So this one isn’t quite a kids movie the same way the others are, even though it’s rated PG. The director, Wes Anderson, has this very specific style of movie-making, where everything is very straight on, like you’re watching things happen from afar, and you don’t get that kind of exciting jerking-all-around stuff in the middle of an action scene like with other movies. I really like his movies, though, because it’s so different from everything else we see, but I should tell you that the Rocket found this a bit boring, but also liked it, because there are dogs. It’s a stop-motion movie, which means there are a lot of puppets, but you forget almost straight away. There’s also war and sadness and lots of speaking in Japanese, but there’s also kids trying to save the day because adults are useless, which, let’s face it, is pretty true of the world.
Twenty years in the future, the mayor of Japan’s Megasaki City has declared that a dog-based disease could spread to humans and therefore all dogs must be kicked out of the city and sent to Trash Island. This means all dogs, including the one that lives in the mayoral home, Spots – whose guardian is Atari, a young boy left orphaned after a train crash, and was taken in by the mayor, which seems like a nice thing but we all know that anyone who bans dogs is Not A Nice Person. Anyway, months pass and the dogs of Trash Island are sick of their new, garbage-based lifestyle, and just as a group of them decide they need to do something about it, a plane crashes on the island, piloted by Atari, who is determined to find the dog he misses so much. What else can these dogs do but help him? And so they trek through Trash Island, encountering robots and adventures and maybe helping to turn a bitter and bitey street-dog into somepuppy a little happier.
I’d recommend Isle of Dogs for anyone who likes stories of kids doing what adults can’t or won’t, a bit of robots and espionage, and Very Good Dogs. Fair warning, in a cartoon bit at the start, someone gets their head chopped off (the Rocket did not seem to notice, or maybe we just watch too many superhero cartoons?) and a few grown-ups do die. The dogs speak in English and the Japanese characters in Japanese, without translation (unless it’s necessary to the plot), just to let you know – you don’t have to know how to read to watch this movie.