Isle of Dogs (2018) – We Love Dogs

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson

A resentment from, before, the age of obedience was burning on. A corrupt mayor in Megasaki, Japan, Mr. Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura), a very anti-dog. He propagated throwing away all of the dog species to trash island. He alienates those who no longer want and everyone now loves cats. Dogs are dirty, full of wounds, and carry lots of infectious diseases. Quoted by Mr. Kobayashi. For Kobayashi, he used all kinds of fears to be able to control the understanding of the Megasaki inhabitants. In the end, his campaign was successful and Megasaki was clean of dogs. They all finally lived on the trash island, scavenging leftovers, and no one cared anymore.

Atari (Koyu Rankin) is a young child and the only one who is desperate to go to the island to find his dog. By driving a plane to meet Spots (Liev Schreiber), the plane crashed. Atari made an emergency landing but he is still alive. In the middle of the island, there are five dogs that find the injured Atari. The dogs such as Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Duke (Jeff Goldblum), and Boss (Bill Murray). Feeling sorry for Atari, they all finally agreed to accompany Atari to look for the old Spots who were no longer seen.

Passion is the main key to how work can be accepted or not. If we have passion, results would never betray us. Wes Anderson is the director with his own trademark. After “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, this time through stop-motion animation, he introduced Japanese culture and a love-letter to dogs. In fact, saying “Isle of Dogs” quickly and repeatedly sounds like “I love dogs”.

Wes Anderson built the future Japanese world from his own imagination. Personally, I like dogs but more into cats. Anyone who watches it, whether he likes dogs or cats, “Isle of Dogs” puts dogs in the center of the universe. The dogs are very furry and that’s the way I think this film. There is so much furry on dogs. Kobayashi himself wants to make Japan as a cat paradise instead of dogs. This film puts our hearts to dogs because dogs are the main stage. They aren’t just a thing and not even dogs, they are the same as us. They are no less part of a family. Dogs connect everyone in this universe.

3D computer animation has become increasingly rapid through these modern technologies. However, “Isle of Dogs” has a unique decision in an animation. All of the animal animations including the sushi scene were rendered very well even amazing. Tangled feathers, details, and all kinds of stuff, they don’t block each other further. This film, fairly, makes us pervade and appreciate how hard their efforts and hard work are. They show a real passion without a gimmick.

Wes Anderson also uses image symmetrical compositions. All the shots in this film seem balanced. A scene of a dog silhouette for example. A dog sees its shadow of another unknown dog. From a distance, there was the beauty of the stop-motion behind the motion scenes themselves. It’s rough but gentle and beautiful.

The five dogs have their own synonym names. They have many backgrounds from their former owners. However, Bryan Cranston as Chief is a dog whose a unique background. Cranston’s performance as Chief was really highlighted. We easily sympathize with this leader who turns out nothing. Chief, despite being arrogant and biting, he prefers to eat garbage rather than dog biscuits. He was so aggressive to humans and certainly to Atari. The chemistry between the two is very satisfying and its the closest one.

This movie uses a language barrier where there are no subtitles for Japanese-speaking characters. You could say, this choice was strange but at the same time, it was unique. Almost every Japanese character is only shown in one-dimensional. It’s like we, as audiences, see them from the dogs’ point of view. These dogs use English and this is what makes it unique. We understand from a dog’s point of view that we cannot understand what human characters say. They are just dialogue from this point of view. Instead, we see them using the dogs’ viewpoint. The rest, Scarlett Johansson as Nutmeg is the interpreter to Japanese people.

In addition to the chemistry between the dogs and Atari, the supporting characters didn’t require a lot of memorable things. Character as important as Mr. Kobayashi isn’t too depth. The sub-plot of Greta Gerwig as Tracy Walker as a dog rescue activist, I think, is less important. I don’t care about the controversy in this film. I think Greta Gerwig’s character is nothing more than a “character” like a character. “Isle of Dogs” has various suspensions that fill the duration of the story at a steady pace. Alexandre Desplat’s score worked for hand in hand, building riveting scenes. On the other hand, this film has a lot of flashbacks it ruined the film’s own tone. The impression, then, becomes slow and doesn’t produce parallel stories.

“Isle of Dogs” has captivating animation and a remarkable achievement in terms of visual. Hard work was finally delivered through frame by frame. All the voice actors in this film seem to have their own fairy tales. Its impression comes alive thanks to strong dog characters. In this modern era, this kind of animation is what we need. Aside from a slightly lame story, Wes Anderson managed to make his own fantasy world in its own concept.