Isle of Dogs ★★★★

I really think this movie would have been pretty much perfect if it had just been a story about the dogs. Most of the human subplots did not work for me at all. This is mostly due to the choice of not providing subtitles for the Japanese dialogue (although Japanese text is almost always subtitled). You get the idea of what the Japanese people are saying, but you never connect with them as characters.

Every frame of this film is meticulously animated, and that alone is worth the ticket price for a big screen experience. The score, reminiscent of traditional Japanese music, propels the story forward, and shines in the stand-out sushi-making scene (perhaps a peak Wes Anderson moment).

The entire cast is great, but Bryan Cranston is the MVP. Could have done without the Greta Gerwig character, however (every Wes Anderson movie needs its quirky romance, for some reason).

Truly phenomenal animation serving a slightly weak story that should have just focused on the dogs and world-building of the trash island.

Many people have knocked this movie for being culturally insensitive and/or racist. I'm not Asian or Japanese, so I can't speak to that at all. I think this movie banks on the fact that Japanese culture as aesthetic is cool. The intention of the filmmakers wasn't malicious, so I personally didn't find the film offensive. I think that the line between homage and cultural appropriation is thin, and this film manages to straddle it fairly well. Although, I would have loved to have seen a ton of Asian names in the credits.

Ernest liked this review