ISLE OF DOGS – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Texas born filmmaker Wes Anderson has another hit to add to his shelf of great and quirky films. He hasn't done an animation since the amazing 2009 film Fantastic Mr. Fox. I know his style of animation using puppets and stop motion takes a long time to create but I can't wait to see what he comes up with next because Isle of Dogs just proves he keeps getting better.
This film has an enviable all-star cast of voices. It starts with an amazing performance of Taiko Drummers which ends with the narrator (Courtney B. Vance) telling us the prologue to our story and why there is hatred for all dogs by a secret clan of cat lovers that goes back hundreds of years. We then pick up our story in a dystopian near-future Japan, where a dog flu virus spreads to all the canine population. The new mayor of Megasaki City, Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura) signs a decree banishing all dogs to Trash Island. The first dog to be banished is Spots (Liev Schreiber), who belonged to Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin) the orphaned nephew and ward of the mayor.
Six months later when all the dogs are on Trash Island, Atari runs away from home and uses a stolen plane to fly to Trash Island to find Spots. After a crash-landing, he’s rescued by a pack of alpha dogs named Rex (Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Duke (Jeff Goldblum), Boss (Bill Murray), and Chief (Bryan Cranston). Everyone but Chief had masters, Chief was a scrungy stray. They go with Atari on his quest to find Spot, all the while evading capture by his uncle’s rescue team and robot warrior dogs.
Meanwhile on the mainland, Professor Watanabe (Akira Ito) and his assistant Yoko Ono (Yoko Ono) find a cure for the dog flu. Unfortunately Kobayashi poisons him so the dogs can remain on the island. All would have gone as planned, if it hadn’t been for the foreign exchange student Tracy Walker (Greta Gerwig), who’s also a journalist for her high school paper. Suspecting a conspiracy, Tracy begins to investigate and take to press her findings.
There’s intrigue, romance, adventure, and lots of laughs in this wonderful film, Isle Of Dogs. I don't want to give away the whole story because there are so many layers to it that it would take me all day. What I do want is for you to go and see this funny film. It’s the kind of movie you’ll want to own and watch over and over again to catch all the little jokes you missed in the background the first time you saw it. I give this movie a solid A rating.
Directed by Wes Anderson
Written By Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, Kunichi Nomura
Selig Rating A
Drama / Comedy
Limited Release March 28th Angelika Film Center Dallas wide March 30th
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Kunichi Nomura, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Akira Ito, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Liev Schreiber
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.