By Dave B.
Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs (2018, currently on HBO) takes place 20 years from now in Megasaki, Japan. Dogs have contracted an extremely virulent disease and are exiled to Trash Island. Young Atari journeys to the island in search of his dog. Atari’s uncle, the mayor of Megasaki, sends his minions to hunt the boy down and return him to the mayoral estate. Atari, with the help of a pack of dogs, does his best to evade his pursuers and find his beloved companion.
If the story sounds simple, that’s because it is. It’s a 103 minute love letter about the relationship between humans and dogs. And if like me, you’re a fan of dogs, that’s a great thing. However, a question needs to be asked: how much appeal does the story have to those don’t have a particular fondness for “man’s best friend”? Unfortunately, my answer is: a limited amount. The problem with Isle of Dogs’ story is that, although it’s impeccably executed, it’s a bit short on depth. I won’t go so far as to say the movie is completely predictable, but it certainly doesn’t contain many surprises.
That said, Isle of Dogs is a treat for the senses. It took a bit of time for me to fully embrace the animation style, but once I did, I loved it. Just looking at this movie is an experience that all fans of animation should have. Even more impressive is the audio work in the film. I’m not talking about the soundtrack. I’m talking about the little auditory details that help make Isle of Dogs an immersive experience and a real joy to behold.
My criticisms of the plot shouldn’t be taken to mean that I don’t like Isle of Dogs. I do and I recommend it. But I point out the plot’s weakness because while watching the movie, I was very cognizant that I was biased to like it, in large part because I like most dogs more than I like most people. Not all viewers will feel that way and those that don’t may not find the story as engaging as I did. However, most viewers will definitely find themselves impressed with the sensory experience that Isle of Dogs provides and everyone should check out this movie for that, regardless of how they feel about doggies.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.