Arts and Culture

Isle of Dogs: Movie Review

The latest Wes Anderson film, “Isle of Dogs”, is as strange as one might expect from the acclaimed director. This stop-motion animation has a major star-studded voice cast, an interesting story, and offbeat humor.

The wide range of talent in the acting department is a big selling point. Bryan Cranston voices the lead dog, Chief, and he proves that even when voicing an animated character, he is able to create a compelling personality. The rest of the impressive cast consists of Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, F. Murray Abraham, Scarlett Johansson and Frances McDormand. But in the end, Cranston’s character steals the show.

The story is very original. In the near future, a canine flu forces humanity to banish all dogs to a landfill island. When these intelligent dogs meet a young boy who lands on the island, they help him on a quest to search for his lost pet. Anderson is known for his very unique directing style, and “Isle of Dogs” contains all of his trademarks. Sometimes they work very well and other times not so much.

The movie moves at a brisk pace and is consistently entertaining. It is an aesthetically beautiful film with impressive animation and colorful locations. The universe the movie takes place in is very detailed and creative. The original score by Alexandre Desplat is great and utilizes a multitude of Asian drums that nicely fit the setting.

Though Wes Anderson’s unique style is the film’s greatest strength, it is also its greatest weakness. The key word to describe this film’s issues: overkill. There is an overabundance of characters, and most are barely given any development. The main boy and dog have a very touching relationship, but all the background characters are very static. Anderson also tries to incorporate too many plotlines in a failed attempt to get more out of this simple plot than he could. The constant over explanation of the plot and pointless flashbacks therefore prevent this from being a better and more focused story.

Overall, “Isle of Dogs” is a fun, fast-paced and entertaining adventure that marks another success for Wes Anderson. The time and dedication put into the animation is commendable, and most people will find something to enjoy out of this oddly engaging cinematic experience.

Grade: 7/10