On a Saturday night earlier this year, my two friends and I made the decision to watch Isle of Dogs instead of watching Infinity War. At the end of it, we all came to the same conclusion; this is the best movie of 2018. The events leading up to the viewing were disheartening, we discovered our favourite internet cafe had shut down, I lost my wallet, we ran a flat, and when we finally arrived at the small dinky indie theatre we weren’t in the best of spirits. Our expectations going in were high based on the brilliance of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson’s previous stop-motion film. Mr. Anderson did not disappoint, the story, characters, voice acting, writing, set design, lighting, animation, and music were all cranked to eleven. At the end of the movie, we were left there speechless after experiencing the visual and emotional rollercoaster (with its many twists and turns) that is Isle of Dogs. I highly recommend Isle of Dogs to anyone for two reasons. Number one being the film is absolutely gorgeous and a true eye candy. Number two is how the film is able to encompass many messages and make them deeply relatable through its characters.
Isle of Dogs carries the same aesthetic style that is prevalent in many of Wes Anderson films. The amazing use of colour, symmetry, whip pans just add to the visual appeal of the movie.
Anderson’s amazing visual style in itself makes viewing of the film just a treat to watch. Everything in Isle of Dogs is animated by hand in stop motion; adding to the viewer’s appreciation of all the work put into the characters and sets.
The best example of the incredible work and detail put into the sets of the film is in the travel montage, where a flurry of laboriously detailed world building sets flash by in a matter of seconds. Likewise, the animation and lighting are similarly well thought out and meticulously detailed. Just watch,
You can truly see the work and research put into each deft motion and movement of the hands. Scenes like these just add to the authenticity of the fictional city of Megaski, grounding the fictional city on some plane of reality. Towards the end of the clip, you can see an example of the fantastic lighting effects adding tension throughout the film. Through detail, Wes Anderson builds a world that seems to live and breathe in the glorious stop-motion plasticine air, immersing the viewer into a window of the world of Atari, the main character, and Megasaki City.
While Isle of Dogs has a foreign setting, a fictional Japanese city, its story contains a message that anyone can access. Themes range from the unbreakable bond between man and dog to the importance of family to youthful rebellion against authoritarian tyrants. All of the characters are individualistic with their own look, motives, backstory, and fears.
Anyone can find a character, theme, or story that they can deeply relate to at an emotional level. Seriously, what is there not to sympathize about an orphaned boy on a desperate search for his only remaining family; his dog.
Isle of Dogs is a must watch film of 2018. Although you may disagree that it merits the title of the “Best Film of 2018”, Isle of Dogs still stands out as one of the best releases this year through its visual detail and accessible story/message.