“Isle of Dogs” – A masterpiece of animation honoring dogs

Wes Anderson’s film embodies his distinctive style, weaving in Japanese culture and praising dog loyalty. Isle of Dogs is a stop-motion-style animation (assemble from a series of consecutive stills. In which each character’s motion or context is adjust manually).

The film is set in the near future in the fictional city of Megasaki (Japan). A mysterious disease outbreak in dogs has led the mayor of Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura). That to banish their deportation to an isolate island focusing on waste collection. The first dog to be taken is Spots (voiced by Liev Schreiber) – the guard of the boy Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin), the mayor’s grandson.

Six months later, all the dogs were isolate on the island, scrambling for bags of garbage to survive and barely healing. Among the owners, only Atari is determined to go to the island to find the dog he loves. Atari is assiste by five dogs including Chief, Rex, King, Boss and Duke (Voiced by Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum).

His actions became the inspiration for a group of students. They want to expose the obscurity of the Kobayashi government in the incident. Meanwhile, a research team was close to finding an antidote.

The screenplay is written by Wes Anderson, following a search and reunion motif.

At the beginning of the film, the search is shown through Atari’s journey with the five dogs. After the reunion took place, the ending of the film brought the message of struggle. Anderson’s social description at first seem a little “childish” with the dominance of cat lovers – Kobayashi from the same faction.

However, according to the development, the work became profound when integrating authoritarian critique views, counterfeit democracy. It promoting freedom of speech as a solution to fight against self-deception. permission. The work brings social ironic laughter instead of cheerleading humor in other cartoons.

Love for dogs is express from the name of the Isle of Dogs film with a pronunciation similar to “I Love Dogs”. Through the image of Chief, Spots and other dogs. The film praises the qualities that represent the animals closest to humans. Dogs are honest, loyal, brave and never abandon their owners despite many incidents.

When in danger, they are even ready to risk their lives for the owner. In the middle of the crazy island society, many intrigues, the dogs in the film are personify to become the “righteous men”. The dogs with the martial spirit of the ancient samurai.

Anderson firmly focus on building the character image before creating changes for the story.

Of the five dogs, Chief stands out as a wild man, acting stubbornly and cautiously against humans. But hiding himself with good personalities. And Atari has the childish traits of a young boy, helping him gradually receive affection from the Chief. In another perspective, Atari is also a “wild dog” with a tragic life, so it is easy to sympathize with the dog.

The director cleverly install a series of details for the two characters to get acquainte before Chief was close to Atari. That making this turning point believable and unwavering.

In addition to content rich in humanity, the image of the film is also impressive. Every Wes Anderson work – like The Grand Budapest Hotel or Moonrise Kingdom – is a visual feast. Isle of Dogs continues to feature the director’s signature style with nearly symmetrical frames on both sides. Sometimes the character in the middle (breaking the rule of the subject lying one third of the picture in photography).

Typical of this expression is the scene of dogs scrambling for a bag of food at the beginning of the film. The director kept the frame symmetrical from the time the plane dropp the food. The appearance of two dogs (each with five dogs) until they approach and clash.

In addition, the small details about rendering and colors in each shot are elaborate.

The predominant films are red and yellow – two hot colors. In some scenes, the filmmaker dazzl and eye-catching, typically excerpts inside a cave made from many bottles of sake and scientists’ pubs. In scenes from a dog’s perspective, red and green are remove, corresponding to the dog’s color blindness of these colors.

The way of moving the perspective and movement of the subject group in the Isle of Dogs scenes. Those scenes is similar to Kurosawa’s rich movement style. Other scenes were inspire by Japanese film directors. The narrator with an ancient appearance at the beginning of the movie is reminiscent of Hidetora Ichimonji in Ran.

Shaping the character of Kobayashi inspire by Kingo Gondo in High and Low. The scene of the first fight scene similar to Yojimbo also excerpts of two groups of dogs preparing to crash into each other are from Seven Samurai. Chief claims to be a stray dog, reminiscent of Stray Dog.

In addition to Kurosawa, Japanese culture also inspire Anderson in the new film.

Despite the modern setting with the appearance of modern robots and weapons. The work is told in a classical chapter, starting with a legend about samurai that reminds a fantasy element interwoven in style. ants in Japan. The country’s features appear throughout the film such as sumo, ramen shops, cherry blossoms …

Among them, the most impressive is the taiko drum segment and traditional sushi making scene. Japanese social details are also include with the family inheritance, the role of the Yakuza gang or the destruction of natural disasters.


Rating: PG-13 (for thematic elements and some violent images)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Animation, Comedy
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton
Written By: Wes Anderson
In Theaters: Apr 13, 2018 Wide
On Disc/Streaming: Jul 17, 2018
Runtime: 101 minutes
Studio: Scott Rudin Productions

Jake Wilson
This is outwardly one of Anderson’s bleakest films. It’s also one of his dullest and least emotional.

Adam Graham
Anderson’s projects have always had a meticulous quality to them, but “Isle of Dogs” is exacting to the point of alienation. Someone needs a leash.

Matthew Lickona
A delight, albeit one that is red in tooth and claw.

Peter Bradshaw
Another utterly distinctive, formally brilliant exercise in savant innocence from Anderson, somewhere between arch naivety and inspired sophistication.

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