Sunday, April 01, 2018


This last Friday, we got to see Isle of Dogs - Wes Anderson's new movie.

It's coming to Cleveburgh in a few weeks, but it's open in DC, and since we went for a few days and it turned cold in the afternoon, we thought - 'eh, why not?'.

At first I thought we had the wrong theater, as it was 5-6 minutes before show time and no one else was in the place, and there were no ads playing.

When was the last time you saw no one hawking M&Ms or some soft drink?  Eventually five others joined.

It's Anderson, so he utilizes his usual cast of characters (Balaban, Murray, Goldblum, Keitel, Abraham, Norton and Swinton) and some new additions:  Courtney B Vance, Bryan Cranston, Frances McDormand, Leiv Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Ken Watanabe and yes, Yoko Ono.

It's Anderson, so even in stop-motion, there are pulleys, levers, hanging baskets that move along cables. You know - his standard.

The movie is centered around a Japanese city who has expelled all dogs to Trash Island. Before the movie actually starts, there is a disclaimer: “All barks have been rendered into English.”   ...and they were.  But for the Japanese portion - there are no subtitles and only part is semi-translated by McDormand, but Anderson does a nice job subtly letting you figure out for yourself what may have been said.

You could draw parallels to today's administration in terms of immigration and deportation. This movie had to take such a long time to make, the immigration premise (if their intent) could have only gone on campaign promises by current leaders, but not what has actually happened.

Yet there are elements of modern times: a pseudo-dictatorship is at hand. Propaganda. Scientific suppression. It's like 2017-18 but with stop motion animation.

I enjoyed the work and thought it was extremely well done, but I'm not sure I loved it. But I find that I appreciate Anderson's work more over time than at first glance.

....and of course, if you say it out loud, the title is: "I Love Dogs".

2018 Movie Count / Goal:  06 of 12

Song by: Damien Rice


wcs said...

And the sequel: Isle of Dogs II. Say it out loud.

anne marie in philly said...

yoko ono? seriously?

Raybeard said...

Actually, Yes, W.Q. - Mrs J.Lennon is the most eye-catching name in this already celebrity-packed cast of voice-overs.

I'm not seeing this film only because of my disproportionate emotional investment in anything concerning animals, even animated creations, which completely skews my opinion of the work as an entity. If I see them suffer, I suffer.

I don't think it's generally known outside these shores but the 'Isle of Dogs' which gave Wes Anderson the wholly appropriate idea for a title of this film is actually a reasonably well-known area of East London ('Isle' because the River Thames makes a mighty loop and almost creates an island surrounded by water on three sides - and 'Dogs' being a ref to 'Dogger Bank' a fishing area in the North Sea, such vessels used to berth here to unload their catches). I think Anderson picked up on the name when he was recording the voices here in England.