It’s been four long years since director Wes Anderson graced the big screen with a feature of his, and for his latest, he’s opted to utilize the stop-motion technique that made 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox such a pleasant surprise. This time, the film is an original story called Isle of Dogs, and it takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of Japan, where dogs are relegated to a trash-heap island.
So how does this endearingly odd little film measure up? Some lucky critics had a chance to check out the film, and thus far, with nine reviews, all have been positive, meaning that the film is currently sitting at a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Here’s what some of the critics had to say:
THR – David Rooney
Wes Anderson took his fascination for obsessively detailed hermetic worlds, meticulous visual compositions, oddball characters and idiosyncratic storytelling quirks to a heightened level in 2009 with his delightful stop-motion animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Returning to the form, the director delivers an even wilder, more distinctive experience with Isle of Dogs, the thoroughly captivating tale of a 12-year-old Japanese boy’s quest to rescue his beloved pet, and indeed an entire outcast canine population, from the genocidal scheme of a crooked mayoral regime. The Fox Searchlight March release has cult potential stamped all over it.
Variety – Guy Lodge
Say “Isle of Dogs” fast and it comes out sounding an awful lot like “I Love Dogs” — which makes sense, since that’s pretty much the chief takeaway from Wes Anderson’s delightful new animated feature. A winningly dippy hodgepooch of lo-fi sci-fi, band-of-outsiders adventure and the most meme-ready canine antics you’ll find outside of YouTube, this leisurely tale of abandoned mutts taking on a corrupt human government is effectively puppy-treat cinema: small, salty, perhaps not an entire meal, but rewarding nonetheless.
Forbes – Scott Mendelson
Isle of Dogs is a cinematic delight. It straddles the line between kid-friendly adventure and adult-skewing political drama, but it is good fun for older kids and their parents. The voice work is terrific, and I’m quite partial to Frances McDormand as the overly empathetic translator. Penned by Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Nomura, this is a richly detailed homage to the likes of Kurosawa and Ozu, while operating as a blend of Japanese and American social parable arguing against our current nationalistic streak. It is a genuine original from one of the last American marquee filmmakers who hasn’t been sucked into the franchise machine. Isle of Cats would have been better, but Isle of Dogs is pretty doggone terrific.
The Playlist – Jessica Kiang
“So phew, yes, for a director so visually obsessed with symmetry and neatness (and this might genuinely be his most beautiful film), Anderson’s narrative could hardly be messier or more undisciplined. But then it’s difficult to tell if the story is the reason for the endlessly charming imagery, the sight gags, the puns and the poetry (in this world, a cleverly-deployed haiku can topple a corrupt regime) or if Anderson had to jankily reverse-engineer some story to justify the wonderful little curlicues he’d thought of separately.”
So all in all, the consensus here seems to be that it’s a charming film full of great moments for audiences to cling onto. If there is a weakness, it likely lies within the messy and odd nature of the plot — though let’s be real, Anderson’s films are always like that (Moonrise Kingdom, anyone?).
If you’re a fan of his work, this seems to be another win.
Are you looking forward to seeing Isle of Dogs? Let us know down below!
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