By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton
Since the release of Wes Anderson’s animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox, fans have waited for the day that the King of Indie would release another aesthetically stunning stop-motion flick. Well, that time has finally arrived and soon it will capture the hearts of hipsters and dog lovers alike.
Based in the fictional Japanese city of Megasaki, the 12 year old Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin) makes the brave journey of searching for his dog after all canines are deported to the secluded “Trash Island” due to the threat of dog flu. While on the waste dump, he meets a group of Alpha dogs including the stray, Chief (Bryan Cranston), the lone wolf who bites when shown affection.
Despite being different species, the two characters are very much alike. Both are lost orphans who constantly seek belonging, either in people or pets. Atari found a home in his best friend, Spots (Liev Schreiber), when he lost his own. Chief, coming from nothing, found himself in a strong bond with the pack that provided him with purpose. At first distant, the two bond over their lonesomeness while Chief also overcomes his struggles with receiving kindness.
While Anderson’s style can come off as inauthentic to any type of behavior, it allows the film to eliminate what makes humans and animals different and brings them to the same level. The true message and heart rests in the connection between these two lonely characters when they’re both faced with the threat of losing security and friendship. This could happen between any two humans but Anderson further proves that cinematic stories like these can happen between anyone. It isn’t called “a man’s best friend” for nothing.
Between the splendid animation and witty dialogue, Isle of Dogs shines in its original storytelling while Anderson teaches us an important lesson about compassion and camaraderie: we all have the capacity to give and receive friendship even when we feel the most alone.
My Rating: 87.5%