Isle Of Dogs

The Isle of Dogs is an animated film by Wes Anderson, his second foray into the genre; after the Fantastic Mr Fox. The plot focuses on a young boy called Atari, ( Koyu Rankin) as he quests for his lost dog Spots, (Liev Schreiber). At its heart this film is a road film, focusing on the bonds between the characters. Its score is the films the main strength, with the choice of songs often mirroring character relationships. This is shown by the choice of the song, “I won’t hurt you” by the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, reflecting the change in nature of Chief, (Bryan Cranston) going from an angry stray, into Atari’s loyal friend. The other dogs in Chief’s pack are Boss, Duke, King and Rex, (Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban and Edward Norton respectively).The pack are used sparingly never stealing the focus away from Cranston’s Chief, though they do produce some much need wit and charm at times. Outside of the main voice cast, the other voice actors are wasted to various degrees. In certain cases such as Scarlett Johansson’s Nutmeg, they are memorable, despite the short screen time, in other cases like Tilda Swinton’s Oracle, they are a seemingly pointless cameo. The dog’s language is translated into English, with a lot of the humans speaking Japanese, this can be a little jarring but is also quite an interesting stylistic decision. The human side plot about the corruption in the mayor’s office and the hunt for answers by Tracy, (Greta Gerwig), is a little dull, with it being an unwanted distraction away from the main plot. Furthermore, I think this film is considerably darker than most other children’s films, especially Andersons Fantastic Mr Fox. This is best shown during the introductory scene of the main pack where another dog gets maimed. The cinematography is beautiful, with plenty of establishing shots helping to emphasise the desolate, decayed nature of Trash Island. Overall this lacks the heart and soul that made Anderson’s other animated feature so good.
Reviewed by Luke.

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