isle of dogs
DIRECTOR: wes anderson (the grand budapest hotel, Fantastic Mr. fox)
STARRING: bryan cranston, edward norton, bill murray, and scarlett johansson (Voices)
REVIEWER: lyall carter
After an outbreak of dog flu sees every dog quarantined on an island, a young boy sets out to rescue his beloved dog with the help of a pack of canine misfits.
There is always a unique charm to a Wes Anderson picture. Whether its The Grand Budapest Hotel or his other animated feature Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson's attention to detail, design, and the overall beauty of a movie as if it were a work of art is second to none.
When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop plane and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will not only decide the fate of canines but of Megasaki City.
The story of Isle of Dogs mostly works but at a nearly two hour running time it does feel a little long no matter how cute it is. There is the Wes Anderson slightly awkward humour and long pauses throughout and a twist that you think is coming due to some set up near the beginning of the film comes it a completely smart and inventive way. Clever Mr. Anderson, very clever.
The animation is beautiful to behold as in Anderson's past foray into the world of stop motion with Fantastic Mr. Fox. The detail is incredible; the different parts of Trash Island, the dogs, and human characters all have a humanity that is difficult to create in a puppet.
Still there was something missing which is hard to put a finger on. Perhaps it was the running time or perhaps it was the fact that Fantastic Mr. Fox is so darn good and nobody, including Anderson, could ever have lived up to it.
Not quite as charming as Fantastic Mr. Fox, but Isle of Dogs is a whimsical tale with exquisite stop motion animation.