‘Isle of Dogs’ captivates and delights its audience in typical Wes Anderson fashion


Chief (Bryan Cranston) and Atari (Koyu Rankin) embrace each other in the film, “Isle of Dogs.” Fox Searchlight Website Photo

With its exceptional writing and wonderful vocal performances, “Isle of Dogs” is one of Wes Anderson’s best films.

Anderson, a writer, producer and director of Isle of Dogs, has established himself in modern cinema with his unique artistic style. With notable films like “The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001), “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009) and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014), Anderson is a favorite among film lovers.

The Academy Award nominated-director delivers yet another cinematic masterpiece with “Isle of Dogs.”

Megasaki City, a fictional Japanese city, is plagued with a flu outbreak caused by the overpopulation of dogs. When all the dogs of the city are exiled to a trash-ridden island offshore, 12-year-old Atari (Koyu Rankin) sets off to the island to find Spots (Liev Schreiber), his loyal bodyguard-dog. With the help of other exiled dogs, Atari sets out to search for Spots and learn the true nature of the banishment of the canines.

The writing that went into the film is nothing short of impeccable. The dialogue between characters is well written, entertaining and engages the audience throughout the film and never has a dull moment.

“Isle of Dogs” features a large ensemble cast with some notable names, such as frequent Anderson collaborator Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand and Bryan Cranston. Each member of this diverse cast brings something unique to their role, creating well-rounded characters that never bore the audience nor negatively affect the overall narrative and plot.

This film marks Wes Anderson’s second stop-motion animated film, his first being “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” When working in animation, directors and writers have all the tools available to truly express and establish their artistic direction, and Anderson does just that with “Isle of Dogs.”

The visuals, set designs, character designs, color schemes and overall artistic aesthetic delivers visuals that are just as enthralling as the narrative itself.

The story itself is also very special. In “Isle of Dogs,” Anderson delivers a heartwarming story about the relationship between humans and their pet canines. The bond that grows between Atari and the exiled dogs was quite an emotional arc.

Most people can relate to having a special bond with a dog. There’s truth to the idiom that dogs are “man’s best friend” and “Isle of Dogs” really captures the special bond that humans have created with their canine counterparts.

Many animated films in mainstream cinema appeal only to younger audiences. Pixar Animation Studios is for the most part, one of the only animation studios that can make films with the emotional power to captivate anyone, regardless of age or background.

As evident with “Isle of Dogs” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” before it, Anderson can also make a well-rounded animated feature that can appeal to anyone. However, unlike Pixar, Anderson does not make new films every year.

With that said, and with how much cinematic integrity and value “Isle of Dogs” carries, this film will certainly be a front-runner for “Best Animated Feature” at next year’s Academy Awards.

Anderson never disappoints. His unique cinematic style, quirky artistic aesthetic and genuine, sincere narratives fill his films with something special and“Isle of Dogs” is no exception.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.