'Isle of Dogs' is both politically relevant and culturally spot-on
Wes Anderson's new movie could entertain anyone — even those who aren't fans of dogs and/or animated films.
| 12:17 a.m. May 2, 2018
Arts + Entertainment
Let's assume you don't particularly care for animated films. Wes Anderson's new movie, "Isle of Dogs," may shatter that conviction in this canine concoction of laughs, loyalty and love. And it's not a prerequisite to have a passion for dogs.
Employing stop motion animation, Anderson lets his imagination run wild, as do his main characters — who are dogs. Once banished to Trash Island by an evil politician, Mayor Kobayashi, the canine castaways forage for food amongst garbage in packs. When 12-year-old Atari, ward of Kobayashi, flies solo to find his beloved bodyguard dog, Spots, he crashes on the island and is aided in his search by a gang of five scrappy mongrels: Chief, Rex, King, Duke and Boss.
Their journey is fraught with danger, back stories and even romance. Most importantly, the brave bond created by this ragtag group of misfits evolves into a parable about what possibilities our future might hold in a world gone crazy.
This is director-writer Wes Anderson's second stop-motion animated film ("Fantastic Mr. Fox) and it's beyond phenomenal. His attention to detail is jaw-dropping and visually dazzling. A sushi preparation scene (which took months to create) is unexpectedly disturbing and meticulously crafted. And his grasp of Japanese culture is simply spot-on. Known for being quirky, Anderson manages to mesh that talent into creating a work of art in this captivating film.
The cast of characters (voices) reads like a list of royalty in the acting sphere. They include Bryan Cranston, Liev Schreiber, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Greta Gerwig and, really, that's just for starters. Interestingly, all of the actors had to pay ten dollars to be in the film, which was donated to Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation. Arf!
"Isle of Dogs" is also very politically relevant and can be divisive, at times. Election fraud, fear mongering and germ warfare come into play as the story weaves its winding course. But bottom line, Wes Anderson seems to be suggesting that "man's best friend" just might be his least likely choice in the scheme of things.