Isle of Dogs review by Bobby Blakey
There are few directors out there as unique as Wes Anderson. He has delivered some strange but brilliant films throughout his career including The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums and more. None were as unique as his experiment in animation like his 2009 film Fantastic Mr. Fox. Now he is returning to that animated style with his latest film Isle of Dogs featuring a great voice cast including Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Liev Schreiber, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Greta Gerwig, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Fisher Stevens, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand, F. Murray Abraham, and Ken Watanabe, but does it capture the same magic as his previous films or will it be too far off its leash?
Isle of Dogs follows a dystopian future Japan in which dogs have been quarantined on the remote eponymous island due to a "canine flu". There five local dogs—Chief, Rex, Boss, Duke, and King are fed up with their isolated existence until a boy named Atari Kobayashi ventures to the island to search for his dog, Spots. Atari receives their help and they will protect him from the Japanese authorities who have come to retrieve him. I cannot explain how excited I have been to see this film and I am happy to say I was not disappointed. I will start by saying that this film is not for everyone and the majority of it is in Japanese with some elements of translation and other times not so much, but it works perfectly. It kicks the movie off explaining this element so you are not surprised once it gets going and to be honest I am not sure it would have worked any other way.
If you have seen Anderson’s previous film Fantastic Mr. Fox you already get the idea of the animation style, but the attention to detail is insane. I was in awe of the attention to accuracy and detail from the first frame until the last in just the visuals alone, but add to that such a great story and it tops up there as one of my favorite films in the genre. The voice cast are all great with each bringing their
own personality to the characters, most notably the dogs. The pack of dogs we follow the majority of the time are a lot of fun to watch and the mannerisms are perfection. As amazing as it all looks visually it’s the little things like seeing fleas actually crawling on the dogs randomly that really makes it all standout.
The story itself offers up a lot more than the trailer let on that is not just about finding a dog, but also friendship, loyalty and just finding your place in the world. There are some elements that are predictable, but also elements that they throw some curveballs at you with and overall delivers another Wes Anderson masterpiece. I hope he returns to these animation features again because I for one cannot wait to see what is coming next.
In addition to the film this release offers up plenty of bonus features including trailer, gallery and featurettes taking you behind bringing this film to life. Join the search for Spots with Isle of Dogs available now on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD from 20th century Fox Home Entertainment.