Review: Isle of Dogs - beautifully animated but the humour is too adult to amuse children

Isle of Dogs

Isle of Dogs - Credit: Archant

Following 2009s Fantastic Mr Fox, American filmmaker Wes Anderson again delves into the world of stop motion animation.

This time The Grand Budapest Hotel director tells the tale of a young Japanese boy searching for his lost dog.

With the dog population reaching an all time high in the Japanese city of Megasaki, the mayor makes the drastic decision to transport all dogs out of the city to an isolated garbage island off the coast.

When his young nephew Atari wakes from a coma to find his favourite pet missing, he sets out on a quest to the Isle of Dogs to rescue his friend.

Upon his arrival on the island, Atari is assisted by a group of strays voiced by an all star cast including Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Murray. Breaking Bad’s Brian Cranston completes the group, lending his voice to the role of pack leader “Chief”.


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The animation is incredibly detailed and a real joy to watch, while Anderson lends his usual brand of ultra dry wit to the film. The humour, however is something that will not be to everyones taste.

As with many of the director’s other films, it can quickly become irritating if you are not fully in tune with it.

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As a result of this, the characters lack warmth and have a distinctly emotionless feel. The introduction of Scarlett Johansson’s show dog Nutmeg and her sporadic flirting with Cranston’s Chief, however, does provide some much needed heart.

Despite being an animated film with a PG certificate, this is not a film for children. The humour is too adult to amuse a younger audience and its run time of 1 hour 40 minutes feels much too long.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who the film is aimed at. Anderson relies heavily on the charm of his quirky humour but never looks to broaden appeal beyond that, giving the film an air of pretentiousness.

Isle of dogs is a beautifully animated visual treat, but is too cold to be enjoyed by all. Fans of Wes Andersons previous work may well be charmed, but his detractors will find nothing new here to change their minds.

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