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Movie Breakdown: Isle Of Dogs

March 23, 2018

Film

Pre-Screening Stance:

It’s a Wes Anderson movie, so of course I’m in.  Also, I’m excited that it’s stop-motion animation, as Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of my favorite films from him.  Also also, Isle Of Dogs screened at SXSW and most people raved about it.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Isle Of Dogs is a bleak film.  Set 20 years in the future, dogs have contracted a terrible flu and thus have been banished to a trash-filled island, where they toil about until they die.  Yikes.  Thankfully though, Wes Anderson’s latest is also a charmer that’s very sweet.  It’s centered around Atari (Koyu Rankin), a determined kid on a mission to save his pup from perishing, but it’s told from the perspective of the dogs that he inadvertently teams up with once arriving on the island.  This means that they don’t understand exactly what he’s saying (and unless you speak Japanese, you won’t either), but the lot of them together decipher his needs and go about assisting him (in the quirkiest, most offbeat ways possible, of course) on his quest to locate his bud, Spots (Liev Schreiber).  Like I noted, it’s an ostensibly sweet story, but boy does it feature some dark stuff.  “Whatever happened to man’s best friend?” is a heart breaker of a line from the film, and I found myself frowning every time some downtrodden dog popped onto the screen.  If you’re thinking this one would be great for kids, I’d probably take notice of the PG-13 rating.  On the flip side of that, this film isn’t solely an adult adventure either, as it seems as though Anderson’s aim is to showcase the bond between a child and a pup.

In all honesty, Isle Of Dogs is a grower.  I certainly think it’s a good film, but there’s some stuff that registered as a miss for me in my initial viewing (the American teenager, the cat backstory), and I’m going to need another viewing or two before I’m willing to say it’s great.  Don’t be afraid to slightly check your expectations before heading to the theater.

One Last Thought:

Pretty much everything in Isle Of Dogs is charming, but my runaway favorite bit is Duke, the dog voiced by Jeff Goldblum.  He loves gossip and always has some rumor or whatnot to share with the group.  This repeatedly made me giggle like a child.

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