ISLE OF DOGS (PG)
GO FETCH THIS NOW DIRECTOR: WES ANDERSON (THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL) STARRING: THE VOICES OF BRYAN CRANSTON, KOYU RANKIN, EDWARD NORTON, SCARLETT JOHANSSON, BILL MURRAY, LIEV SCHREIBER, JEFF GOLDBLUM RATING: hhhhh
Filmmaker Wes Anderson finally returns to our screens after 2014’s superb Grand Budapest Hotel with a second foray into the field of stopmotion animation (remember The Fantastic Mr Fox?).
A triumph to be treasured on multiple levels, Isle of Dogs just might be the best thing Anderson has ever put his name to.
Everything this idiosyncratic talent is famous (and infamous) for comes together seamlessly and soulfully like never before.
A playful, freewheeling plot is set in a near-future not disposed towards pooches of any persuasion.
In fact, in the pro-cat Japanese city of Megasaki, the mayor has faked a doggy disease outbreak so he can banish all canines to live in squalor on a faraway island.
One determined young boy named Atari (voiced by Koyu Rankin) isn’t having any of that. He wants his loyal pet and protector Spot (voiced by Liev Schreiber) back where he belongs.
After crash-landing a plane on the island, the plucky kid joins forces with a dream team of muttly marauders to find his lost best friend (and maybe, just maybe, bring all canines back in from the cold).
The indecisive Rex (Edward Norton) thinks he is the leader of the pack. Then again, he’s not so sure. Duke (Jeff Goldblum) is in charge of communications. Well, he knows a good rumour when he hears one at least.
Then there’s Boss (Bill Murray), a former baseball team mascot; King (Bob Balaban), the one-time face of a leading brand of puppy chow; Nutmeg (Scarlett Johansson), a show dog with a howling disregard for the opposite sex; and most importantly of all, Chief (Bryan Cranston), a lifelong stray who has his reasons for having never once obeyed a human.
Without giving too much away, this is the most involving and sincere story Anderson has ever worked on, and you don’t have to be a ‘dog person’ to feel what he is driving at here.
The intricate, insanely immersive aesthetic design of Isle of Dogs is worth the price of admission alone.
However, when these arrestingly elaborate images are blended with sophisticated storytelling manoeuvres, simple slapstick antics, an irresistibly winning sense of humour and some of the finest vocal performances ever recorded for an animated production, the end result for Isle of Dogs is an instant classic.
KOOKY DIRECTOR WES ANDERSON IS AT THE TOP OF HIS GAME WITH NEW FILM ISLE OF DOGS.