Isle of Dogs, directed by Wes Anderson, is a stop motion movie starring Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Greta Gerwig, Jeff Goldblum among others. It is a story that is set in Dystopian Japan, and follows a boy who tries to save his dog after it is thrown on an island because of an outbreak of a fatal canine flu. The movie is absolutely gorgeous, with painstakingly visualized set pieces and perfectly formed puns and dialogues that are spoken by great actors, almost none of whom is actually Asian, but they still make it work. The movie, however, is so steeped in perfection, so minutely detailed that it is suffocated in the beauty and there is nothing to root for on screen. Isle of Dog also suffers from a strange bit of cultural appropriation and some of the plot points are cringe inducing.
Wes Anderson’s previous movie, The Grand Budapest hotel was a beautiful and emotionally rich story of a man and his life, that perfectly captured his personality, and also made some points about the importance of remembrance, beauty, and preserving old memories.
But Isle of Dog falls flat because there isn’t much to talk about it others than the pretty images, which are striking, but mean little else. Of course, it wouldn’t have been an issue if he only wanted to entertain us with the visuals and funny dialogue, but he also wants to make it a message movie, since there are allusions to Holocaust, as well. Alas, he should have been sensitive enough about the culture before making some statement. However, not everything is bad, since in addition of the visuals, the music by Alexdaner Desplat is also very good. Other than that, the movie is a slog and not worth your time.