Movie Review: Isle of Dogs (2018)

Movie Review: Isle of Dogs (2018)

Does Wes Anderson's new animated feature offer more than passing fun for dog lovers?

"Isle of Dogs" is the newest film from acclaimed director Wes Anderson, and his second stop-motion animation feature after 2009's "The Fantastic Mr. Fox". This new outing is rife with the typical Anderson visual peculiarities. Fans of his flat, meticulously detailed shot compositions will not be disappointed. With the control over fine details afforded by the medium of stop-motion animation, Anderson is able to furnish and frame his film with precision-cut orderly arrangements. However, missing this time is Anderson's penchant for memorably quirky characters. There are quirks abound, but it does not add up to anything memorable.

In the near future, the Japanese city of Megasaki is faced with a flu epidemic affecting the local canine population. The cat-loving mayor, Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura), riles up anti-dog sentiment and decrees that all dogs in the city be banished to an abandoned offshore waste disposal site. Thus we have the titular Isle of Dogs (which is sadly never referred to as such by any of the characters, instead only being referred to as "Trash Island"). A roving gang of dogs, voiced by an all-star cast (Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, and more), happen upon a young boy who has crash-landed an airplane onto Trash Island. The boy, Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin), is the mayor's orphaned nephew and ward, who has come to the island in search of his dog, Spots. The dog pack agrees to aid Atari in his search, although whether or not the dogs can communicate with humans is never clearly established and remains a confusion throughout the film.

Despite constant objections from Chief (Cranston), the only stray dog of the group, the dog gang leads Atari to the residence of two wise-dogs, who they believe may know the whereabouts of Spots. Chief's objections are worth noting, because he constantly refers to how the dogs are better off living without masters on Trash Island. Will he eventually come to find the joys of domestication and the comfort of Atari's company? The script telegraphs this so obviously you would be hard pressed to answer anything but "yes". At the behest of the wise-dogs, Atari and his canine companions head towards the farthest tip of Trash Island to find Spots, all the while being pursued by Mayor Kobayashi's paramilitary rescue teams. On the mainland, foreign exchange student Tracy Walker (Greta Gerwig) begins investigating into Mayor Kobayashi's sinister plans for Trash Island, which could result in the elimination of the island's canine inhabitants. The two parallel plots convene in one of those movie climaxes where someone gives a speech that brings the in-universe listeners to tears but leaves the actual audience in the theater with dry eyes.

The strangest aspect of "Isle of Dogs" is the decision to have all the Japanese characters in the film speak their native tongue. This is not an inherently bad idea, but Anderson continually backpedals on this choice. Most of the plot-relevant Japanese dialogue is translated into English through the clunky injection of an on-site translator, who tells us everything that is being said under the pretense of international broadcasting. The foreign exchange student character only further serves to awkwardly cram in English translations and English dialogue. There are even some portions of the film in which Atari speaks to the dogs without any subtitles. In a live-action film the actor's facial expressions and body language would likely be enough to get the message across regardless of the language barrier, but with a stop-motion puppet the ability to communicate minutiae of expression is far more difficult. The effect is that many of Atari's bonding scenes with the dogs feel alienating and distant when they should be heartwarming. I would have preferred the movie to either use English subtitles for the Japanese dialogue or just have the Japanese characters speak English. Trying to meet somewhere in the middle comes across as waffling, as if the filmmakers (or more likely the higher-ups handling the financial side of things) did not think American audiences would watch a film with extensive subtitles.

Although there are some questionable choices regarding the film's use of multiple languages, "Isle of Dogs" still offers many of the pleasures of Anderson's other work. The design of Trash Island is particularly striking, with endless monochromatic expanses of trash, making something beautiful out of literal garbage. The animation is impressive as well, particularly a brief sequence in which one of Mayor Kobayashi's henchmen prepares sushi. Anderson's trademark flat shot compositions are at peak flatness here, with many of the wide shots in the film bearing a charming picture-book quality, like some sort of post-apocalyptic Richard Scarry illustration. Especially as a follow-up to the excellent "Grand Budapest Hotel", "Isle of Dogs" feels like Anderson resting on his laurels. The expected stylistic panache is there, but the story is predictable and the characters are not as memorable as those of previous Anderson films. "Isle of Dogs" is cute enough if you love dogs, but for a Wes Anderson movie it leaves something to be desired.

Rating: 6/10

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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43 SpongeBob Quotes To Use In Everyday Conversation

No context needed. We all remember these SpongeBob quotes.

SpongeBob quotes are so universal that they never get old. That's because "SpongeBob SquarePants" is the one TV show that we are all guilty of watching and have absolutely no regrets every time we turn it on.

Most of us are no longer children, which is why our parents sometimes get that confused look on their faces when they see us watching "SpongeBob SquarePants." But you know what? "SpongeBob" is by far one of the funniest shows of our generation and the characters are some of the greatest. The best part about "SpongeBob," without a doubt, is the iconic quotes that we all still use in our daily language. With too many to count, here are some favorite "SpongeBob" quotes, from ones that all fans should know, to ones we use every day.

1. “Firmly grasp it in your hand.”

2. “Ha ha ha ha, it’s a giraffe.”

3. “CHOCOLATE!!!!”

4. “Well, it’s no secret that the best thing about a secret is secretly telling someone your secret, thereby, secretly adding another secret to their secret collection of secret, secretly.”

5. “Do you smell it? That smell, the kind of smelly smell. A smelly smell that smells... smelly.”

