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Wes Anderson Returns to Theaters: ‘Isle of Dogs’

Katie thor Straten, Staff

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Wes Anderson comes back to theaters this spring with his new project called Isle of Dogs. This stop-motion animated story is told through his signature style that has given him success through his past works of “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” and “The Grande Budapest Hotel.” 

The story follows the treatment of dogs in Megasaki City, Japan. It begins by introducing how the humans reject “man’s best friend,” by the lead of their emperor, due to a ‘dog flu’. The rejection of dogs, in the city, leads his 12-year-old nephew to go to where the dogs were transported, also known as ‘Trash Island.’ The nephew, Atari, lands on the island and sets off to find his best friend and takes a couple of dogs along the way. 

Anderson goes back to his “Fantastic Mr. Fox” roots and uses hundreds of thousands of pictures to tell his story. The animation was done extremely well and looked smooth, as if the figurines were moving on their own and artists weren’t positioning them in between each shot. The fantastic work of Curt Enderle, Mark Waring, Simon Quinn, and Tobias Fouracre made animating tears, explosions, and people speaking seem easy. 

Artistic risks were taken with storytelling, and it paid off. Instead of having subtitles or having English voice actors, Anderson keeps it in Japanese. He does surprisingly translate the barking of the dogs into English, which is helpful due to them telling most of the plot. During monumental speeches, a character in a booth translates for clarity. This decision really helps build the atmosphere and makes the audience feel as though they are in the same little bubble as the dogs: isolated. 

Showing emotion can be hard when your face isn’t being shown on the big screen. But the leads do an amazing job of telling tragic back stories, dealing with current boundaries, but keeping up with a lightheartedness to make their situation not seem hopeless.  

This movie is different in a good way. Anderson, again, tells a new and unique story with his signature twist. Sadly, “The Isle of Dogs” is only in select theaters but it is definitely worth the drive. 

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Wes Anderson Returns to Theaters: ‘Isle of Dogs’