I Love Dogs? A Review of Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs”
April 18, 2018
Over last week Wes Anderson’s new stop-motion animated film premiered in select theaters. Tampa was lucky enough to be selected as one of those select cities to show the movie, before its supposed worldwide release in mid-April. The film was shown at the famous and beautiful Tampa Theater.
The film is set 20 years in the future, in the Japanese Archipelago, in a fictional city known as “Megasaki”. It follows the story of 12-year-old, Atari Kobayashi, as he journeys to “Trash Island” to find his lost dog Spots, voiced by Liev Schreiber. These dogs have been banished to Trash Island by Mayor Kobayashi, Atari’s estranged uncle who is commonly joked about in the movie as a “cat person”. Mayor Kobayashi orders the banishment of all dogs due to what he calls and an outbreak of “Dog Flu” and “Snout Fever”.
I got a chance to see the film on its premiere night in Tampa on Tuesday, March 27th. The stop-motion animation film is Wes’ second of that same type. The story is captivating, but more or less the style sells this movie to the audience. Each scene is shot with the utmost attention detail, to the very changing of the way the dogs’ fur flows with the wind. Wes Anderson continues to keep the audience captivated with the cinematography of the film. The film is shot in the typical asymmetrical Wes Anderson style. The film features this almost “lost in translation” style of plot. A lot of the film features only Japanese dialogues, with some of it being translated into English for a news broadcast of the political standpoints of the city of Megasaki. This film features an interesting style and flow of colors in the typical Wes Anderson style. The film stars some of the biggest names in Hollywood. The list includes Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Edward Norton. Bob Balaban, Tilda Swinton, and Scarlett Johansson just to name a few of the many featured in this animated film.
The film claims to be an allusion to the idea of cat people and dog people. The Kobayashi Family has a history of being notoriously cat-only people. At the beginning of this film, it is explained with a backstory of the Kobayashi family. Thus giving Mayor Kobayashi a biased disliking for dogs, and leads him to create the dog diseases himself in order to rid himself of Megasaki’s dog population. There also seems to be an allusion to racism in this way, as it seems to be calling out how in history we as a people have a certain way of having a prejudice against a certain group of people.
Overall, I came into this movie with high expectations and my expectations were still surpassed. The beautiful aesthetic shooting of the movie gives it a futuristic yet rustic feel. I am a Wes Anderson fan and this movie cements to me why he is my favorite director and that I want to share his profession. Wes Anderson never ceases to impress, and “Isle of Dogs” is a cementing of that opinion.