Movies Politics

Isle of Dogs: Wes Anderson Gets Political

2018 | 1 hour 41 minutes | Dir. Wes Anderson | Indian Paintbrush


The (fictional) Japanese archipelago of Megasaki, 20 years in the future.


Mayor Kobayashi, a strict dictator descended from a cat- loving dynasty, banishes all dogs to Trash Island.


Young Atari, also known as The Little Pilot, infiltrates Trash Island to rescue his dog Spots.  Meanwhile, Science Party Candidate Professor Watanabe finds a cure for Dog Flu and Snout Fever, then suspiciously dies.  Foreign exchange student Tracy Walker launches an investigation to uncover corruption in Kobayashi’s regime.

Wes Anderson says a lot with this movie.  Some compare Mayor Kobayashi’s attitude toward dogs to Trump’s attitude toward immigrants.  You can certainly catch traces of the Muller investigation in Tracy’s investigation.  Mayor Kobayashi has a very Putin- esque way about him, poisoning opponents and signing executive orders like autographs.

But if you don’t want to think about any of that, you can still watch a darling movie about dogs.

Team Anderson has storytelling down to a science.  They have a winning roster of voice actors including Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray and Edward Norton.  And here, they have hundreds of thousands of sets, puppets and props, all designed to wow you.

At 1 hour and 41 minutes, Isle of Dogs stands as the longest stop- motion animated feature.  Personally, I found Kubo and the Two Strings more beautiful, because Isle of Dogs takes place on a trash heap populated by mangy mutts.  The film has a cold, austere aesthetic perfect for mirroring the political climate.  Isle of Dogs certainly looks interesting, if not pretty.  I particularly enjoyed the Japanese woodblock- inspired animation.

Isle of Dogs has a great story, great characters, fabulous voice acting, stunning animation, clever dialogue, and touching themes.  I love the ending.  I find it so refreshing.  Our world needs this movie’s ending.

Plus, it stars dogs.  Say Isle of Dogs fast and it sounds like I Love Dogs.  I know how you people love dogs.

Only complaint:  The human puppets looked gross.  Their skins are made out of that silicone they use to make sex dolls.  Also, the humans have freakishly tiny teeth.

I also thought Foreign Exchange Student Tracy Walker (voiced by Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig) made a great case for the Obnoxious American.  She bugged me.  But I guess she was supposed to.


Isle of Dogs is the perfect Wes Anderson movie for 2018.  Thanks, Wes & Co.



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