So, let me start this off by fully disclosing that this review is totally biased — I am a typical media student and therefore a huge Wes Anderson fan. His work has such a unique style that it’s hard for me not to instantly love anything he puts out. Not only that, but I am a lover off the stop-motion medium. So it goes without saying that I loved Isle of Dogs, and it’s going to be difficult for me to pick any faults with it. (maybe I should just title this post Love Letter: Isle of Dogs)
The most striking and unique aspect of this film is it’s visuals – handcrafted stop-motion figures and sets throughout the film – everything has a handmade feel, even the explosions and smoke are animated from cotton wool and cellophane. It’s little details like this that really make the look for me — on top of the handcrafted animation style, the methodical, almost surgical directing and camera Anderson is known for, really juxtaposes and compliments this. Every single frame of this movie is aesthetically pleasing and satisfyingly crafted, and seeing it in motion is a real treat.
The story of Isle of Dogs is just like the visuals; unique, colourful and exciting. Without spoiling it, it’s about a young boy who goes looking for his dog on the island they have been exiled to, Trash Island. The characters are done really well – and the ‘performance’ from the voice actors and animators goes hand in hand — you can really see the emotions on those model dogs!
Anderson seems to have found a perfect medium in stop-motion animation for his surgical, quirky directing style – the combination of unique setting, story and visuals of Isle of Dogs means it’s definitely one of my new favourites films!