Isle of Dogs

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Isle of Dogs (2018)

Directed by Wes Anderson

Story by Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, Kunichi Nomura

Screenplay by Wes Anderson

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Liev Schreiber

Atari (Rankin) goes on a wild journey through an island of trash in search of his devoted dog (Schreiber).

Wes Anderson (Rushmore) is no stranger to thinking outside the box. His previous films have tackled some unique material with an artistic flair that sets his work apart. This time he teamed up with Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom), Jason Schwartzman (The Grand Budapest Hotel), and Kunichi Nomura (Lost in Translation) to craft his story. The cast of this one, like all of Anderson’s work, features a long list of very talented people. The voice actors in this one include Bryan Cranston (Argo), Koyu Rankin (Juken), Edward Norton (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)), Bill Murray (Ghostbusters), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park), Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), and Liev Schreiber (Spotlight).

This is a whimsical and heartfelt story built within a unique version of Japanese culture. The writing sets up the story through a number of different devices that are interesting and fun. The dialogue is witty and humorous, but also finds ways to dig deep into emotion. The characters are really wonderful as well. Each character has their own personality, which helps to build a very rich story.

There are some nice twists throughout the movie, but this one doesn’t try too hard. Instead, this one stays on track and focuses on the unique journey of the central characters. Sometimes a great story works with a simple and honest premise. This one can be summed up with the following line of dialogue: “…he’s a twelve-year-old boy, dogs love those.”

The cast of this movie must have enjoyed creating something so unique and fun. The central characters all have moments where they really stand out. I can honestly say that it would be impossible to highlight any one of the stars. The performances from the entire cast are great, and the combined effort adds so much to the movie. The actors all handled the emotional moments with the same amount of success as the funny ones. This leaves the movie filled with balanced performances that bring the unique characters to life.

The animation work done in Isle of Dogs gives a unique feel to the story. The characters are built with unique physical attributes that add a lot to the movie when combined with the excellent voice work. The visuals are dynamic thanks to great camera placement. The color choices also help to give this one great visual richness. The movie also has a wonderful score, composed by Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water). Overall, this is a wonderfully crafted movie that works on every level.

This is an easy film to recommend since it works with such a basic story that touches on real emotion. While the animation might not work for everyone, I think it’s the kind of movie even those people might want to see. I would also suggest this to anyone looking for something unique and different. In a world of sequels and remakes, this is entirely new. Fans of the stars or Wes Anderson need to check this one out. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 101 Minutes

The movie might not be available yet, but you can grab a copy of the soundtrack. Click on the image below for more information.

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