the voices of: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Kunichi Nomura, Tilda Swinton, Frances MacDormand, Akira Takayama and Courtney B. Vance // 101 minutes