Nearly 10 years after the release of Fantastic Mr. Fox, director Wes Anderson is back with yet another charming stop-motion film called Isle of Dogs.
This time, however, it is not about a clever little fox that steals food from its neighbors every night. Instead, the movie will revolve around a young boy and a pack of dogs on a far-away island made out of garbage.
Set 20 years later in dystopian Japan, Isle of Dogs follows 12-year-old Atari Kobayashi (voiced by Koyu Rankin) on his epic journey to find his missing dog, Spots (Liev Schreiber). Kobayashi lands himself on Trash Island.
Here is where all the pups of Megasaki City have been banished because of overpopulation and a “dog flu” outbreak. On the island, he meets 5 canines that will help search for his pet dog and protect him from the corrupt government.
The animated film features a star-studded voice cast including Bryan Cranston, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson and Yoko Ono. Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum will each voice 3 of the 5 mongrels that Kobayashi befriends on the island. The trio had previously worked with Anderson on the critically acclaimed The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).
Anderson, known for his eccentric and visually striking style, shared that one of his influences for Isle of Dogs is the iconic Japanese filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa. During a Q&A session with Arte Cinéma in March 2017, Anderson said: “The new film is really less influenced by stop-motion movies than it is by Akira Kurosawa.”
His statement comes across as a shocker as Kurosawa’s works tend to feature violence and thus may not be the most family-friendly inspiration for an animated movie about dogs.
Anderson added that the reason for his interest in making stop-motion films is his love for the Christmas television specials made by Rankin/Bass Productions during the 1960s and 70s. As a child, he enjoyed watching these stop-motion films, many of which were based on popular Christmas songs like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
“I really liked these TV Christmas specials in America,” he said in the same interview with Arte Cinéma. “I always liked the creatures in the Harryhausen-type films, but really these American Christmas specials were probably the thing that really made me first want to do (stop-motion filmmaking).”
According to an online article published in the Daily Express, Isle of Dogs trended on Twitter shortly after the first teaser was released. Given the hype surrounding the movie, let’s just hope it will live up to the expectations of both Wes Anderson fans and dog lovers alike.
Isle of Dogs opens in cinemas in May 23. Check out the full trailer here: