Isle of Dogs (2018)


Isle of Dogs is a 2018 stop-motion animated film directed by Wes Anderson. The film’ cast includes Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Greta Gerwig, Courtney B. Vance, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand, Liev Schreiber, Scarlett Johansson, F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton and Yoko Ono.

The film is set in a dystopian near future Japan about a boy searching for his dog after the species has been sent to an island after the outbreak of canine flu. Much of the film is in Japanese (of course), with English subtitles, the dogs speak English.

Unlike Wes Anderson’s other stop-motion film Fantastic Mr. Fox, this one is geared towards an older audience. Although this film is filled with dictatorship and authoritarian characters, it also has clever jokes, compassion and a completely original story. Although I did get rather bored in the beginning of this film, it does pick up and become only a little more intriguing.

Being a big Wes Anderson fan, I was excited to see this one, but I was sadly disappointed that it wasn’t as entertaining as I had expected. It was very slow for the first part of the film and focused too much on the leaders and the other dogs, but not enough on the boy looking for his dog, or even just the dog. I did however love the animation, the clever humor and the story itself. Knowing the plot of this film, I was expecting something exciting and I was going to love and that’s not the case.

Wes Anderson is a one of a kind director, there’s no one like him. With all the big name stars in this film, one would envision something wildly entertaining, not something lacking in that department. You’d think it was going to be a spectacular film, not one that a person to tears at times. I found myself struggling to get through this movie. I really wanted to say it was outstanding, but I only feel it is just okay. I have thought, “Did Wes Anderson lose his touch?”

Storywise, this film is so creative and has some Wes bits thrown in here and there. The main characters are great, so is the voicing of them. The animation is equally great. Why couldn’t the actual film be great as well? Maybe to some it is, but I didn’t get that vibe. The film seems a lot shorter for a Wes film and seemed to end in almost a snap. I can’t see this being nominated for Best Animated Film at The Oscars, But you never know.

Overall, I was wanted more from this film, not to be so bored and only laugh a few times, but to be engaged in something I could give two thumbs up. My thumbs are sideways, for just an okay film. I never suspected a Wes Anderson production, to be subpar. I hope he gets touch back and continues to make his entertaining films. 13+ 3/5


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