Isle of Dogs (2018)
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Written by: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, Kunichi Nomura
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr 41 min.
My 2 Cents:
Set in the future, Isle of Dogs follows a young boy in search of his lost dog, Spot.
When it comes to Wes Anderson films I’ve always had a hard time quantifying why I like them so much. That’s either due to Anderson’s quirky mad creative skills (likely) or my inability to understand subtle nuanced storytelling (probably). In any case, when his name comes up in conversation, I struggle to get into specifics and simply point to his filmography. Did you liked film, X, Y, Z? Then you’ll like films, A, B, and Isle of Dogs. In my experience, I’ve found people are either into Wes Anderson movies, or they hate them. A screening of one of his films is usually enough to separate the light from the dark.
In that regard, I’m glad to be a movie Jedi (or at the very least, a Padawan), and Isle of Dogs is another fine addition to Anderson’s catalog. This film (for me at least) is not as entertaining as his last animated feature, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, but it’s still worth a watch. It’s inventive, surprising, dark, funny, and very clever. Anderson’s penchant for linear frames, long takes, and wide shots suit the material, and as always, it’s hard to pin down the direction the story is going in. Which is a good thing.
Isle of Dogs is also a visual treat. The post-apocalyptic-like trash island the dogs live on is beautiful. Each frame is lovingly staged and the stop-motion animation is superb. The darker elements in the film (this is a PG-13 for a reason) may be unsuitable for really young viewers. But kids from 5th grade and up (10+) should find the material challenging and entertaining.
Will this film convert people over from the dark side? Help them see the light? Probably not, since they’re likely to avoid it at all cost. The fans though, should be happy to have another Wes Anderson project to talk about. This is the kind of film that needs to be watched multiple times to fully appreciate.