While movies have always been meant to entertain audiences, sometimes it can be easy to predict or anticipate certain arcs in films. Wes Anderson’s newest movie “Isle of Dogs” side steps countless formulas and storytelling elements to create an utterly unpredictable film.
The film takes place in the fictitious Japanese city known as Megasaki City. In the city, viruses known as “Dog Flu” and “Snout Fever” have spread throughout the canine population. In order to stop the outbreak, all dogs are condemned to a remote island outside of the city.
Months after the action is issued, a young boy named Atari travels to the island in search of his dog Spots. A small group of five dogs then aids Atari as he searches for his lost dog.
Just like Wes Anderson’s 2009 film “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Isle of Dogs” is made with stop motion and hand drawn animation. In a world filled with computer animated movies, the stop motion work in “Isle of Dogs” feels quite refreshing.
In addition to the unique animation, the film received a PG-13 rating. This rating is almost unheard of for an American animated film. Because of its rating, the movie doesn’t feel targeted at a specific audience. It also allows certain risks to be taken that most animated films would be too afraid to take.
In most movies about dogs, the world is illustrated as near-utopian. Dogs are given to owners who own a good house and treat the dog well. In the real world however, this is not always the case. Wes Anderson does not shy away from this fact with his approach to writing this film. Dogs are shown fighting each other, caged, and even experimented on. The film has imagery that will likely upset many animal loving viewers.
In spite of its harshness, “Isle of Dogs” still manages to be a heart warming film. The relationship between dogs and humans is explored on both a large and small scale. There are large political questions about the value of dogs, as well as quiet moments where the dogs interact with young Atari.
Every member of the extensive ensemble cast shines in their own way. Brian Cranston plays the leader of the five dog crew who assists Atari. He is the only dog who had not experienced a positive relationship with humans prior to being brought to the island. Therefore, he believes that dogs should learn to rely on each other rather than humans. Every other cast member comes off as memorable due to unique traits or scenes.
Alexandre Desplat conducts a percussive musical score which utilizes foreign instruments. The score is only composed of a strict number of instruments. Because of its simplicity, Desplat’s score is far more memorable than conventional complex musical scores.
“Isle of Dogs” is a film which doesn’t fit into a typical film category or follow a conventional storytelling method. The film has percussive music, refreshing animation, an astonishing cast, and heart warming moments. It is a highly intelligent and unconventional masterpiece.