6. “Patrick, I don’t think Wumbo is a real word.”

"Come on. You know, I wumbo, you wumbo, he/she/me wumbo. Wombology, the study of wumbo! It’s first grade Spongebob!”

7. "I don't get it. I made my house a mess, which was making it clean, which made Squidward clean my yard, but that really means he's messing it up. But the opposite of clean is filth, which means filth is clean, that means Squidward is really making my yard a wreck, but I normally wreck my own yard which means, Squidward is being the opposite of Squidward which means he's Spongebob!"

8. “Is Mayonnaise an instrument?”

9. “F is for fire that burns down the whole town, U is for Uranium…bombs! N is for no survivors!”

10. “You don’t need a license to drive a sandwich.”

11. “The best time to wear a striped sweater…is all the time.”

12. “Once there was an ugly barnacle. He was so ugly that everyone died… the end.”

13. “My leg!”

14. “It took three days to make that potato salad…three days!!!”

15. “Can I be excused for the rest of my life?”

16. "Can I get some extra salt?"

“We're all out.”

Could you check?”


17. "Patrick, you're a genius!"

"Yeah, I get called that a lot."

"What? A genius?"

"No, Patrick."

18. "Oh, these aren't homemade. They were made in a factory... a bomb factory. They're bombs."

19. “You just CAN'T WAIT for me to die, can you?”

20. “Do instruments of torture count?”

21. “Hello, we’re with the pet hospital down the street, and I understand you have a dying animal on the premises."

22. “Hey Patrick, I thought of something funnier than 24… 25!”

23. “We should take Bikini Bottom and push it somewhere else!”

24. "Is this the Krusty Krab?"

"No! This is Patrick!"

25. “The Krusty Krab pizza is the pizza for you and me.”

26. “This is a load of barnacles…”

27. “Now he’s gonna kick my butt!”

28. "This is not your average, everyday darkness. This is... ADVANCED darkness."

29. “Too bad Spongebob isn't here to enjoy Spongebob not being here.”

30. “Remember, licking doorknobs is illegal on other planets."

31. “I’m not just ready, I’m ready Freddy!”

“It’s Larry…”

32. “I’ll have you know that I stubbed by toe last week and only cried for 20 minutes.”

33. “Hey Patrick what am I now?”


“No! I’m Texas!"

"What's the difference?"

34. "Patrick, don’t you have to be stupid somewhere else?"

“Not until 4.”

35. “Are you Squidward now? ... That’s okay take your time.”

36. “Who are you people?!”

37. “Squidward that’s not the peace treaty, that’s a copy of the peace treaty.”

38. "What's your name son?"

"Name? Uhh, beef wellington."

"No your name."

"Uhh, fork on the left?"

39. "Ravioli Ravioli, give me the formuoli."

40. “Are you open?"

"Read the sign..."

“...l’ll have a Krabby Patty Deluxe and some double chili kelp fries.”


42. “My sandwich tastes like a fried boot."

“My sandwich is a fried boot!”

43. “Too bad that didn’t kill me.”

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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The Final Season of 'Game Of Thrones'

I'm excited and sad all at the same time.

***** SPOILER ALERT*****

Now that it's upon us I don't know if I'm ready.

Does everyone remember what happened last season or are you like me and doing the GOT binge before the series finale?

I just finished season 1 and I'm starting in season 2 because if I'm going to binge it I'm going to do it the right way it's going to be from the beginning, besides who gets tired of watching Joffrey die?

My burning question that I'm sure EVERYONE wants to know is who will be on the throne in the end? Will it be Daenerys or Jon? I have my speculations or who I would rather see win.

Jon should rule. He was born of Fire and Ice. His father being Rheagar Targaryen and his mother Lyanna Stark. Fire and Ice. Then again, there are the stories that were told to Cersei when she was a young girl by the witch that there would be a girl prettier than her to rule. Does that mean Dani (AKA Daenerys)?

Or will she rule beside Jon? Will the two of them be a couple and rule the Kingdoms together? I'm dying to know! But these two characters are not my only focus at the end of the Final Season.

Where will Bran wind up with his abilities? What about Arya? Will she remain in Winterfell to be Sansa's executioner? Will she leave and go to King's landing if Jon takes the throne?

My time with Game of Thrones has been brief because I came in late on the show, probably season 4, I'm not sure, but I've poured over so much research, reading through the wiki pages online to reading actual books printed after the series began. It's a vast and intriguing subject.

What am I going to with my life once the season ends? There will be a hole in my heart were GOT once was. The fans of this show no matter who they root for will be crying at the end because someone's favorite is more likely to die than to live through the whole show.

If I could choose to put anyone on the Throne it would be Jon. He is honest and just like Eddard Stark raised all his children to be. He would technically be the ruler that all the faithful Targaryen supporters have been looking for. A Dragon to sit on the throne again. but, so would Dani.

Some wonder if she would go mad like her father because she can learn that way in some of her rulings. Like at Veas Dothrak, she killed all the men and took the women for her followers. Was that really necessary? She's a strong woman like Cersei but when compared there is a huge line that divides the two.

Both are loved and hated but honestly, I don't think that either of them belongs on the Throne. As for the rest, I am looking forward to seeing the way that it plays out. I have heard a rumor that George R. R. Martin has given the answer to who sits on the Throne of Iron.

Games of Thrones will truly be mourned in my house after it ends but I'm excited, to say the least for the Final Season.

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