After four years in hibernation, Wes Anderson returned in 2018 with his second stop-motion animated movie, Isle of Dogs. The beautifully animated film takes us on a trip to a dystopian version of Japan where the influenza virus has spread rapidly through the dog population. As a result, humans are forced to exile man’s best friend to Trash Island to avoid contracting the disease.
However, this decision was not made without ill motives. The mayor of Megasaki City, Kenji Kobayashi, who signs the decree sending all dogs to the island, has ulterior plans of his own.
The plot takes off as Atari steals a small plane and makes his way to the island to find his missing dog, Spots. There, he befriends a number of dogs, including Chief, Rex, and Duke that aide him in his search. Through various twists and turns, mayor Kobayashi’s plot is unfurled and the movie turns into a chase as Atari and his companion dogs try to stave off the mayor’s diabolical robot dogs.
Beyond the setting, Isle of Dogs took great strides to capture a faithful portrait of Japanese culture right down to the terrific score by Academy Award winner Alexandre Desplat.
What Anderson began with 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, he expands upon with Isle of Dogs. Nowadays we are accustomed to beautiful 3D animation from Pixar, but Anderson’s newest movie uses stop-motion to deliver a ruggedness that is unmistakably marvelous.
From the dog fur to the human skin tone, this is unlike any other animated movie you’ve seen. It accomplishes something similar to what Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse did, another entry in our “Best of” series, and that is deliver a unique take on animation. It’s a nice departure from the CGI format we’re accustomed to.
Isle of Dogs unfortunately did not prove to be a hit at the box office, which is sad. More people should get the opportunity to experience this movie and we hope they do now that it is available for purchase and rental.
Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs is now a favorite to nab a Best Animated Feature nomination at the Academy Awards and we wouldn’t be surprised if it earned a few other nominations as well.
- Release date: March 23, 2018
- Box office: $64 million
- Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%
- Director: Wes Anderson
- Starring: Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham
- Buy: Amazon