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Isle of Dogs (or I love dogs) is Wes Anderson's second foray into animation and a visually stunning love letter to Japan, Japanese culture and man's best friend.
The story is probably the weakest facet of this film and doesn't make too much sense.
The story is extremely simplistic and doesn't make very much sense, it feels like an afterthought. That being said the tone of the film and some its subject matter is surprisingly dark and serious. The dialogue is strong and humorous. Overall the weak story didn't feel like anything special but wasn't bad enough to detract from the experience as a whole. There are plenty of plot holes and a major case of deus ex machina to pull off the finale.
The animation is on another level and maybe the best I've ever seen in an animated feature.
This audio visual poetry and a love letter to Japanese animation and cinema. The attention to detail and composition of the shots is simply superlative. The presentation is just masterful from the lighting, the character design, the scenery to the animation. Clearly love and care were taken in producing the look of this film. This amount of polish is unprecedented for Western animated films and Wes Anderson deserves ample recognition for creating such a gorgeous movie.
The sound is superlative and the energetic score brings a lot to the film.
Many of the tracks have origins in classic Japanese cinema including some of Akira Kurosawa's films which I felt was a deft choice given the context. Having the characters speaking Japanese without translation was an interesting choice. Overall the voice acting was great and the sound effects were brilliant as well, especially during the sushi-making scene.
The varied cast was interesting and fun.
The Kobayashi clan came over as a stereotypical Yakuza gang with a history dating back to the feudal era of Japan. They weren't provided with much of a motive other than being cat people which seemed a fairly poor motivation for introducing canine diseases and viruses into the city of Megasaki in order to exile and euthanise the local dog population. Atari becoming the modern day Boy Samurai and fulfilling his role in the prophecy by saving the dogs and foiling the Kobayashi conspiracy felt a little lazy and was absolutely predictable. It felt hard to empathise with Atari because of the language barrier and his comparative lack of dialogue. I wasn't a big fan of the Tracy character either.
Enjoyable audio-visual feast
Anderson pays homage to man's best friend and the nation of Japan in a stunningly beautiful work of art. I thoroughly enjoyed the film as long as I didn't think too hard about the plot and simply enjoyed the ride.
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