Movie Review: “Isle of Dogs”

Tom Capone, Contributing Writer

“Isle of Dogs” is the latest film directed by Wes Anderson. This was a highly anticipated film, just like all of Anderson’s other films, but unfortunately, it mostly missed the mark.

Nonetheless, the stop motion animation in the film is incredible. Each frame is put together with such care, and clearly took an enormous amount of time and effort to create. Anderson’s touch is present in every frame of the movie; each and every one has his unique taste. However, at times it does seem to take presidency over the actual plot of the film.

The plot feels stretched out, to the point where entire storylines could be cut out of the film. A prime example of this is a narrative involving Greta Gerwig’s character, which never amounts to anything significant in terms of the overall storyline.

Anderson made an interesting decision to have almost all of the human characters speak Japanese and let either Gerwig or Francis McDormand’s characters translate. The film’s dogs speak English. This decision, however, does not seem to service any larger idea in the film, but is rather simply a stylistic choice. It would have been better to either have the characters speak solely English or to include subtitles.

Furthermore, just like most of Anderson’s recent films, it has a huge A-List cast. It includes Anderson regulars like Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, and Ed Norton, as well as Anderson new comers such as Bryan Cranston, Greta Gerwig, Francis McDormand, and Scarlet Johansson. At times, it can feel like you are trying to guess who is speaking instead of focusing on the story.

“Isle of Dogs” is the first Anderson movie where it feels like his style has taken over the story. The film feels like a half-hour long short film that had an extra hour put into it so that it would be a feature length film.

At the same time, it cannot be understated how good the stop motion animation is in the film. The genre of stop motion as a whole is incredibly underrated; it takes an enormous amount of effort to pull off, something that Anderson clearly put into each and every frame of the film. Unfortunately, he did not seem to put that same effort into the story.

“Isle of Dogs” does not live up to the hype; it takes an interesting idea and fails to deliver on its potential. However, the film can still be enjoyable to watch, just not in the usual ways Anderson’s movies are.

“Isle of Dogs” is an okay Wes Anderson film, but it won’t be remembered in five years. “Isle of Dogs” is a five and a half out of ten.

 

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