‘Isle of Dogs’ raises the ruff on storytelling

New claymation movie brings creativity to plot

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‘Isle of Dogs’ raises the ruff on storytelling

Fair use from Fox Searchlight Pictures

Fair use from Fox Searchlight Pictures

Fair use from Fox Searchlight Pictures

Fair use from Fox Searchlight Pictures

Evelyn Nelson

Heading into the theater, I did not know what to expect when my friends decided to see “Isle of Dogs.” Being one of the first Wes Anderson films I have seen, I came in with a positive mindset. Yet not knowing much about Anderson’s style gave me a sense of hesitancy. Within just the first five minutes of the movie, my perspective changed completely. I was surprised by a rollercoaster storyline alongside comedic actors, plus the heartfelt relationship between a young boy and man’s best friend. “Isle of Dogs” is an informative, action-packed, and artistic movie all in one.

The film surrounds the story of Megasaki City in Japan, where all canine pets have been exiled to a waste dump named Trash Island. Young Atari (Koyu Rankin), the nephew of Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura), sets off in a miniature plane to rescue his exiled guard dog Spots (Liev Schreiber). With the help of his newfound dog friends on Trash Island, Atari begins his epic journey, deciding the fate of Megasaki City and the future of all dogs.

The way the scenery was very realistic to Japanese culture and the country’s daily lifestyle was a great touch to the filmmaking. It was clear that a lot of time and care was spent on creating the most realistic visual depiction of the culture.”

— Evelyn Nelson

“Isle of Dogs” is a great movie for those who search for a twist on the common cinema show. The movie, being completely made through claymation, provides a new appreciation on how much time it takes to create a storyline that truly connects with the audience. Despite being claymation, the interaction between characters seemed as if it was real life. This film being only Wes Anderson’s second claymation film is proof that his talents are extraordinary enough for the big screen. The way the scenery was very realistic to Japanese culture and the country’s daily lifestyle was a great touch to the filmmaking. It was clear that a lot of time and care was spent on creating the most realistic visual depiction of the culture. It allowed me to be even more immersed in the movie as if I was truly there with the characters.

What made the movie the most engaging was the fun and almost comedic moments despite the deeper topics in the film. The movie surrounds ideas of government control and persuasion over a population. However, the touch of fantasy with talking dogs gives a light-hearted spin for audience members of any age. Dog pack members Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Boss (Bill Murray) and Duke (Jeff Goldblum) all interacted in fun ways and created a real connection with audience members. As well as the engaging themes of the movie, the concept of Japanese actors was something I had never seen before. While the dogs spoke in English, the rest of the cast and characters spoke primarily in Japanese. Demonstrating both the culture and language in a creative way.

One aspect that I wish would have been presented more throughout the film was a more in-depth background story of Atari’s family and past. The relationship with both his parents and uncle, Mayor Kobayashi was only briefly touched on in the film. Having more of Atari’s backstory could have provided an even more relatable character for audience members.

Overall, “Isle of Dogs” was a great movie for all ages. While discussing topics of the real world, a heartfelt story was brought along with fun characters to tell it. This is one of the better animation style movies I have seen this year, and I recommend the movie to lovers of creative art, but also anyone who loves a man’s best friend storyline.

“Isle of Dogs”:
★★★★☆

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