There is just so much to love about Isle Of Dogs, the hilariously and brilliantly done stop-motion animated feature by the eclectic Wes Anderson.
Like his previous animated feature The Fantastic Mr Fox, Anderson manages to pool together a stellar voice cast with Bryan Cranston as the cranky leader of a pack of dogs voiced by Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray and Bob Balaban.
Just the thought of these five stars playing off each other is exciting enough, but that’s not all. Anderson also throws in Scarlett Johansson as a purebred show dog who does absurd tricks, Liev Schreiber as a tough as nails bodyguard dog, and many, many more stars into the mix. There’s even Yoko Ono as an assistant scientist called… Yoko Ono.
Anyway, the premise of the movie is deceptively simple. A dog-flu outbreak is spreading through Japan, causing the mayor of Megasaki City, Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura) to banish all dogs to Trash Island, with the first exile being a dog from his own household – Spots (Schreiber), who is the bodyguard of Kobayashi’s ward, Atari (Koyu Rankin).
Six months later, Trash Island has become a wasteland full of abandoned dogs fighting for garbage scraps to survive. Among them is a pack of dogs comprising leader Chief (Cranston), Duke (Goldblum), Rex (Norton), King (Balaban) and Boss (Murray). When Atari steals a plane and crash-lands on the island to look for Spots, the pack decides to help him, even though Chief is initially reluctant to do so.
Like many of Anderson’s movies, the joy of Isle Of Dogs is listening to all the star voices interacting with one another. The humour and comic timing are almost impeccable, and is further complemented by the remarkable stop-motion animation and eclectic music and sound editing.
It’s hard to take your eyes off the screen, even when there is precious little action involved. Heck, there’s a long segment showing someone making a bento box and nothing else, but the way it is animated is just so fascinating that you wonder what Anderson was thinking when he thought it up (“Hey, let’s make the greatest stop-motion animation of someone making sushi ever and stick it in the movie!”).
In the film, the dogs speak to each other in English, while all the humans speak in Japanese that is translated on screen through translators, subtitles, and even foreign exchange students (don’t ask). This is just one of the quirky touches Anderson adds that makes the movie so fun to watch. Truth be told, he could have made an entire movie featuring his cast barking at each other like dogs, and it would still be entertaining as hell.
If you love dogs, Japan, stop-motion animation and deadpan humour, go watch this. Heck, even if you only love one of these four things, go watch this. You’ll love it, no bones about it.
Catch this movie at Golden Screen Cinemas nationwide. Follow GSC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Isle Of Dogs
Director: Wes Anderson
Voice Cast: Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Courtney B Vance, Fisher Stevens, Harvey Keitel, Liev Schreiber, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, F Murray Abraham, Frank Wood, Kunichi Nomura, Yoko Ono.