If you’re a film fan and have ever been in a Facebook group then you probably know Wes Anderson. Wes Anderson is popular for a very unique and quirky style of filmmaking, his style is extremely symmetric and colorful with unique and bleak stories at times. So, when it was announced that miss Anderson would be making a clay animation film about dogs stuck on an island that they never wanted to be on, everybody was intrigued.
Yet, nobody ever thought that this film would be as strange as it turned out to be.
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The Movie Review
Wes Anderson has his own brand of humor and style in filmmaking, Isle of Dogs is the perfect example for this. It’s a film about dogs, but it’s also for humans so the dogs have voices and they can speak.
The way these dogs behave is very human-like, this makes this film feel more like a cartoon and it helps us let our guard down thinking that it might be a very family-friendly film. Though it isn’t until you’ve spent an hour into the film, that you realize this film is way more than it lets on.
The story follows a young boy who is in search of his dog, who was sent on a remote island to live with the rest of the dog population. The dystopian world of Isle of Dogs showcases that dogs have a canine form of influenza that spread through the dogs. So, in order to save the people, all of the dogs are banished to a place called Trash Island. There the dogs now reside and battle for territory and power amongst themselves.
The first dog that was chosen to be sent to Trash Island, was a dog named Spots Kobayashi. The dog was the bodyguard for 12-year-old Akira Kobayashi, the emperor’s distant nephew, and ward. So, naturally, Akira hijacks a plane and takes off towards Trash Island. There he is reunited with spots, and their journey to survive through the wreckage of Trash Island and reinstate dogs as man’s best friend begins.
As is customary for Wes Anderson, Isle of Dogs is drowning in style. The film is shot in the classic yet beautiful 4:3 aspect ratio, and it’s animated fully through using the clay animation technique.
The film is completely symmetrical in its use of angles and the camera, while the lighting is a mish-mash of different colors to signify different moods and motives. This aesthetic was to be expected though, as Wes Anderson rarely ever disappoints in that regard.
Though if there’s one thing that cannot go unmentioned about this film is its exceptional star-studded cast. I will write down the list of names below as there’s too many to count: Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, Ken Watanabe, Tilda Swinton, Liev Schreiber, Frank Wood, Angelica Houston, Yoko Ono and. of course, Wes Anderson mainstay Bill Murray.
Just by the names alone, you should know how the film is in the voice acting department. The star cast doesn’t miss a beat; every single character is fun to listen to and hear.
Art-wise, this film is gorgeous, unique, and at times kind of disturbing. The film’s clay animation means that everything looks super realistic albeit in a clayish fashion… The designs are unique, I could distinguish between each dog after I was done watching the film.
The way they were animated had a smoothness to it, which made them move realistically. The colors in the film are beautiful, the locations are so varied from the trash-filled Trash Island to the palace of Japan’s emperor and even the laboratories and other locations shown in the film.
So in conclusion, Isle of Dogs is just another achievement in Wes Anderson’s huge, stylistic career of filmmaking. He’s done all kinds of films, yet this film’s unorthodox setting, characters, and themes were something he can now add to his list of accolades. Isle of Dogs is not just a cinematic masterpiece, but it is also an artistic experiment that Wes successfully conducts.