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Isle of Dogs

This latest from Wes Anderson is a stop-motion, animated feature about a young boy who sets off to find his dog Spots after all dogs were quarantined, due to an outbreak of canine flu, to Trash Island by the boy’s uncle, mayor of Nagasaki. After crash landing his plane on the island, the boy is befriended by a pack of dogs who vow to help him find Spots. There are a lot of strengths in this film. The stop-motion animation is beautiful to behold, and one can tell throughout that Anderson has an eye for meticulous details; the story is very charming, and the film has an all-star cast that lends great voices to the characters. I enjoyed the clever use of flashbacks to fill in the details of the story as well as the political allegory. Its chief drawback is that it is a film that should be accessible for children but may be difficult to understand. For example, the boy speaks in Japanese, mostly without translation; I was able to follow what was going on, but I suspect that younger kids might find it confusing. Given that limitation, the film gets a solid thumbs-up from me; I found it wholly entertaining, sweet, and a funny take on a cat-dominated world.

About Gary Burkholder

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