Wes Anderson's complete filmography gets the Honest Trailers treatment in the latest installment of the popular web series. The auteur's latest project, Isle of Dogs, debuts in theaters this week, meaning cinephiles are revisiting their favorite Anderson works as preparation. Over the course of his lengthy career, Anderson has become well-known for his very distinct directing style and sense of whimsical charm, which has earned him a dedicated following of fans. His movies never break box office records, but film buffs certainly have a keen taste for his sensibilities.
Anderson's profile has only grown in the 22 years since his debut, Bottle Rocket, was released. He's now something of an Academy darling, picking up six Oscar nominations in everything from Best Original Screenplay to Best Animated Feature. The filmmaker is as strong as he's ever been (The Grand Budapest Hotel is arguably his most acclaimed offering), and to commemorate Anderson's impressive run, the ScreenJunkies crew took a look back at his previous films. Watch the video in the space above.
Related: Isle of Dogs Early Reviews
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the Honest Trailer is how the structure of Anderson's eight films are quite similar when viewed side-by-side. Typically, they feature a disaffected protagonist dealing with some sort of trauma whose plans (be it a heist, family reunion, etc.) go horribly wrong - despite the thorough planning that's involved. These stories also tend to feature a romance as part of their emotional core, often times developing a love triangle between two friends (or family members) and a woman. Just by looking at the trailer for Isle of Dogs, it's easy to see how the animated film fits into this formula. The film is about a group of dogs who have grown tired of their life on the titular island and try to help a young boy find his canine companion - which of course won't go as expected. Despite the seemingly repetitive nature of Anderson's narratives, he consistently earns positive reviews, so he's doing something right.
The famous "Starring..." segment takes aim at other tropes that frequently pop up in Anderson's films, including his favorite camera movements, use of classic rock tunes, familial themes, and the troupe of actors that often collaborate with the director (Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, the Wilson brothers). It's a great illustration of how Anderson has carved out a unique voice in the industry, giving everything he works on his personal touch. Most famous directors have their set of trademarks they always use, but there's something about Anderson's filmography that makes it very clear Wes Anderson made those films. His approach is truly one-of-a-kind, and hopefully he has many more movies left in the tank.
Fortunately, it looks like Isle of Dogs is another winner for Anderson, after generating positive buzz at the Berlin Film Festival. Critics are enamored with the intricate craftsmanship and heartwarming story, considering it one of the best films in the early going of 2018. The last time Anderson worked with stop-motion animation (Fantastic Mr. Fox), he scored an Oscar nod, so it'll be interesting to see if history repeats itself. Perhaps this could be the year Anderson picks up an Academy Award, since an argument can be made he's overdue for some recognition.
- Isle of Dogs (2018) release date: Mar 23, 2018