Isle of Dogs (2018), Dir. Wes Anderson

Isle of Dogs (2018), Dir. Wes Anderson
Don’t ask me to fetch that stick.
— Chief, Isle of Dogs (2018)

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Kunichi Nomura, Ken Watanabe, Greta Gerwig, Courtney B. Vance, Frances McDormand, Fisher Stevens, Nijiro Murakami, Harvey Keitel, Koyu Rankin, Liev Schreiber, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Akira Ito, Akira Takayama.
Director: Wes Anderson
Screenplay: Wes Anderson

When you see a dog walking down the street, do you notice if it is male or female? Honestly you don't, dogs look like dogs. A film with mostly dogs is the perfect way to balance out a gendered cast. Instead we get once again a male majority cast where female characters are obviously gendered and sadly become romantic interests for our lead characters... Seriously...seriously? Wow.

Set in future Japan where a massive anti-dog campaign has swept the city of Megasaki and our dog-flu ridden canine best friends are banished to Trash Island. Dogs are no longer welcome and the Mayor is encouraging the culling of all dogs in the city, even going to extreme lengths to stop a cure from saving their lives and ending the banishment. The film centre's around the Mayor (Kunichi Nomura), his Nephew, Atari (Koyu Rankin) who goes to save his dog Spots (Liev Schreiber) and gets help from a band of banished dogs led by stray, Chief (Bryan Cranston). 

The animation is very well done, yet almost too well done that it feels too organised. Anderson's classic framing and camera movement is the perfect marriage for the structure and style of the film. It also lends to the clean art form that emphasises Japanese historic paintings and print work. The convention of using the Japanese language—though respecting where the film is based—it is sadly pigeon-hold as the other as translation within the world of the universe is a constant. 

The film is okay, it is entertaining enough though I did find it to be on the bland side. And once again I am getting really tired of female characters needing a reason for one, being a woman, and two, for why they are in the story itself while no male character has to rationalise his gender with the film's universe.

★ ★ ★