Isle of Dogs Review: Power Politics and Discrimination in Dogs

Isle of Dogs Review: Power Politics and Discrimination in Dogs

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Isle of Dogs Review: Power Politics and Discrimination in Dogs. A presentation by Wes Anderson as a dog lover and Japanese culture. 

“Isle of Dogs” (2018) is a Wes Anderson animated film genre adventure comedy. This time, Anderson expressed his love for Japanese culture and dogs. Set in the retro-futuristic fantasy prefecture of Megasaki, Kenji Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura) is a cat-loving mayor. He dumped all the dogs in his town to Trash Island because of the dog flu outbreak.

Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin), the mayor's nephew, flees to Trash Island in search of his guard dog and best friend, Spots. Greeted by a group of alpha dogs, Atari begins his adventure in search of the Spots. While he is looking for his favorite dog, the mayor is increasingly discriminating against dogs with his various propaganda.

“Isle of Dogs” itself turned out to be a script idea that Anderson had kept for a long time. He got his inspiration when he saw the 'Isle of Dogs' sign in England when he was developing the “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009), which is also a stop-motion animated film .

Films That Take the Dog's Point of View as the Oppressed

The existence of dogs in the script is the main focus of "Isle of Dogs". There are many Hollywood stars voicing every dog ​​character in this film. Chief is the protagonist dog character dubbed by Bryan Cranston. Then there is Edward Norton as Rex, Bob Balaban as King, Jeff Goldblum as Duke, and Bill Murray as Boss. Not to forget Scarlett Johansson as the voice of Nutmeg, a female dog who is agile as a contest dog.

Each dog character is equipped with interesting characterizations and backgrounds, increasingly alive with the characteristics of the voice executed by each actor. Making a series of fable characters in this script stand out more than the human characters who actually become supporting characters. Most human characters, which are dominated by Japanese characters appear with dialogue in the original language without subtitles . Although there are some scenes that appear with English subtitles.

This execution has both advantages and disadvantages. With the commitment of the film setting in Japan, “Isle of Dogs” is a sincere and authentic offering. In contrast to Hollywood animation, which always uses English even though it adapts to the culture of other countries. However, the drawback may be that some viewers get annoyed because there are some scenes that are completely untranslated. We do not fully understand the dialogue of certain characters, which is important to understand the characterizations as a whole.

Only the dog characters' barks were translated into English (the film claims in the opening credits ). Therefore, we will be made to understand and sympathize with the dog character in "Isle of Dogs". Because in the end, the script prefers to convey the aspirations of the dogs who are victims of discrimination in this fantasy scenario.

Champion Stop-Motion Animation and Wes Anderson's Symmetrical Cinematography

“Isle of Dogs” is the best stop-motion animation to date. For fans of artistic animation, guaranteed to enjoy every frame in this film. Moreover, it is supported by Japanese-themed background music that is passionate about its taiko . Even though now the era is all 3D animation, stop-motion animation can still be a winner if it is done with full dedication to detail.

With the perfectionist and symmetrical attitude of Wes Anderson's signature director, "Isle of Dogs" has detailed animation movements. In addition to playing with textures, static frames can come alive with perspective play. One of the artistic tricks is zooming in and zooming out the camera which makes each frame look more dimensional. Some of the monumental scenes are also marked with more lively animation and music details.

For Wes Anderson cinematic fans, you can definitely feel the signature of this quirky director . Even though this film is animated, the script, sense of humor, and production design as a whole still feels very Wes Anderson.

Japanese Cultural Reference Dominating the Whole Production

Choosing Japanese culture as the setting for the film is Anderson's wish that has come true. We can really see this sense of awe from the visuals and the various elements that complement this animation. Starting from the decision to use Japanese without subtitles , working with Japanese actors. To music, aesthetics and various visual assets that are implemented in a creative way. It's not just being there to shout 'Japan'.

“Isle of Dogs” can be a fun animated spectacle for both adults and children. For early audiences, this animation is a boy's adventure in search of his beloved dog. The plot is chronological with one or two flashback scenes that will not confuse the audience. While for us adult audiences, there are social elements to covert political propaganda that are fun to watch. “Isle of Dogs” can be streamed on Disney+ Hotstar.

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