Welcome to the Isle of Dogs


C. Stone

Isle of Dogs Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Gunner Bryson, Staff Writer

“Isle of Dogs,” directed by Wes Anderson, is a spectacular film that is both witty and smart. What is there not to say about this movie? The cinematography is great, the casting is amazing, the animation is spectacular, and the soundtrack is great, among other things. I personally love this movie, and it’s probably my favorite movie of all time, as of writing this. 

The plot of this movie is very interesting as it uses the “Old Man goes on an adventure with slightly annoying kid” narrative trope, as you may have seen in “Up” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.”  After an executive decree from Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura) sends all dogs to Trash Island, 12-year old Atari (Koyu Rankin) sets off to the island to find his bodyguard dog, Spots. Once on the island, he meets a pack of dogs that help him find his bodyguard dog. Chief, voiced by Bryan Cranston, is one of my favorite characters in this movie, in addition to all of the other dogs in the pack. Each one takes after their owners, and it makes every character unique. For instance, Boss (Bill Murray), who was a baseball mascot, makes a lot of references to baseball, and King (Bob Balaban) was a commercial dog, and because of this he is very pompous. All the little minute details of the movie like seeing the wind move and water splashing in stop motion make it all the more satisfying to watch.

One of the best things about this movie is the world that has been created. Often in stop-motion films, the world-building usually is the best thing, aside from the animation. The film takes place in the futuristic Japanese city known as Megasaki. Megasaki is very big and colorful; it contrasts with the gross and dark tone of Trash Island, which is where the dogs go in this movie. The classic “Wes Anderson” style of shooting is a mainstay in this movie. There are countless shots that are perfectly framed with the subject of the shot always in the middle. Of course, as is usally the case in Wes Anderson movies, the cast is star studded, and “Isle of Dogs” is no exception. The film stars Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Bob Balaban, Greta Gerwig, and Liev Schreiber. Every one of these actors give an amazing performance, and you can tell a lot of emotion and thought went into them. The performances complement Wes Anderson’s writing and directing by giving very deadpan but comedic performances. Often the actors will sound very serious, but the writing will be kind of goofy.  The soundtrack is also not something to look over. There are so many different authentic Japanese sounds within this soundtrack composed by Alexandre Despat. The wind sounds and percussion are an overall great addition to this already great movie. I would definitely recommend this movie to anybody that wants to see a great movie with a lot of fantastic qualities.