Thursday, February 28, 2019

Isle of Dogs 2018 directed by Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson's animated film is more than a little odd. It is also more than a little amusing, intriguing and daring in its presentation.  It is visually stunning as one might expect from any of his films at this point but it also takes some risks by having some of the dialog in Japanese and remain untranslated, letting non-speakers having the figure out what is going on visually.  While some people seemed to think this was "cultural appropriation" a term with no specific meaning anyone can seem to define these days, I would argue it might be the opposite as it puts the target audience (English speakers) in the position of the foreigner having to parse out what is being in said in a place they do not understand the language.

The story is simple enough. A mean dictator type mayor is holding on to power by making dogs the enemy of the people, sending them to a trash island and demonizing them at every turn. His young ward, however, has flown himself to the island to search for the dog who was charged with protecting him and much of the film is concerned with the search for the dog by the boy and the search for the boy by the government. Little plot details liekthe young girl who is trying to prove the dogs are not dangerous and in the process falls in love with the young boy and the lives of the dogs move the film along at a good pace and keep it lively. The animation is great and unique in its application. The voice actors are pretty good, including Yoko Ono! There are many twists and turns and revelations along the way.

One thing to note: this is not a children's film by any means. There is violence they might find a little shocking and the plot gets pretty dense in parts, not to mention people and dogs get killed and die, throughout.

So while not for everyone, I highly recommend at least giving this movie a try.

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