Wes Anderson has returned to the world of stop-motion animation for the second time since 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox with Isle of Dogs, and Fox Searchlight has just released the film’s first official trailer.
Set in the Japanese archipelago, twenty years in the future, one of the more damaging issues on the environment isn’t war, famine, or poverty, but dogs. So, to clean the streets of all things canine, the government promptly quarantines all local dogs to an island made up of trash that eventually earns the name Isle of Dogs. Only, the quarantine is only part of the problem. Twelve-year-old Atari Kobayashi is looking for his missing dog, Spots, and he’ll break any law necessary in order to get him back.
Despite basing itself in a fairly straightforward reality, the film focuses primarily on the island’s ragtag team of dogs who, more than anything, want to flee the island and reclaim their basic freedoms – but not before helping Atari on his canine rescue mission.
On one hand, Isle of Dogs appears to be a much darker entry in Anderson’s filmography, but at its core, its characters are especially human (despite the fact that they’re dogs), acting on their most basic core principles and instincts – like righting wrongs and helping a young boy find his dog. Naturally, however, there is stern opposition, as Mayor Kobayashi (any relation to Atari?), who instated the canine ban, will do everything in his power to keep the boy and his dog from finding each other. And as the newscaster in the trailer points out, “It’s gonna be a fight!”
Fox Searchlight has also released a new poster for Isle of Dogs, which you can check out below:
What’s especially interesting about this film is the inspiration behind it. In an hour-long Masterclass with ARTE Cinema, Anderson cited two influencers who couldn’t seem more different: filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, and the stop-motion Christmas TV specials created by Rankin-Bass. He stated that “The new film [Isle of Dogs] is less influenced by stop-motion movies than it is by Akira Kurosawa,” adding:
“I really liked these TV Christmas specials in America. I always liked the creatures in the Harryhausen-type films, but really these American Christmas specials were probably the thing that really made me want to do it.”
The cast (which is packed to the brim, as shown at the end of the trailer) includes the voices of Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Golblum, Bob Balaban, Kunichi Nomura, Koyu Rankin, Scarlet Johansson, Live Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Courtney B. Vance, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Ken Watanabe, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Yoko Ono, Fisher Stevens, Akira Takayam, Akira Ito, and Frank Wood.
Source: Fox Searchlight
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