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Animation Station: Isle of Dogs (2018)

Written by Film

With the news of a new Wes Anderson movie, The French Dispatch, I started thinking of all the excellent work Anderson has done, and Isle of Dogs (2018) instantly came to mind.

If you aren’t aware of the plot, it’s set in a dystopian future where dogs have a flu-like disease and are separated from humans by being exiled on an island full of rubbish (with the beautiful name Trash Island). In the plot, a young boy called Atari goes on a mission to find his dog, Spots, after he was banished to the island. He then meets a dog called Chief, who helps Atari on the mission. I don’t want the spoil too much of the film, so I’ll leave it there.

Director Wes Anderson is known for his unique cinematic style. Image:IMDB

Firstly, I just want to gush at the animation. Stop-motion is incredible and really, really pays off when it’s done well. We’ve seen it in films like Fantastic Mr Fox as well, but it is nice to know that stop motion isn’t dying as quickly as it seems, and it makes me really happy to see because honestly some of my favourite animated films are stop-motion (Kubo and the Two Strings, Coraline, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Corpse Bride get honourable mentions here).

The casting is also incredible, with stars such as Edward Norton, Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum and Greta Gerwig. Honestly, the casting is pretty perfect because each character has their own quirky personality and each of the voice actors really comes through and shine some of their talent into it. In particular, Bryan Cranston as Chief is a highlight, bringing a very complex dog to life, his journey perfectly executed.

Another thing that really impresses me about this movie is the use of colour. Wes Anderson always uses vivid colours and honestly this film is no different in that sense, with gorgeous landscapes and vivid hues throughout, which really make this dystopian Japan seem more lifelike (and the Trash Island less lifelike with its moe grey tones). You can really see the love put into this film, and the pure amount of days, weeks, months, and even years it must have taken to create and every detail is well worth their time.

A personal highlight of the film is the score by Alexandre Desplat (who has worked with Anderson many times) because it really creates tension, it’s beautifully crafted alongside the scenery and some scenes which may have been throwaway scenes turn out to be the most thrilling because of the music. Or, the lack of music in some scenes, with just the actors speaking to really make you focus on what’s being said and then the music slowly creeps back in afterwards. This film is genius at it’s finest, and even as a cat lover, I still adore Isle of Dogs.

Last modified: 19th February 2020

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