CA­NINE CA­PERS

ISLE OF DOGS (PG) From an isle of ban­ished dogs to the chance for girls to have fun, and some clas­sics for all the fam­ily for Easter, we bring you the lat­est film and cin­ema news across the county.

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - NEWS -

Since his crit­i­cally ac­claimed de­but fea­ture Bot­tle Rocket, writer-di­rec­tor Wes An­der­son has skipped mer­rily down the path less trav­elled with off­beat en­sem­ble come­dies in­clud­ing the Os­car-win­ning mag­num lu­di­crous, The Grand Budapest.

In 2009, he dipped his big toe into stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion with a quirky adap­ta­tion of Roald Dahl’s Fan­tas­tic Mr Fox. The au­teur re­turns to the painstak­ing art form for this self-con­sciously off­beat buddy com­edy on two and four legs. Isle Of Dogs re­unites the film­maker with long­time col­lab­o­ra­tors in­clud­ing cin­e­matog­ra­pher Tris­tan Oliver and com­poser Alexan­dre De­s­plat.

An­der­son em­ploys an episodic struc­ture with pithy chap­ter head­ings like The Lit­tle Pi­lot, The Ren­dezvous and Atari’s Lantern to neatly book­mark his vis­ually stun­ning odyssey. The de­tail of minia­ture sets and char­ac­ter fig­ures is re­mark­able and there are some lovely touches like mul­ti­ple uses for cot­ton wool and lice slalom­ing through dogs’ mat­ted fur in skin-crawl­ing close-up.

Yoko Ono en­joys a throw­away cameo as a plucky re­search sci­en­tist called ... Yoko Ono. The film is know­ing and im­pec­ca­bly con­ceived but emo­tion­ally a tad chilly, rev­el­ling in the in­ven­tive­ness and imag­i­na­tion of the wri­ter­di­rec­tor’s unique vi­sion at the ex­pense of col­lar­ing our emo­tions for a sat­is­fy­ing walk. Set on the Ja­panese Ar­chi­pel­ago 20 years int­the fu­ture, the film’s chief vil­lain is self-serv­ing politi­cian Mayor Kobayashi (voiced by Ku­nichi No­mura), who is re­spon­si­ble for the well-be­ing of the gullible cit­i­zens of Me­gasaki. As an ar­dent cat lover, Kobayashi de­crees that the only way to erad­i­cate an out­break of vir­u­lent snout fever is to ex­ile ca­nines to an is­land, where Me­gasaki dumps its res­i­den­tial waste.

Vot­ers com­ply and the Mayor’s 12-year-old ward Atari (Koyu Rankin) is forced to bid farewell to his com­pan­ion, Spots.

The re­source­ful tyke de­fies the Mayor and men­ac­ing hench­man Ma­jor Domo (Akira Takayama) to steal a plane and fly to the is­land to be re­united with his pet.

Atari crash lands and be­friends a pack of mangy mutts in­clud­ing Chief (Bryan Cranston), King (Bob Bal­a­ban), Boss (Bill Mur­ray), Rex (Ed­ward Nor­ton) and Duke (Jeff Gold­blum). They em­bark on a dare­devil mis­sion to over­turn the Mayor’s edict. Thank­fully, Atari has al­lies in a vis­it­ing Amer­i­can girl (Greta Ger­wig) and a se­duc­tive show dog named Nut­meg (Scar­lett Jo­hans­son).

Isle Of Dogs lol­lops along at a brisk pace, laced with flashes of An­der­son’s droll hu­mour. The vo­cal cast chews on these ver­bal bones with rel­ish, par­tic­u­larly Gold­blum as a dog with a pen­chant for lis­ten­ing to wicked whis­pers. Vis­ually, it is leaps and bounds ahead of Fan­tas­tic Mr Fox but re­tains the same roughly hewn charm.

Chief (voiced by Bryan Cranston) and Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin).

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