Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs: Gorgeous, Sentimental and Just Plain Weird

You don’t have to be a huge Japanophile — or even a serious dog lover — to love Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. But an appreciation for weird, sentimental tales is totally required. By DENNIS D. McDONALD

dennis d. mcdonald tom cruiseaNewDomain — I’ve long been a fan of things Japanese. My earliest hobbies leaned towards Japanese transistorized electronics and Japanese science fiction movies (such as The Mysterians). I’ve kept up my interest in Japanese cinema and have developed a strong historical interest in understanding both sides of the Pacific War.

When I learned Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs was coming there was no question I would see it, with expectations high, as soon as it came out

As much as I have enjoyed Anderson’s other movies I was not prepared for this movie’s unique look and its odd story.

I’ve always been a fan of “alternate reality” and alternate history” stories but ISLE OF DOGS is in a class by itself. It’s charming, funny, exciting, and at times, just plain weird.

Not everyone will like this film.

On the surface it may seem silly, slight, and overly sentimental in parts.

Mac isle of dogs

But I loved the astounding care and attention that have gone into even the tiniest of details.

For example, take a very close look at the individual cherry blossoms that float onto the dogs’ faces at the very end of the movie.

And even the music with its occasional references to classic Japanese cinema will bring a smile to the face of the savvy viewer.

I smiled a lot during this movie.

Dog lovers like me will find a lot to smile about. I was reminded of Mac, pictured at right. He was our own beloved family dog for 16 years, and how I would have loved to talk to him, to know what he was thinking.

Bottom line: I loved Isle of Dogs. And you don’t have to be a Japanaholic to love this film, too.

The whimsy alone may prove worth it.

For aNewDomain, I’m Dennis D. McDonald.

An earlier version of this piece ran on Dennis D. McDonald’s DDMCD site. Check it out here.