The Disney+ Sci-Fi Comedy Is An Absolute Tear-Jerker

By TeeJay Small | Published

By now, Wes Anderson is a household name for film fans, known for his distinct visual style and concise dialogue. In a catalog of non-stop hits, one film from the director stands out as his most vulnerable and emotional venture, 2018’s Isle of Dogs. The film, which utilizes a number of differing forms of animation, most prominently stop-motion, follows a star-studded cast of voice talent, portraying a gang of anthropomorphized street dogs living on a deserted island.

Isle Of Dogs Is A Visual Masterpiece

For those unfamiliar with Wes Anderson’s filmography, the visionary director has been responsible for such classic movies as The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and most recently, 2023’s Asteroid City. The director generally helms films that center on emotionally stunted individuals struggling to rekindle the magic in their lives and often centers on a massive ensemble cast of recurring talent within Anderson’s Rolodex.

For Isle of Dogs, the director thought way outside of the box and created a visually stunning and culturally diverse film tailored to appeal to a broad international audience while retaining some of his classic quirks.

Isle Of Dogs Has An All-Star Voice Cast

Isle of Dogs stars Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, and far too many other A-listers to count. In addition to the star-studded leading performers, the film also features cameo appearances from significant names in small roles, such as Barbie director Greta Gerwig, Yoko Ono, and Ken Watanabe. The film’s title is a play on words, referencing the eponymous island where the dogs are placed within the narrative while also phonetically sounding like “I love dogs” when spoken aloud.

Isle Of Dogs Is Set In The Near Future

The narrative of Isle of Dogs centers on a supposed outbreak of the dangerous canine flu in Japan in the year 2038. In order to prevent a full-scale pandemic, the city’s authoritarian leader, Mayor Kenji Kobayashi, banishes all dogs in his city to a small trash processing island, which is then immediately quarantined. Despite the misgivings of many of the city’s inhabitants, including the mayor’s nephew Atari, this plan is forced upon the public, resulting in beloved pets being ripped from their homes and sent away.

The Love Of A Boy And His Dog

After several months of sulking, Atari resolves to rescue his beloved dog, who also served as his loyal bodyguard at the mayor’s residence, Spots. After hijacking a plane and crash-landing it on the isle of dogs, Atari befriends a group of strays led by a lifelong street dog named Chief. The dogs agree to help reunite the boy with his pet as the mayor’s forces descend upon the island, threatening to do bodily harm to the dogs while attempting to snatch Atari and forcefully bring him home.

Isle of Dogs Was A Hit With Critics

Isle of Dogs premiered to near-immediate praise from critics and general audiences alike and currently holds a 90 percent critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has much to say about the love humans and dogs share and upholds tear-jerking themes about family, pet ownership, and authoritarian governments. For those who have not yet enjoyed viewing the film, Isle of Dogs is available to stream on Disney+ today.