The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
F. Murray Abraham,
With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, Oceanographer Steve Zissou rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son.
An outbreak of dog flu has spread through the city of Megasaki, Japan, and Mayor Kobayashi has demanded all dogs to be sent to Trash Island. On the island, a young boy named Atari sets out to find his lost dog, Spots, with the help of five other dogs... with many obstacles along the way.Written by
In a lot of the scenes that feature simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter will begin to say something in English before it has been said in Japanese. In fact, because the verb comes at the end of a Japanese sentence, it is impossible to interpret in the manner depicted in the movie. Even the very best interpreters will be a few seconds behind the Japanese. See more »
Ten centuries ago, before the Age of Obedience, free dogs roamed at liberty, marking their territory. Seeking to extend its dominion, the cat-loving Kobayashi Dynasty declared war and descended in force upon the unwary four-legged beasts. On the eve of total canine annihilation, a child warrior sympathetic to the plight of the besieged underdog dogs, betrayed his species, beheaded the head of the head of the Kobayashi clan, and pledged his sword with the following battle-cry haiku....
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At the end of the movie Anjelica Huston, who is a long time collaborator with Wes Anderson, is credited as the "Mute Poodle". See more »
OVERALL: I feel like this film suffered by trying to be too many things. I'm no cook, but I know that a cook can't just take a bunch of random ingredients they like, throw them together, and expect a good result. Isle of Dog is this type of mashup. For the Record, I'm capable of liking dogs, liking a post dystopia type environment, liking a heartwarming narratives about kids and their friendships with pets. I often like irreverent comedies. I like narratives that highlight political corruption when done well. This film tried to be all these things plus celebrate Japanese culture. No 100 minute film can very well pull off so many conflicting things. I think many people want to like this film because they like and care about all or many of these things. And people can relate to the passion of the filmmaking of Wes Anderson. And they like his individualism. But that doesn't make the substance of a movie good. It just gives one reason to want it to be good. I'm not a troll, but I expect down the line this film will lose a star or two, because at some point people will realize that this film doesn't effectively tell a good story.
The Good: The film does have some great animation and great voice acting. The timing, the cuts, and quirkiness are likable. Many of the jokes are entertaining. There is a joy and passion in this film. It's trying to be unlike any other movie. And it succeeds in this regard. And I really do respect that.
THE BAD: I don't know the genre of this movie, or could say in 20 words what this movie is about. I don't know a successful movie that can't describe itself by such basic parameters. If there's too much, one can't delve into some issues or some characters. And then, what is the audience left to care about? In 2 or so hours, you can only do so much. The two strongest descriptions for Isle of Dogs were that it was a quirky irreverent dystopic comedy, and it was a heart-warming drama about the love between people and their pets and their fight to reunite. Both are great. But if a film tries to go all-out in celebrating both, in this case, one doesn't compliment the other but instead contradicts and cripples the other. These styles are at odds with each other no matter how much an individual may like both. And such contradictions make it difficult to be invested in the story. I'm not saying that there can be no comedy in a drama or vice versa, but they need to feel like they exist within the overall comedic or dramatic foundation for the story which is being told. Dr. Strangelove makes a lot of dramatic political points. But it's clearly within it's comedic environment. Casablanca has some great humorous exchanges, but it never gives one the impression that there aren't still huge dramatic stakes. Isle of Dogs never establishes an environment that has some rules or consequences or meaning because it's always switching between two conflicting styles. This makes the film seem long especially the last 30 minutes or so. I was wondering when it would end. The interest in masterful visual and auditory aesthetics can only last so long. Eventually, I think about the substance. And this substance is always being rewritten, which makes it hard to feel much is at stake and worth caring about.
CONCLUSION: Style alone can't save this film, or I'd argue, any feature length film. I'd say Wes Anderson would be better off minimizing his ambitions for a future feature project so he can effectively give attention to a few things he really cares about, instead of undermining himself. Or he could just make a short quirky art film which highlights the joy of film-making and what can be done with art. He clearly has a talent for executing a vision, and has a unique spirt which should be appreciated. He just needs to be sure that his narrative vision is consistent, so it can be understood and fully appreciated from a story-telling perspective.
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