Isle of Dogs Review

Isle of Dogs

There are two kinds of people in this world: dog people, and cat people. 

And I am a cat person. 

I know they’re manipulative little bastards who sleep all day, are too smart for their own good and whose curiosity is forever getting them into trouble.

I can relate to that.

Better than being some whiny, co-dependent little bitch who can’t even take a solitary step or shit by themselves.

But enough about dog owners.

Alas, it seems one of my favourite directors – the peerless Wes Anderson – might just be a dog person, judging by his latest stop motion feature, Isle of Dogs.

The year is, well, twenty years in the future and the geographical loci is Japan, where Megasaki City is in the grip of some canine shaped mania.

Dog flu has ripped through the metropolis, forcing Mayor Kobayashi to do the only sensible thing – ban all canines from the city and dump the feral bastards on the nearby trash island, which is exactly as it sounds.

He’s got my vote.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for his nephew Atari who’s been separated from his beloved guard dog – who’s most certainly not a pet – Spots.

What’s a 12-year-old to do?

Other than steal a plane and launch a suicidal rescue mission to the Isle of Dogs, where he may or may not come face to snout with a pack of rabid canines.

And yes, I know dogs don’t technically have snouts – but this is my film review, and I’m a cat person… so snouts it is.

Following on from the appropriately monikered Fantastic Mr Fox, Anderson’s Isle of Dogs looks and feels even better than his previous animated adventure.

There are plenty of stand out sequences from this latest visual labour of love, but one montage involving scientists testing their antidote for dog flu is amazing – it’s essentially sci-fi puppetry.

Naturally, all the staple ingredients fans have come to expect from a Wes Anderson production are present and correct here.

Ridiculous ensemble cast?

Check, and simply far too many famous names to mention – though Scarlett Johansson’s voice stands out, if only because of her training as a show dog.

Quirky storyline with more deadpan humour that you could throw a stick at?

Double check – hell, there’s even a joke that involves throwing said stick to one of the dogs.

This film ain’t called Isle of Dogs for nowt.

And of course, you’ll be searching Spotify for the soundtrack and score on the way home.

For me, it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Fantastic Mr Fox though. 

Much as I admire Bryan Cranston as an actor, who plays alpha dog Chief, his voice just doesn’t have the same kind of charisma as George Clooney’s did previously.

Then again, whose does?

Either that, or I like foxes more than dogs.

I like foxes more than I like dogs. 

Wolves are cool too. 

And I can’t forget about guide dogs, who are better than human beings in my book.

So maybe it’s just co-dependent creatures I can’t stand? 

Because even as a self confirmed cat person, I have to say that I love Isle of Dogs. 

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

March 2018