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Movie Review - Isle of Dogs

In the not too distant future, the Japanese town of Megasaki City is overwhelmed by a pandemic of Snout Fever, a flu like virus that affects dogs. Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura) banishes all dogs from the city; relocating them to "Trash Island", once inhabited, now an abandoned offshore landfill. As a sign of good faith, Mayor Kobayashi led the charge by deporting his dog "Spots" to Trash Island. Spots was the also the personal bodyguard-dog of the Mayor's distant nephew Atari (Koyu Rankin). Heartbroken, Atari steals a small plane and charts a course for Trash Island, in search of his dog Spots.

I'm going to be very honest. I don't like dogs, never have. So watching a story where a boy crash lands on an island, inhabited by only dogs is what I could consider a personal hell. With that said, Wes Anderson's second foray into stop-motion animation isn't as fun as The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), but is smartly presented and full of Anderson's bone dry humour. The title card has a disclaimer that humans will speak in their native languages, with the occasional written translations sprinkled throughout. All dog barking would be converted to English. A pretty well done dance around the perceived language barrier. Featuring an ensemble cast of Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban and many others, Isle of Dogs has more than enough positives to appease the most casual Wes Anderson fans.

The film isn't without its faults. Since I'm not interested in the dogs, it was hard for me to maintain interest with the coming and goings of Trash Island. The love story subplots felt forced, only to be wrapped up with a traditionally happy ending. Once you get over the marvel of the animation style, Isle of Dogs is a love story with political overtones that couldn't hold my interest throughout.

Verdict: C+

Rated: PG-13 @ 101 mins

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