“Isle of Dogs” barks up the right tree

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Posted Sun, Apr 22, 2018

 “Isle of Dogs” is Wes Anderson’s second animated feature film which he produced, wrote and directed. Anderson is most known for a variety of independent award-winning comedy/drama such as “The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001), “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012) and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014). Similar to Tim Burton, Anderson has a love for the lost art of stop-motion animation as demonstrated with his first witty animated movie “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009), which won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.  

Although “Isle of Dogs” may seem like an adorable children film, some parents may not wish to take their kids to see this one. It’s more of a dark comedy filled with political undertones about dictatorship and the power of government. For all intent purposes, the dog’s dialogue is in English, while all the human characters spoke Japanese.

In Megasaki City, Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura) decides to exploit an outbreak of a canine flu virus to his advantage, simply because he doesn’t like dogs. He uses the media as a tool of propaganda, spreading fear that the virus is an epidemic that could spread to humans, merely as an effort to rid the land of all dogs. They are forced to live in a penal colony and in exile on Trash Island. Spots (Liev Schreiber) is the first dog to be sent there who belongs to 12-year-old Atari Kobayashi, the orphaned nephew of Mayor Kobayashi. Consequently, Atari travels to Trash Island in a hijacked plane in hopes to find Spots and bring him back home.

“Isle of Dogs” animated feature boasts an all-star cast of voice actors with talents such as Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Yoko Ono, Tilda Swinton and many more. Bryan Cranston plays the main top dog named Chief, and Scarlett Johansson plays his love interest, a sweet, well-behaved dog who goes by Nutmeg.

“Isle of Dogs” is sure to delight Wes Anderson fans, not falling short of his one of a kind, cutting edge satire. Although his movies tend to share a few common denominators such as using many of the same actors, each film is unique and different in its own way. 

Some may find the story slightly dark in nature, but “Isle of Dogs” is also filled with moments of hope and inspiration. Ultimately, it’s about a boy’s love for his dog and how far he’s willing to go to get him back. It’s an adventurous journey of newfound friendships who form an alliance to overcome overwhelming odds in hopes to reverse poor decisions made by a governing official. The scenes are beautifully crafted together to represent a dystopian, futuristic Japan and is worth a watch.

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Kavann Tok

About Kavann Tok

Kavann Tok is a freelance Denver-area journalist. Website: https://issuu.com/kavanntok

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