The Geeks (and by that I mean mostly Ryan and Watson) like to tease me a bit for how much I love my cat. Well, I do love my cat…but I’m more of a dog person. My living circumstances are why I don’t have one, but that’s neither here nor there.
See, Wes Anderson made a stop-motion animated movie about the noble dog called Isle of Dogs.
Set in the future of a fictional Japanese city of Megasaki, a dog flu and something called “snout fever” causes the cat-loving mayor to banish all dogs to Trash Island so the disease won’t spread to the human population. A handful of people backing the “science party” candidate for mayor sees this as unfair, but six months later, despite a possible cure, the dogs are still living on the island. The mayor’s ward, missing the canine bodyguard that went to the island first, flies over and soon gets the help of a pack of dogs: two housepets (Edward Norton and Jeff Goldblum), a canine dog food commercial star (Bob Balaban), a high school mascot (Bill Murray), and the lifelong stray that hates humans (Bryan Cranston). There’s more going on, both on the island and the mainland, and the dog-lovers of Megasaki aren’t about to let a longstanding, anti-canine agenda from the ruling class stop them from loving their pets.
Wes Anderson, as a filmmaker, is one of those “love him or hate him” types. He has a very idiosyncratic style, the sort that means a world created more or less from scratch, one that looks somehow retro, with symmetrical sets and a soundtrack of 60s and 70s deep-cuts. I appreciated how his Japanese characters actually seemed to speak Japanese. Basically, if you like Wes Anderson, you’ll like this. If you don’t, you probably won’t. Me? I do. Nine out of ten messenger owls.