On the surface, it seems like Wes Anderson’s next directorial venture, the stop-motion animation flick that is Isle Of Dogs, is a sweet and innocent film. The story of the movie, as the trailer might have perhaps already suggested, is that of a bunch of dogs who have been abandoned and dumped at a place called Trash Island. Within no time, the gang of unwanted mutts that now reside on Trash Island gets visited by Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin), an orphaned 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi, who lands on Trash Island in a miniature plane. Atari has visited Trash Island with one goal: To find his bodyguard dog Spots (Liev Schreiber), who is supposedly the first dog to have been dumped on the island after the breakout of the canine flu in the city of Megasaki, a fictional town situated in a dystopian Japan. Within no time, Atari embarks on a journey to find his old pal and has the original four-legged habitants of Trash Island, namely Chief (Bryan Cranston), Duke (Jeff Goldblum), Boss (Bill Murray), Rex(Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Nutmeg (Scarlett Johansson) and many others by his side.
The premise of the film may also make for a wonderful Disney movie, but Wes Anderson is known to do things differently. In Isle Of Dogs, dogs are not always cute and cuddly here, they are fighters, survivors and don’t even look or smell nice. Here, certain images are unsettling and yes, Wes Anderson shows a near-perfect kidney transplant in one scene. You get the idea by now. As far as the lead cast is concerned, Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum and Edward Norton clearly steal the show as the voices of Chief, Duke and Rex respectively and Liev Schreiber’s Spots is clearly the star of the second half, but, there are many other characters that are worth mentioning here. Unfortunately, Scarlett Johansson and other female leads don’t have much to do. But, the film has its heart in the right place. Given the kind of content, the audience may be taken by surprise, to say the least, but, there’s some kind of sweetness to the kind of strangeness that Isle Of Dogs has.
Isle Of Dogs, overall, is really funny, touching and full of heartfelt warmth and wit. It is indeed a must watch for all the dog lovers. This can very well be considered as Anderson’s boldest, weirdest and probably his most daring outing to date.
We at Bollyworm give it 4/5 stars!