For the latest installment in his cinematic universe, Wes Anderson has unraveled the stop-motion animation, “Isle of Dogs,” in which he embraces the essence of youthful imagination in a world filled with notions unlike any other. Anderson takes the dark concept of a dog-vacant society and blends it together with a venturesome endeavour made up of five furry companions who come to the aid of a 12-year-old boy, Atari.
Interestingly enough, when you say “Isle of Dogs” quickly, it comes out as “I love dogs” and Anderson does well in guiding us through the canine-passionate voyage. The four-legged mutts, which typically hold background roles, are at the forefront of this cinematic extravaganza. Among it’s opening sequences, the film introduces a community which has just banished dogs to a trash-filled island. Atari, voiced by Koyu Rankin, as he embarks on a quest to find his once trusty companion, Spots (Liev Schreiber) finds himself encountering the rancid, garbage pervaded isolation. However, he also meets abandoned dogs, Duke (Jeff Goldblum), King (Bob Balaban), Rex (Edward Norton), Boss (Bill Murray) and Chief (Bryan Cranston) who accompany him on the journey.
Anderson has grounded himself in taking fascinating worlds from his imaginations filled with spontaneity and creativity to present them to audiences all around and expresses them in fantastic manners. With cartoonish and rapid fight sequences and silky cinematography for the canine romance between Chief and Nutmeg (Scarlett Johansson) captures the essence of filmmaking in unorthodox and fun ways. The combination of Japanese culture woven together with Anderson’s compositional aesthetic make for grand moments which are pretty to the eye. His cinematography is best known for the meticulously chosen imagery and quirky shots which are used frequently throughout this film. His irreplicable use of stop motion and styles are so smoothly inserted throughout “Isle of Dogs” which are what make the film unique
“Isle of Dogs” makes for a joyous adventure. The beauty of a film like this, as with most Wes Anderson films, is its ability to encapsulate a variety of emotions meshed with societal concepts which raise awareness in a multitude of ways. The simple idea of helping an outcast group merge together with society is the movie’s main premise –– and has always been a prevalent topic in the societal climate of most eras throughout history. Throughout, Anderson exemplifies how to infuse such discussions in a not too overwhelming manner, which does not tarnish the atmosphere that he develops with the remaining entirety of the film.
Atari is a character whom is somewhat naive but is also just a kid. And as any other kid, he is curious about the world. Anderson uses his power to test the limitations which restrict the young mind. Thinking about the childhood, playground moments where I stood on top of the highest platform of the jungle gym and pretended to take off on a rocket ship are brought to life by Anderson.
Obviously, dogs don’t actually speak English (although Anderson does his best in translating barks), which is what makes the film so fun and sets it apart from other “man’s best friend” flicks. Hearing the voices of big time actors and actresses such as Murray and Johansson was incredibly amusing, and the idea in and of itself sounds entertaining. Nevertheless, as pets which become close to humans, these animals have such beautiful ways of communicating to the world. The plot emphasizes the four-legged playmates’ capabilities to make a connection with humans. The relatability of these elements are what render viewers vulnerable to the emotion-evoking moments.
“Isle of Dogs,” serves as a reflection of Anderson’s inquisitive perspective of the world. The simplicity of the ideas which linger throughout his mind are brought to light on the big screen and in the funnest of ways. Anderson does not hesitate with the creation of his plots and as long as this remains the case, he will keep audiences howling with joy.