When The Grand Budapest Hotel came out in 2014, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect of the movie. The trailer for the movie was lighthearted in an almost satirical way, certainly intending to poke fun at overdone movie tropes and cliches. As a result of Anderson’s genius writing and directing skills, a satisfyingly awkward and hilariously off-beat humored masterpiece was found in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Backed by a star-spangled cast and an eerily ingenious stop-motion animation, Isle of Dogs sinks its teeth deep into Anderson’s unique writing and directing style, offering more of the same content without overdoing it.
Okay, so, when I was watching the trailer for Isle of Dogs, there were three main things that captured my interest: One, as mentioned before, the director of the film is Wes Anderson. Two, the amazing, star-studded cast of the film, featuring a ton of Hollywood A-listers such as Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, and several others. Finally, the last aspect of the movie that really hooked me is the uniquely creepy and equally quirky stop-motion animation of the film. As soon as the trailer finished, I knew I had to see the movie.
Isle of Dogs takes place in future Japan, a nation that has been controlled by the Kobayashi dynasty for centuries. The current mayor of Megasaki City, Mayor Kobayashi (surprise) issues a decree to send all of the city’s dogs to a trash island (due to a sudden outbreak of canine flu), which has been aptly named the Isle of Dogs. Because of its absurd and incredibly unique plot, the movie offers an unparalleled sense of off-beat humor that leaves its viewers both uncomfortable and satisfied in an almost guilty way.
The soundtrack of the movie is well-written and compliments Wes Anderson’s directing and writing perfectly, which is no surprise, given the fact that the score was composed by Alexandre Desplat, who has been working with Anderson on his films for years. The soundtrack is eerie and ominous in many ways, shrouding an already unpredictable movie in a veil of suspense and discomfort.
The voice acting is absolutely magnificent. Bryan Cranston’s character, Chief, spearheads the dialogue and keeps the viewers engaged with his typical rugged voice. Edward Norton’s character Rex also provides a refreshing sense of dry humor. Although I know practically no Japanese, I can say that the Japanese voice actors also shine through their performances, especially the voice actors for Atari and Mayor Kobayashi.
One thing that I might mention is that although this is an animated movie, I wouldn’t classify it as a kid’s movie. There are some moments that include jarring violence as well as crude humor, and I wouldn’t suggest taking kids to it if they’re not already used to those aspects of film.
Overall, those who enjoy films like Wes Anderson’s that feature awkward and dark humored aspects of film behind a creepy yet wonderful animation will find exactly what they’re looking for in Isle of Dogs.