In preparation for the screening of Isle of Dogs, I wanted to watch Wes Anderson’s other stop motion film, Fantastic Mr. Fox. I had never seen it before but it had been recommended to me to watch before going to see Isle of Dogs. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a great movie and it really did prepare me for the style, the stop motion and the stories that Wes Anderson tells. Isle of Dogs did not disappoint on any of those.
The stop motion animation is the selling point for this movie as it is potentially the best stop motion animation we have seen on the big screen to date. There was times in the movie that I completely forgot I was watching stop motion, and assumed it was normal 3D or traditional animation. That is a complete disservice to the animators of this and it’s also the best compliment I can pay. Fun fact, I actually have a degree in Animation so I understand the process that was undertaken to get to this quality. It’s not just the animation however, it’s the painstaking detail of the sets and the cinematography has to just be admired. There will be times where you are in awe of some of it but not even realise you are doing that.
The story itself is crazy as it can be with talking Dogs and a dystopian Japan who has banished them onto an island. They’ve been banished because of dog flu and a government conspiracy in wanting to keep them there. The story didn’t really grasp me as it should have. I was more interested in learning more about the dogs but there were times we got a lot of what was happening with the cure and the re-election. It served its purpose of the story and with Wes Anderson’s style of storytelling, to be expected.
The voice acting is a real strength of the movie with Bryan Cranston voicing Chief, the main dog. There’s fun comedic moments that aren’t forced and little traits like the constant sneezing, that keep the movie entertaining. I’ve read a few reviews saying that it’s an insult that the dogs talk English yet the humans talk Japanese, except most of it is translated via a translator. The movie blatantly makes this abundantly clear that this is the case, even making a bit of a joke about it, breaking the fourth wall a touch. It’s in no way insulting to the culture and I enjoyed the culture of it. The fourth wall breaking wasn’t excessive and was just the dog’s turning to face the screen a couple of times, it was fun and it involved the audience. My favourite has got to be the Oracle, such a great character and when you see it, you’ll know why.
DIAGNOSIS – INPATIENT CARE
I feel I haven’t even discussed most of this movie but that simply because it’s going to take a couple of watches to fully appreciate everything in it. You can’t help but admire the quality of the movie and the uniqueness of it. You’ll never see anything like this in the cinema and it’s Wes Anderson at his finest.