Isle of Dogs – Movie Review

Isle of Dogs – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 13 April 2018

Director Wes Anderson’s first feature since 2014’s Grand Budapest Hotel and first animated feature since 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox shows the director in top form. Budapest was a dazzling live-action delight, a movie that dripped with his specific symmetrical and quirky style.

Isle of Dogs sees the director using the even greater control over every aspect of the presentation afforded by animation to tighten his style without losing it’s potency. Famous actors – particularly Anderson’s semi-regulars – can’t simply exist silently for long stretches of screen time without feeling wasted. In Isle of Dogs, nothing is wasted. While Bryan Cranston’s Chief may have the lion’s share of the overall lines, dogs voiced by Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban and many others are often silently reacting and emoting on-screen. When one of these less talkative dogs speaks it’s always a fun reminder that, yes, that’s certainly Jeff Goldblum and so forth.

Not all animation is for kids, and this PG-13 movie has a few unsettling moments of painstakingly animated gore, a realistically cruel sushi preparation, and some violence against adorable dogs. There are people who have a stronger reaction to bad things happening to animals on film than humans, and the fact that these are all animated creatures will do little in the moment. But there are certainly children and adults alike who will enjoy the movie that dares to be a bit dark. (Or should I say “biting?”)

Isle of Dogs does the impossible and continues the upward trajectory for Wes Anderson. Highly recommended.

Chris and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car:

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